Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology

Colleen Conley

Title: Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology
Office: Coffey Hall 341 
Phone: 773-508-3603 
Email: cconley@luc.edu 

Background Information
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A., Lawrence University
Website: IMPACT Lab
Overview: My research blends observational patterns, meta-analytic/systematic reviews, and intervention development and evaluation, with the goal of improving well-being, especially through critical life experiences and developmental transition periods.
Observational research:  Much of my earlier research examines trajectories of 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, and our ongoing work seeks to contribute insight and innovation to addressing LGBTQIA+ well-being. 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. 
Meta-analytic and systematic reviews: Our lab has conducted several meta-analytic and systematic reviews that have shaped our later work on intervention development.
Intervention research:  More recently, my research team has been developing, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, for youth of various ages, including emerging-adult college students. These interventions include: 
  • treatment, prevention, and stepped/staged care models; 
  • using digital and face-to-face (individual and group) delivery formats;
  • both stand-alone and embedded - i.e., into courses, academic advising or other routine services;
  • led by trained peers, paraprofessionals (e.g., university staff), and mental health workers. 
In this work we also seek to understand moderators of intervention impact, and ways to optimize interventions to meet the needs of individuals and groups based on their personal, social, and cultural experiences. We have several research studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions for college students (see descriptions on our IMPACT lab website).
In my experience, the most successful researchers strike a good balance between "zooming in" (being diligent and meticulously attentive to detail), and "zooming out" (envisioning big-picture ideas, being self-directed and inventive). Accordingly, my approach to mentoring graduate students in research combines top-down and bottom-up approaches: While I provide structure, support, and guidance for students, I also urge them to develop their own independent project ideas and research skills. I also encourage my students to take their research endeavors beyond the lab, by publishing in peer-reviewed journals and presenting at national conferences (such as SRA, SSEA, ABCT, APA, APS).
Select Publications
Conley, C.S., Huguenel, B.M., Shapiro, J.B., & Kirsch, A.C. (2023). Developmental trajectories and predictors of psychological well-being and distress across the college years. The Journal of Higher Education. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2023.2171213
Conley, C.S., Raposa, E. B., Bartolotta, K.*, Broner, S. E.*, Hareli, M., Forbes, N., Christensen, K., & Assink, M. (2022). The impact of mobile technology-delivered interventions on youth well-being: Systematic review and 3-level meta-analysis.  JMIR Mental Health, 9(7):e34254. * Authorship equal.  http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/34254
Conley, C.S., Hilt, L.M., & Gonzales, C.H. (2022). Internalizing in adolescents and young adults. In. L. J. Crockett., G. Carlo, & J. E. Schulenberg (Eds.), American Psychological Association handbook of adolescent and young adult development (pp. 505-523). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Broner, S. E., Hareli, M., Hundert, C. G., Conley, C. S., & Ruggieri, A. L. (2022). Finding silver linings: A mixed-methods analysis of COVID-19’s challenges and opportunities for college students’ functioning and outlook. Emerging Adulthood, online first. DOI: 10.1177/21676968211060946
Anderson, N. A., Huguenel, B. M., Bohnert, A., & Conley, C. S. (2021). Organized activity involvement across the transition to college: Multiple dimensions predicting adjustment. Journal of College Orientation, Transition, and Retention, 28(1). https://doi.org/10.24926/jcotr.v28i1.3597
Hundert, C.G., Hareli, M., & Conley, C.S. (2021). Honest, Open, Proud - College: Follow-up effects of a peer-led group for reducing the stigma of mental illness. Stigma and Health, 7(1), 122-125. https://doi.org/10.1037/sah0000326
Conley, C.S., Hundert, C.G., Charles, J.L.K., Huguenel, B.M., Al-khouja, M., Qin, S., Paniagua, D., & Corrigan, P.W. (2020). Honest, Open, Proud - College: Effectiveness of a peer-led support group for reducing the stigma or mental illness. Stigma and Health, 5(2), 168-178. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/sah0000185
Conley, C.S., Shapiro, J.B., Huguenel, B. M., & Kirsch, A.C. (2020). Navigating the college years: Developmental trajectories and gender differences in psychological functioning, cognitive-affective strategies, and social well-being. Emerging Adulthood, 8(2), 103-117.
