Paul P. Christopher Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research)

My research focuses on the ethical issues relevant to substance abuse and mental health treatment & research, with a particular focus on criminal justice-involved populations. My work is currently supported through a K23 award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. I also teach in a variety of areas related to medical ethics.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work


Christopher PP, Foti ME, Roy-Bujnowski K, Appelbaum PS. Consent form readability and educational levels of potential participants in mental health research. Psychiatric Services. 58(2):227-32, 2007.

Christopher PP, Boland RJ, Recupero PR, Phillips KA. Psychiatry residents’ experience conducting disability evaluations. Academic Psychiatry. 34:211-215, 2010.

Christopher PP, Arikan R, Pinals DA, Fisher WH, Appelbaum PS. Evaluating psychiatric disability: differences by forensic expertise. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 39:183-188, 2011.

Christopher PP, Candilis PJ, Rich JD, Lidz CW. An Empirical Ethics Agenda for Psychiatric Research Involving Prisoners. American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research. 2(4):18-25, 2011.

Christopher PP. Psychiatric hospitalization—bridging the gap between respect and control. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. 1(1):29-34, 2011.

Leykin Y, Christopher PP, Holtzheimer PE, Appelbaum PS, Mayberg HS, Lisanby SH, Dunn LB. Participants’ perceptions of deep brain stimulation research for treatment-resistant depression: risks, benefits, and therapeutic misconception. American Journal of Bioethics Primary Research. 2(4):33-41, 2011.

Christopher PP, McCabe PJ, Fisher WH. Prevalence of involvement in the criminal justice system during severe mania and associated symptomatology. Psychiatric Services. 63(1):33-9, 2012.

Christopher PP, Leykin Y, Appelbaum PS, Holtzheimer PE, Mayberg HS, Dunn LB. Enrolling in deep brain stimulation research for depression: influences on potential subjects' decision making. Depression and Anxiety. 29(2):139-46, 2012. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

McCabe PJ, Christopher PP, Druhn N, Roy-Bujnowski KM, Grudzinskas AJ, Fisher WH. Arrest types and co-occurring disorders in persons with schizophrenia or related psychoses. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. 38(1):1-13, 2012.

Fisher CE, Dunn LB, Christopher PP, Holtzheimer PE, Leykin P, Mayberg HS, Lisanby SH, Appelbaum PS. The ethics of research on deep brain stimulation for depression: decisional capacity and therapeutic misconception. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1265(1):69-79, 2012. Epub 19 Jul 2012.

Wall BW, Christopher PP. A training program for defendants with intellectual disabilities found incompetent to stand trial. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 40(3):366-73, 2012.

McCabe PJ, Christopher PP, Pinals DA, Fisher WH. Predictors of criminal justice involvement in severe mania. Journal of Affective Disorders. 149(1-3):367-74, 2013. Epub Mar 7 2013.

Auon E, Christopher PP, Ingraham JW. Emerging drug of abuse: clinical and legal considerations. Rhode Island Medical Journal. 97(6):41-45, 2014.

Recupero PR, Christopher PP, Strong DR, Price M, Harms SE. Gender bias and judicial decisions of undue influence in testamentary challenges. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 43(1):60-68, 2015. 

Moitra E, Christopher PP, Anderson BJ, Stein MD. Coping-motivated marijuana use correlates with DSM-5 cannabis use disorder and psychological distress among emerging adults. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 29(3):627-32, 2015. Epub 27 Apr 2015.

Christopher PP, Stein MD, Springer SA, Rich JR, Johnson JE, Lidz CW. An exploratory study of therapeutic misconception among incarcerated clinical trial participants. AJOB Empirical Research. 7(1):24-30, 2016. Epub 2015 Jun 24.

Christopher PP, Stayton T, Sanders K, Blumberg L, Pinals DA. Nature and utilization of civil commitment for substance abuse in the United States. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 43(3):313-320, 2015.

