Published 05/20/15

Joseph Trunzo research links energy drink consumption to lower GPA

Joe TrunzoJoseph Trunzo, Ph.D., has a news flash: The more energy drinks college students consume to improve alertness and attention, the lower their GPAs are likely to be!

As part of his spring 2014 sabbatical, Trunzo, Professor of Applied Psychology, submitted research on the connection between energy drink consumption and academic performance, which was recently published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. “It’s a bit shocking to see that energy drinks’ consumption is a stronger predictor of poor academic performance than is the use of recreational drugs,” says Trunzo.  

"Energy drinks’ consumption is a stronger predictor of poor academic performance than is the use of recreational drugs."

During his sabbatical, he also worked on his book, tentatively titled Living With Lyme.  A practical guide to living a vital, meaningful life for those with Lyme disease and chronic illnesses, the book focuses on using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a “behaviorally based system of psychotherapy,” to help people function. Trunzo, who juggles teaching and a part-time psychology practice, hopes to complete the book by year’s end and anticipates publication by mid-2016.

“I have people who come to me specifically for the management of psychological issues related to Lyme disease; sometimes people come to me for other reasons – often depression or anxiety – and then we figure out that they actually have Lyme disease,” he says. With an absence of formal evidence-based protocols to help people cope with the psychological implications of living with this illness, Trunzo created a protocol and began the book.

After a quarter-century of experience in diverse behavioral health settings, he has an enormous repository of stories and real-life examples to share with students.

Professor Trunzo is particularly proud that he spearheaded efforts to establish a Bryant University chapter of Psi Chi – the International Honor Society for psychology majors. “It’s really nice to have these exceptional students be recognized on a purely academic level … that’s been very meaningful.”

While every Bryant student has an academic advisor, each psychology major is also matched with a department faculty member.  “We make ourselves available to them for whatever they need – it could be academic, career or personal issues,” says Trunzo, who called student advising “one of his favorite things about my job.”