Welcome to the PACCT Research Lab!
We are affiliated with the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program in the Department of Psychology. Our team, directed by Dr. Noni Gaylord-Harden, is composed of graduate students in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program at Loyola and undergraduate students who are majoring in Psychology at Loyola. Our research team studies stress, coping, and psychological functioning in African American youth and families. The goal of our community- and school-based research is to improve the lives of African American youth and families.
Undergraduate students have the opportunity to gain valuable research experience as an undergraduate research assistant and receive course credit for their work. Click here for more information. If you are a potential graduate student interested in applying to our Ph.D. program in clinical psychology and working with Dr. Gaylord-Harden, click here.
Parents And Children Coping Together Research Lab
Loyola University Chicago
1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60660
Dr. Noni Gaylord-Harden is the director of the PACCT lab. A native of Magnolia, Arkansas, Dr. Gaylord-Harden attended the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. After graduating with a bachelor's of science degree in psychology in 1997, she went on to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The University of Memphis in 2003. While at The University of Memphis, she began to explore questions regarding the contributions of stress to the development of psychopathology in African American youth, and the protective effects of youth coping and parent-child relationships in reducing psychopathology. She continued her training at the Institute for Juvenile Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, completing a predoctoral clinical internship and later working as a clinical postdoctoral research associate. She was also selected as a Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow and spent a year receiving additional research training at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gaylord-Harden is currently an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at Loyola University Chicago.
Dr. Gaylord-Harden’s primary research activities center on identifying coping strategies that are related to more positive outcomes for African American youth and understanding how protective family factors encourage youth to use more adaptive coping strategies. In collaboration with her graduate students and colleagues, she has published several research articles and presented numerous conference presentations on these topics. She has received funding from Division 53 of the American Psychological Association and the Institute for Education Sciences for her research efforts.
Dr. Gaylord-Harden loves reading and spending time with her husband Troy, daughter Saniyya, and son Sinaan. She is an avid runner and has completed several marathons and half-marathons.
Corinn Elmore is a fifth year student in PACCT. She holds a masters degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Northwestern University. Her research interests include racial identity development, parenting, low-income African-American youth and families exposed to multiple stressors, resiliency and racial socialization. Corinn works with Project Achieve and the Family Focus project. She is currently applying to internship and completing her dissertation. Corinn enjoys shopping, eating, and playing board games.
Cynthia Pierre is a third year student in the clinical psychology program and in PACCT. She received her Bachelor’s degrees in psychology and Spanish at The College of New Jersey, and she defended her Master’s thesis in November 2012. Her research interests include contextual risk factors of mental health and academic outcomes among urban ethnic minority youth, such as stress and desensitization to community violence. She is also interested in the process of implementing and evaluating effective prevention and intervention programs that address mental health issues among this population. Cynthia enjoys cooking, reading, and listening to music.
Emma-Lorraine Bart-Plange is a first year student in the PACCT lab who joined the child clinical program at Loyola after completing her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at Saint Louis University. Her research interests include acculturative stress, coping behaviors of immigrant youth and families, and academic achievement. Emma-Lorraine is currently beginning her master’s thesis. In her free time, Emma-Lorraine enjoys reading, cooking, and volunteering.
Sarah is a senior at Loyola University Chicago. She is currently pursuing an bachelors degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. After graduating she hopes to take a year off in order to gain clinical and research experience. After that, she plans to apply to clinical PhD programs. Sarah's interests lie in working with children in low-income communities.
Shayla is a senior at Loyola University Chicago working towards a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. After graduation, she hopes to enter a Psy.D or Ph.D program that will prepare her for a career in counseling psychology. Her research interests include identity development among African American youth and how social and situational forces influence this development. In her free time, Shayla enjoys spending time with family and friends, shopping, and listening to music.
A native of the Southside of Chicago, Darrick Scott earned his BA in psychology from Howard University in May 2012. His research interests are rooted within depression and anxiety along with coping and risk factors that contribute to the mental health of low-income adolescent youth within the inner city. In his leisure time, Darrick enjoys listening to music, watching films, and traveling.