McCabe PJ, Christopher PP. Symptom and functional traits of brief major depressive episodes and discrimination of bereavement. Depression & Anxiety. 33(2):112-9, 2016. Epub Oct 16 2015.

Christopher PP, Stein MD, Johnson JE, Rich JD, Friedmann PD, Clarke J, Lidz CW. Exploitation of prisoners in clinical research: perceptions of study participants. IRB: Ethics & Human Research. 38(1):7-12, 2016.

Christopher PP, Garcia-Sampson LG, Stein MD, Johnson JE, Clarke J, Rich JD, Lidz CW. Enrolling in clinical research while incarcerated: influences on participants’ decisions. Hastings Center Report. 47(2):21-29), 2017.

Trojano M, Christopher PP, Pinals DA, Harnish A, Smelson D. Perceptions of voluntary consent among jail diverted veterans with co–occurring disorders. Behavioral Sciences and the Law. (in press)

Brinkley-Rubinstein L, Rosen DL, Christopher PP, Bazerman L, Beckwith CG. Long acting injectable anti-retroviral therapy: an opportunity to improve HIV treatment and reduce HIV transmission among persons being released from prison facilities. Clinical Infectious Diseases (in press)



Christopher PP, Dunn LB. Risk and consent in neuropsychiatric DBS: an exemplary analysis of treatment-resistant depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dementia. Chapter in: Handbook of Neuroethics. Clausen J, Levy N (Eds.) Springer, 2015, pp 589-605.

Christopher PP, Dunn LB. Psychiatric Research Ethics: Informed Consent, Capacity, and Voluntarism. Chapter in: Oxford Handbook of Psychiatric Ethics. Sadler J, Fulford B, van Staden CW (Eds.) Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, in press. Oxford Handbooks Online. Epub Nov 2014. Oxford University Press. Accessed 11/14/14:

Christopher PP, Dumont DM, Rich JR. Compulsory treatment for injection drug use following release from incarceration. Chapter in: Global Perspectives on Public Health Ethics: A Casebook. Barrett DH, Bolan G, Dawson A, Ortmann L, Reis O, Saenz C (Eds.) Centers for Disease Control, 2016.



Christopher PP. Review of Faith in Freedom: Libertarian Principles and Psychiatric Practices by Thomas Szasz. Psychiatric Services. 57(1):148, 2006.

Christopher PP, Philip NS. Finding medications for the uninsured: the pitfalls of prescribing samples. The American Journal of Psychiatry, Residents' Journal. 3(6), 2008.

Christopher PP. Safekeeping. Brown Medicine. 13(1):38-44, 2008.

Christopher PP. Residents in Psychotherapy: Where Have All the Hours Gone? The American Journal of Psychiatry, Residents' Journal. 4(6), 2009.

Christopher PP, Pinals DA. Civil commitment based on predicted deterioration. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 37: 399-401, 2009.

Christopher PP. A jail diversion program for veterans with co-occurring disorders: MISSION – DIRECT VET. Issue Brief: Center for Mental Health Services Research. UMass Medical School. 7(1), 2010.

Christopher PP, Pinals DA. Capacity to consent to sexual acts: understanding the nature of sexual conduct. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 38: 417-420, 2010.

Christopher PP. A winding path to the emergency room. New York Times. January 4, 2011, page D6. 

Christopher PP. Addicted to painkillers, unready for help. New York Times. October 2, 2012, page D5. 

funded research

K23DA034030, NIDA 4/1/2013 - 3/31/2018

Title: Measuring Prisoners' Voluntary Consent to Clinical Research for Opioid Dependence

Role: PI


R21AT008648, NCCAM 9/1/2014 – 7/31/2016

Title: Therapeutic misconception and scientific reframing

Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Lidz)


5H79SM058804, SAMSHA 10/1/2008 - 9/30/2013

Title: Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery Program - Priority to Veterans

Role: Co-Investigator (PIs: Pinls, Smelson)


Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program, NIH 7/01/2010 - 6/30/2012

7/01/2014 – 6/30/2015