Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology


Kaleigh Wilkins

Kaleigh Wilkins
Training Track: Clinical
Lab: Risk & Resilience Lab, Parents and Children Coping Together (PACCT) Lab 
Advisors: Maryse Richards, PhD; Noni Gaylord-Harden, PhD
Office: Coffey Hall

Undergraduate Degree

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S., Psychology

Research Interests

Kaleigh is interested in studying exposure to violence, poverty, and other life stressors present in urban communities in order to better understand their effects on the mental health conditions of ethnic/minority populations that reside there. With this, she is specifically interested in exploring generational transmissions of trauma in and among African-American families. 

Master's Thesis Title

A Chronic Route?: Examining the Path Between Community Violence Exposure, Posttraumatic Stress & Juvenile Delinquency in Low-Income, Urban, African-American Youth

Master's Thesis Abstract

Background: Exposure to community violence (ECV; direct victimization and witnessing) can predict negative outcomes for youth such as posttraumatic stress (PTSS) and juvenile delinquent behavior (JDB). Psychosocial reactions to violence can be different based on gender. Predictors of ECV in youth is less understood. This study aims to explore potential chronic pathways between initial ECV and continued ECV for early adolescents. The relationship between ECV as a predictor and ECV as an outcome is hypothesized to be mediated by both PTSS and JDB and moderated by gender. Method: A total of 152 African-American, sixth grade students in high crime, high poverty areas participated in this study for three years (M= 11.65, 59% female). Participants completed self-report surveys at baseline, then 12- and 24-months after the initial questionnaire was administered. Results: Moderated serial mediation was used to assess the longitudinal associations. For all witnessing models, JDB at Time 3 significantly predicted ECV-witnessing at Time 3 for the whole sample. Gender moderated several paths. For girls, more ECV-witnessing at Time 1 led to increased PTSS at Time 2 and increased JDB at Time 3. For the PTSS subscales models, among girls, more ECV-witnessing at Time 1 led to increased hyperarousal and increased intrusion symptoms at Time 2. Posthoc analyses confirmed these findings; analyses also indicated that hyperarousal at Time 2 significantly predicted ECV-witnessing at Time 3 for girls only subsample. ECV-witnessing at Time 1 significantly predicted JDB at Time 3 which significantly predicted ECV-witnessing at Time 3. Conclusion: Results contribute to our understanding of the trajectory of ECV-witnessing and the roles both PTSS subscales and JDB play in that trajectory, especially among girls.

Master's Thesis Committee

Maryse Richards, PhD and Noni Gaylord-Harden, PhD