Current Research Projects
Identifying Predictors of Academic and Behavioral Functioning in Male High School Students of Color
The purpose of the current project is to identify the individual, school, peer, family, and community factors that predict academic functioning and social-emotional behavior in male students of color. Specifically, the project seeks to the unique and interactive effects of factors that are associated with fewer social and emotional difficulties and higher levels of academic functioning for male adolescents of color. The current project is being conducted at the request of administrators at Urban Prep Academy – West Campus and is a collaborative effort between Urban Prep administrators and Dr. Noni Gaylord-Harden and researchers from the PACCT Lab at Loyola University Chicago. Although the current study examines the prevalence and impact of stressors in the lives of the students, the project utilizes a strengths-based approach and measures key strengths and assets embedded within individuals, families, peer relationships, schools, and communities that may enhance the academic and social-emotional well-being of the youth in the context of stressors. To achieve this goal, participants will complete a protocol of surveys once per year. Youth are completing survey data on exposure to violence, attitudes towards violence, life stressors, coping strategies, depression, anxiety, PTSD, social skills, peer and parent support, extracurricular activities, academic motivation, parent involvement in school, sense of belonging in school, and perceived neighborhood quality. Urban Prep – West Campus is especially interested in how the factors in this study are associated with the schools’ goals for each student and will provide access to this data for all participants, such attendance rate, mastery on 6-week interim assessments, scores on EXPLORE and PLAN assessments (State of Illinois standardized tests), PSAE Reading, Math, Science scores, and ACT scores. Data collection for this project started in December 2011.
Early Life Adversity and Inflammatory Risk Urban African Americans: Epigenetic Mechanisms
This project is a collaborative effort among Dr. Gaylord-Harden, Dr. Herbert Mathews of the Stritch School of Medicine, and Dr. Linda Janusek, of the Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University. The investigators received internal funding from Loyola to complete the project. The purpose of the project is to evaluate the health-related impact of adverse childhood and adolescent experiences of under-represented young urban African American men. It will determine whether early life adversity imprints a proinflammatory epigenetic signature that predisposes for an exaggerated inflammatory response to future life stressors. In other words, exposure to stress during childhood and adolescence may modify the expression of genes involved in the inflammatory responses to stress. These epigenetic modifications would result in a stable biological change that increases inflammatory disease risk in those with a history of early life adversity. The findings from this pilot project have potential to add insight into the role of early life adverse experiences on risk for inflammatory-based disease, which disproportionately burdens socially disadvantaged African American men. Young adult urban AAM (18-24 yrs; N=40) will be enrolled and subjected to a laboratory social evaluative stress protocol, (i.e., Trier Social Stress Test -TSST). Subjects are being recruited from a local community center and from the Psychology 101 subject pool in the psychology department. Subjects will complete self-report measures of stress (e.g., trauma, community violence exposure, economic stressors), anxiety, affect, coping strategies, and social support. Epigenetic, inflammatory, and psychological measurements (e.g., salivary cortisol, blood samples) will also be obtained and evaluated. Analysis will determine the extent to which exposure to early life adversity (child abuse/trauma; exposure to family/neighborhood violence) predicts the psychological, neuroendocrine, and inflammatory response to acute stress. The moderating role of coping behaviors and social support on stress reactivity will be examined. Moreover, early life adversity will be evaluated as a significant predictor of an inflammatory based epigenetic signature. Such an epigenetic evaluation will advance understanding as to the role of social context and early life adverse experiences in inflammation. Data collection for this project began in December 2011.
The Y-ACSI Project
The aim of the Y-ACSI project is to develop and validate a coping measure for African
American youth that assesses culturally- and contextually-relevant coping strategies used by
African American youth. Research on coping in childhood and adolescence has been limited
with regard to ethnicity and SES. Existing measures of coping may not encompass the strategies
employed by African American youth, failing to account for context- or culture-specific
strategies, and thereby limiting our understanding of resilient processes in this population.
