Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology

Clinical Psychology Faculty

Dr. Bohnert is an Associate Professor in Clinical and Developmental Psychology. Her program of research focuses on how various contexts, especially out-of-school activities, might serve a protective role in development, including lower rates of obesity, fewer behavior problems and better social and emotional adjustment. In particular, she is interested in whether organized activity involvement may facilitate better adjustment for at-risk individuals across important developmental transitions. She has also investigated the most relevant determinants of activity participation at the community, family, and individual level. Recently, she has focused on examining associations between urban, low income, minority youth’s activity involvement and obesogenic behaviors, such poor dietary practices and physical inactivity.
Assistant Professor
My research is rooted in clinical health psychology, positive psychology, and diversity science to increase the understanding of Queer and Transgender People of Color (QTPoC) in order to develop culturally relevant interventions to mitigate health disparities among this population. I investigate the identity development process of Black Same-Gender Loving Men (BSGLM), the role of identity as a syndemic factor for poor health outcomes among BSGLM, strengths and positive psychological factors among QTPoC, and intend to develop interventions to ameliorate poor health outcomes among QTPoC.  As such, I use mixed methods research as well as community-engaged research to support the following areas:
  1. Explicate the identity development process for BSGLM and how identity influences health among QTPoC.
  2. Describe strategies to promote flourishing and well-being among QTPoC.
  3. Translate the findings from the aforementioned areas to develop culturally relevant interventions to therapeutically bolster adaptively coping with minority stress and increase engagement in health-promoting behaviors among QTPoC. Also, to develop interpersonal and community-based interventions that engender greater knowledge, skills, compassion, and positive attitudes toward QTPoC within social settings where they frequently encounter stigma.
Associate Professor
My research examines trajectories toward psychological well- and ill-being in adolescence and emerging adulthood. These pathways are illuminated in the context of developmental transition periods, such as school transitions. Grounded in a developmental psychopathology perspective, my research examines the dynamic interplay between individuals and their developmental contexts over time, and the interacting contributions from multiple systems – biological, psychological, cognitive and social/interpersonal. Toward this end, my research has examined the contributions of individual factors (gender, physical development, cognitive styles) and interpersonal factors (peer and family relationships, interpersonal styles), as well as the interactional and transactional processes by which these factors relate to each other and to psychosocial distress. I am also interested in gender issues, such as exploring the characteristics, contexts, and mechanisms that place adolescent girls and young women at elevated risk for internalizing problems. It is my hope that this program of research will inform family-, school-, and community-based interventions aimed at building resiliency in adolescents and emerging adults, in the face of normative and atypical developmental challenges. Recently, my research team has been reviewing, developing, and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, both prevention and treatment, for college students. We have several research studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions for college students (see our IMPACT lab website). 
My research interests cover the following areas: pediatric psychology (e.g., adolescents with physical disabilities), family relations during early and late adolescence, developmental psychopathology, the interface between developmental psychology and clinical child psychology, statistical applications in psychology, and research design. My current research is concerned with how families of children with chronic physical conditions manage the transition into adolescence and the implications that this transition has for adolescent health and psychopathology.
Associate Professor
The primary aim of my research is to evaluate programs and policies designed to promote positive outcomes for youth in the child welfare system.  Youth in the child welfare system often come to care with a wide range of significant social, emotional, developmental, and educational needs.   Policies that are initiated by state and federal agencies to address these needs must be properly evaluated to ensure they are having the intended effect.
The focus of my research has been on the daily experience and mental health and well being of adolescents with the extensive use of a time sampling technique called the Experience Sampling Method (ESM).  In the last decade my focus has been on the health, and mental health of low income, urban African American youth.  Two large NIMH funded data sets have allowed the examination of multiple relevant constructs by my students and me in the form of publications, master’s theses, and dissertations.  Focused more specifically on exposure to violence, in particular, community violence, and what contributes to it, as well as the effects of exposure, one dataset is composed of a cross sectional sample of 5th through 8th grade students and the other consists of a longitudinal study starting with 6th grade and following the students once a year through the 8th grade.
My research program focuses on how children and families respond to stress and trauma as well as how community interventions can improve functioning and promote resilience. In partnership with school and community leaders, administrators, clinicians, and parents, we conduct school- and community-based intervention research.  Our work examines the effectiveness, implementation, and sustainability of these interventions among underserved populations. At a basic level, I am interested in individual and family adaptation to the accumulation of stress and trauma. In addition, I am focused on cultural and family factors in relation to psychopathology and mental health intervention. In particular, I am interested in how family and cultural factors might enhance or ameliorate the relationship between stress and child psychopathology, especially among Latino families. Our lab will continue both basic and intervention research that explores adaptation to stress and adversity among low-income children and families.
Rebecca L. Silton, PhD
Associate Professor
1) To identify basic neural mechanisms in the interaction of positive affect (ranging dimensionally from low to high positive affect) and cognitive function, 2) to understand disorders primarily characterized by low positive affect such as depression, postpartum depression, and chronic pain disorders using basic neuroscience methods, and 3) to advance neuroscience-informed interventions that target modifiable brain structures that implement affect in order to promote physical well-being and psychological vitality.
Assistant Professor
Through the ACCTION Lab at Loyola University Chicago I focus on community-based assessment and intervention development for youth with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT). We are developing an intervention that helps prevent the negative health outcomes associated with ADHD and SCT, including higher rates of depression and suicide attempts. We use technology and qualitative methods to increase engagement and understanding of treatment needs for youth that have been systemically oppressed (e.g., creating culturally responsive interventions for Black and Latina/e/o by listening to needs of the community and allowing flexibility in the intervention development) for mental health treatment. We focus on working with Black and Brown youth and their families using a cultural responsiveness and healing-focused lens. This is particularly important for youth with ADHD, who often face discrimination in school, the medical system, and from peers. I also have expertise in longitudinal data analyses and psychometrics. Currently, we are working on Project CRAFT (Culturally Responsive Assessments for Teens), which is focused on creating healing and strengths based psychodiagnostic assessments for youth from systemically oppressed backgrounds (i.e., Black, Latina/e/o adolescents with ADHD). For more information, go to ACCTIONLAB.com!