Huguenel, B. M., & Conley, C.S. (2020). Transitions into higher education. In S. Hupp and J. Jewell (Eds.), Encyclopedia of child and adolescent development. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
Conley, C.S., Hundert, C.G., Charles, J.L.K., Huguenel, B.M., Al-khouja, M., Qin, S., Paniagua, D., & Corrigan, P. W.  (2019). Honest, Open, Proud – College: Effectiveness of a peer-led support group for reducing the stigma of mental illness. Stigma and Health.  Advance online publication.
Ventura, L. M., Randall, E. T., Shapiro, J.B., Kirsch, A. C., Conley, C. S., & Bohnert, A. M. (2018). Looking good and making it seem easy: A prospective study of effortless perfectionism, body image, and BMI in unhealthy weight-control behaviors among female adolescents and young adults.  Emerging Adulthood, 6(5), 327–335
Zahniser, E., & Conley, C.S. (2018).  Interactions of emotion regulation and perceived stress in predicting emerging adults' subsequent internalizing symptoms.  Motivation and Emotion, 42(5), 763-773.
Conley, C. S. & Durlak, J.A., (2017). Universal mental health promotion and prevention programs for students. In S. Bährer-Kohler & F. J. Carod-Artal (Eds.), Global mental health: Prevention and promotion (pp. 127-139). New York: Springer.  
Conley, C.S., Shapiro, J.B., Kirsch, A. C., & Durlak, J.A. (2017). A meta-analysis of indicated mental health prevention programs for at-risk higher education students.  Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64(2), 121-140.
Brewer, S. K., Zahniser, E., & Conley, C. S. (2016). Longitudinal impacts of emotion regulation on emerging adults: Variable- and person-centered approaches.  Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 47, 1-12.
Conley, C.S., Durlak, J.A., Shapiro, J.B., Kirsch, A. C., & Zahniser, E. (2016). A meta-analysis of the impact of universal and indicated preventive technology-delivered interventions for higher education students.  Prevention Science, 17(6), 659-678. 
Kirsch, A.C., Shapiro, J. B., Conley, C.S., & Heinrichs, G. (2016). Explaining the pathway from familial and peer social support to disorder eating: Is body dissatisfaction the link for male and female adolescents?  Eating Behaviors, 22, 175-181.
Riley, T. J., Kirsch, A.C., Shapiro, J.B., & Conley, C. S. (2016). Examining stress and coping as a mediator for internalizing symptomatology: A comparison between sexual minority and majority first-year college students. Journal of Adolescence49, 124-133. 
Conley, C. S. (2015). SEL in higher education. In J. A. Durlak, C. E. Domitrovich, R. P. Weissberg, & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice (pp. 197-212). New York: Guilford.
Conley, C.S., Durlak, J. A., & Kirsch, A.C. (2015). A meta-analysis of universal mental health prevention programs for higher education students. Prevention Science, 16, 487-507.
Jenkins, P. E., Hoste, R. R., Conley, C. S., Meyer, C. &. Blissett, J. M. (2015). Social support, eating disorder symptoms, and impairment.  Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 203(6), 452-458.
Kirsch, A.C. Conley, C.S., & Riley, T. J. (2015). Comparing psychosocial adjustment across the college transition in a matched heterosexual and lesbian, gay, and bisexual sample. Journal of College Student Development, 56(2), 155-169. 
Travers, L. V., Randall, E. T., Bryant, F. B., Conley, C. S., & Bohnert, A. M. (2015). The cost of perfection with apparent ease: Theoretical foundations and development of the Effortless Perfectionism Scale.  Psychological Assessment, 27, 1147-59.
Conley, C.S., Kirsch, A.,C., Dickson, D. A., & Bryant, F. B. (2014). Negotiating the transition to college: Developmental trajectories and gender differences in psychological functioning, cognitive-affective strategies, and social well-being. Emerging Adulthood, 2(3), 195-210.
Lee, C., Dickson, D. A., Conley, C. S., & Holmbeck, G. N. (2014). A closer look at self-esteem, perceived social support, and coping strategy: A prospective study of depressive symptomatology across the transition to college.  Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 33(6), 560-585.
Andersson, M. A., & Conley, C. S. (2013). Optimizing the perceived benefits and health outcomes of writing about traumatic life events.  Stress and Health, 29(1), 40-49. 
Conley, C.S., Durlak, J. A., & Dickson, D. A. (2013). An evaluative review of outcome research on universal mental health promotion and prevention programs for higher education students.  Journal of American College Health, 61(5), 286-301.
Conley, C. S., Travers, L. V., & Bryant, F. B. (2013). Promoting psychosocial adjustment and stress management in first-year college students: The benefits of engagement in a psychosocial wellness seminar.  Journal of American College Health, 61(2), 75-86.
In the Media