In 2005, our research team conducted several focus groups with approximately 150 African
American adolescents (grades 6th–8th) to discuss experiences of stress and coping. We
transcriped the audio tapes of the focus groups and used content analysis to generate items for
the coping measure. The resulting list of coping strategies was reviewed for clarity and cultural
relevance by 3 experts on cultural processes in African American youth. The current version of
the measure is called the Africultural Coping System Inventory – Youth Version (Y-ACSI). The
Y-ACSI contains 34 items that are rated on a 4-point Likert scale (1 = Not at all, 2 = used a little,
3 = used some, and 4 = used a lot) and grouped into 4 factors: Emotional Debriefing examines
attempts to manage stress by expressing oneself emotionally and creatively, Spiritual-Centered
Coping concerns spiritually-based attempts to manage a situation, Maintaining Harmony
investigates coping through creating a harmonious balance with environmental stimuli and
others, and Communalistic/Collectivistic Coping investigates coping through relationships with
Dr. Shawn Utsey from Virginia Commonwealth University has served as a consultant on
the project. He is the author of the Africultural Coping System Inventory (ACSI), which
was developed for use with African American adults in order to capture the unique coping
mechanisms of people of African descent. Our youth version was developed to address
developmental concerns related to youth based on evidence acquired from focus groups with
urban African American youth ages 11 to 15.To date, the Y-ACSI has been used and validated
with approximately 300 African American youth living in urban communities. We are currently
working to make the measure available for use by the public.
The Family Focus Project
The Family Focus project’s purpose is to examine a model of resilience for African American youth that will identify factors (individual and family) that protect against the psychological effects (internalizing and externalizing difficulties) of stress. We are collaborating with and collecting data at Family Focus. Family Focus is a family-support community agency that serves ethnic minority, low-income families in Chicago and surrounding areas. Our participants are African American youth in grades 4th through 8th and their families. Parents and their children have completed a packet of surveys assessing how youth cope with stress, how youth are socialized by their parents to cope with stressors, what stressors they are coping with, the parent-child relationship, how parents cope with stress and psychological outcomes for youth. In addition, we have collected data on racial identity and parental socialization of racial identity. We are answering a number of questions with these data. For example, does parental support predict more adaptive coping in youth? How do African American parents socialize their children to cope? Do parental influences on coping vary by family structure or child gender?
Current research findings indicate that the more children report experiencing stressors such as family problems, reports of victimization and conflict with peers, the more they report experiencing internalizing and externalizing difficulties. Also, higher levels of perceptions of parental support are associated with lower levels of reports of youth experiencing internalizing and externalizing difficulties. In addition, reports of parental support are associated with youth coping and parental socialization of specific coping techniques (disengagement coping) are associated with specific youth coping (disengagement coping). We are now working with two of the Family Focus sites to assist with program enhancement and development.
The Anxiety and Depression Project
In August 2007, Dr. Gaylord-Harden received the APA’s Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Division 53) Grant on Empirical Advancement of Ethnic Minority Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The award was based on proposed research on unique ways to understand the common and specific features of depression and anxiety in African American youth. In the tripartite model of anxiety and depression, anxiety and depression share common symptoms of high negative affect (e.g., irritability, negative mood). Anxiety can be distinguished from depression by the presence of high physiological hyperarousal (e.g., physical sensations of being “revved up,”), and depression can be distinguished from anxiety by the presence of low positive affect (e.g., absent feelings of happiness, lack of pleasure in activities). Since anxiety and depression often co-occur in youth and share symptom overlap, it is important to understand the factors that differentiate them from each other, so that treatments and preventive interventions can be tailored to successfully address youths’ mental health concerns.
In this project, the PACCT lab is examining biological, psychological, and social factors that may differentiate anxiety from depression in African American youth. We are working to identify neuropsychological factors, domains of life stress, and coping factors that may explain both the commonalities and the differences between depression and anxiety. To achieve this goal, we are collecting data with two samples of African American youth in the sixth – eighth grade: a community sample recruited from schools and a clinic-based sample recruited from a community mental health center. Youth are completing survey data on stressors, coping strategies, depression, anxiety, executive functioning, and racial identity, and one-year surveys on anxiety and depression.
Some preliminary findings demonstrate that the three-factor structure of the Tripartite Model is a valid representation of anxiety and depression in African American youth. Further, stressors and coping strategies show specific associations to features of depression and anxiety.
Peer Reviewed Journal Publications
Elmore, C. A. & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (2013). The influence of supportive parenting and racial socialization messages on African American youth behavioral outcomes. Journal of Child and Family Studies.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Burrow, A., & Cunningham, J. A. (2012). A cultural-asset framework for investigating successful adaptation to stress in African American youth. Child Development Perspectives, 6(3), 264-271.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Cunningham, J. A. & Zelencik, B. (2011). Effects of exposure to community violence on internalizing symptoms: Does desensitization to violence occur in African American youth? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, 711-719.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Elmore, C., Campbell, C. L. & Wethington, A. (2011). An examination of the tripartite model of depression and anxiety in African American adolescents: Stressors and coping strategies as common and specific correlates. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40, 360-374.
Murry, V. M., Berkel, C., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Copeland, N., & Nation, M. (2011). Neighborhood, poverty, and adolescent development. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21, 114-128. Invited Paper.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Cunningham, J., Holmbeck, G., & Grant, K. (2010). Suppressor effects in coping research with African American Adolescents from low-income communities. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 843-855.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Campbell, C. L., & Kesselring, C. (2010). Maternal parenting behaviors and coping in African American children: The influence of gender and stress. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 579-587.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Kesselring, C., & Campbell, C. L., (2010). Maternal parenting behaviors and coping in African American children: The influence of gender and stress. Journal of Child and Family Studies.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Taylor, J., Campbell, C. L., Kesselring, C., & Grant, K. (2009). Maternal attachment and depressive symptoms in urban adolescents: The Influence of coping strategies and gender. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 38, 684-695.
Mandara, J., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Braggs, B., & Richards, M. H. (2009). The effects of changes in racial identity and self-esteem on changes in African American adolescents' mental health. Child Development, 80, 1660-1675.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., & Cunningham, J. A. (2009). The impact of racial discrimination and coping strategies on internalizing symptoms in African American youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 532-543.
Edlynn, E. S., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Richards, M. H., & Miller, S. A. (2008). African American urban youth exposed to violence: Coping skills as a moderator for anxiety. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78, 249-258.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (2008). The influence of student perceptions of parenting and coping on achievement and classroom behavior among African American children. Psychology in the Schools, 45, 763-777.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Gipson, P., Mance, G., & Grant, K. (2008). Coping patterns of African American adolescents: A confirmatory factor analysis and cluster analysis of the children’s coping strategies checklist. Psychological Assessment, 20, 10-22.
Landis, D., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Malinowski, S. L., Grant, K. E., Carleton, R. A., & Ford, R. E. (2007). Urban adolescent stress and hopelessness. Journal of Adolescence, 30, 1051-1070.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Ragsdale, B. L., Mandara, J., Richards, M. H., & Petersen, A. C. (2007). Perceived Support and Internalizing Symptoms in African American Adolescents: Self-Esteem and Ethnic Identity as Mediators. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36, 77-88.
Gaylord, N. K., Kitzmann, K. M., & Coleman, J. K. (2003). Parents' and children's perceptions of parental behavior: Associations with children's psychosocial adjustment in the classroom. Parenting: Science and Practice, 3, 23-47.
Gaylord, N. K., Kitzmann, K. M., & Lockwood, R. L. (2003). Child characteristics as moderators of the association between family stress and children's internalizing, externalizing, and peer rejection. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 12, 201-213.
Kitzmann, K. M., Gaylord, N. K., Holt, A., & Kenny, E. (2003). Child witnesses to domestic violence: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 339-352.
Montes de Oca, J., Elmore, C., & Gaylord-Harden, N.K. (May, 2012). Maternal Influences on Youth Coping: The Moderating Role of Youth Gender Clinical Psychology. Poster presented at 2012 Midwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, Illinois.
Elmore, C., Gaylord-Harden, N.K., & Mandara, J. (March, 2012). The Effects of Racial Identity on African-American Adolescent Well-Being: A Clarification of the Research and Meta-analysis. Poster presented at 2012 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence. Vancouver, British Columbia.
Pierre, C. & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (2012). Exposure to community violence among African-American youth: A cluster analysis. Poster presented at Black Graduate Conference in Psychology, Los Angeles, CA.
Pierre, C. L. & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (2012). Coping strategies among urban African American adolescents: An examination of the differential impact of stressors and gender. Poster presented at Society for Research and Adolescence, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Pierre, C. L. & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (2011). Coping strategies among urban African American youth: An examination of gender and the differential impact of stressors. Poster presented at Black Graduate Conference in Psychology, Miami, FL.
Elmore, C., & Gaylord-Harden, N.K. (June 2011). The Influence of an Integrated Model of Parenting on Black Youth Psychological Outcomes. Paper presented at 2011 Black Graduate Conference in Psychology Annual Meeting, Miami, Florida.
Elmore, C., Gaylord-Harden, N.K. (July, 2010). Gender Differences in Racial Socialization and Psychological Outcomes. Poster presented at 2010 Black Graduate Conference in Psychology Annual Meeting. Baltimore, Maryland.
Elmore, C., & Gaylord-Harden, N. (2009). Racial socialization and psychological outcomes: How is important is child gender? Poster presented at the 2009 Illinois Psychological Association Convention, Skokie, IL.
Chair - Methodological issues in coping research with African American adolescents. (2009). Symposium to be presented at the 2009 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Philadelphia, PA.
Gaylord-Harden, N., Cunningham, J., Holmbeck, G., & Grant, K. (2009). Statistical suppressor effects in coping research with African American adolescents from low-income communities. In N. K. Gaylord-Harden (Chair), Methodological issues in coping research with African American adolescents. Symposium to be presented at the 2009 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Philadelphia, PA.
Elmore, C., Campbell, C., Gaylord-Harden, N. (2009). The influence of mainstream and culturally-specific parenting strategies on African American youth. Poster to be presented at the 13th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Philadelphia, PA.
Cunningham, J. A., Gaylord-Harden, N., Kesselring, C., & Elmore, C. (2009). Role of emotional control in the relationship between stress and psychological well-being among urban low-income African American youth. Poster to be presented at the 13th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Philadelphia, PA.
Kesselring, C., Cunningham, J. A., & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (2009). The relation of executive functioning to coping and internalizing symptoms in African American adolescents. Poster to be presented at the 13th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Philadelphia, PA.
Grant, K. E., Tolan, P., DuBois, D., & Gaylord-Harden, N. (June 2009). The importance of interpersonal relationships for supporting coping efforts of low-income urban students attending failing schools. Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research. Washington, D.C.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., Campbell, C., & Elmore, C. (April 2009). Stressors and coping strategies as common and specific features of anxiety and depression in African American adolescents. Poster presented at the 2009 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. Denver, Colorado.
Gaylord-Harden, N. K., & Cunningham, J. (April 2009). Linear and Non-linear Effects of Exposure to violence and coping on internalizing symptoms in African American adolescents. Poster presented at the 2009 biennial meeting of the society for research in child development. Denver, Colorado.
Kesselring, C. K., Borey, M. & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (April 2009). Executive functioning In African American youth: a confirmatory factor analysis of the behavior rating inventory of executive function, self-report. Poster presented at the 2009 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. Denver, Colorado.
Gaylord-Harden, N. & Cunningham, J. (March 2008). The use of culturally-relevant coping strategies in response to racial discrimination in African American adolescents. In E. W. Neblett (Chair), Coping with racism: Implications for African American adolescents. Symposium presented at the 2008 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Chicago, Illinois.
Esparza, P., Grant, K. E., Farahmand, F. K. & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (March 2008). "Coping processes among urban youth." In P. Boxer & A. M. Terranova (Chairs), Developmental aspects of childrenfs coping strategies and styles: Implications for childrenfs behavioral and mental health. Symposium presented at the 2008 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Chicago, Illinois.
Campbell, C., Lythcott, M., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., & Kesselring, C. (March 2008). "The socialization and utilization of coping among African American youth residing in single parent and two parent families." Poster presented at the 2008 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Chicago, Illinois.
Campbell, C., Lythcott, M., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., & Kesselring, C. (March 2008). "Parental predictors and family structure's influence on African American youth coping." Poster presented at the 2008 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Chicago, Illinois.
Cunningham, J., Gaylord-Harden, N. K., & Lythcott, M. (March 2008). "Roles of racial identity and culturally relevant coping in promoting resilience in African American youth." Poster presented at the 2008 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Chicago, Illinois.
Kesselring, C. K. & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (March 2008). "The relation between religious coping and spiritual coping in a low income youth sample." Poster presented at the 2008 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Chicago, Illinois.
Edidin, J. E. & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (March 2008). "Stress as a mediator of psychosocial development and internalizing symptoms during emerging adulthood." Poster presented at the 2008 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Chicago, Illinois.
Lythcott, M. A., Campbell, C. L., Cunningham, J. A., & Kesselring, C., & Gaylord-Harden, N. K. (March 2008). "Associations between stressors and coping strategies among a low-income ethnic-minority sample." Poster presented at the 2008 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence. Chicago, Illinois.
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