Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology


Cara DiClemente

Cara DiClemente
Training Track: Clinical
Lab: Risk and Resilience Lab
Advisor: Maryse Richards, Ph.D.
Office: Coffey 201

Undergraduate Degree

Franklin and Marshall College, BA in Psychology


My research generally focuses on discovering protective factors and assessing interventions and coping strategies for reducing externalizing problems in underserved youth exposed to trauma. My dissertation investigates the implementation of Restorative Justice and other alternative discipline practices in schools as methods to reduce disproportionate exclusionary punishments for minority youth and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. I am clinically interested in treating youth experiencing severe anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, or trauma, using interventions such as DBT, TF-CBT, and PCIT.

Masters Thesis Title

Coping with Exposure to Community Violence: Assessing the Role of Avoidance in Reducing Delinquency and Aggression in Low-Income Urban Adolescents

Masters Thesis Abstract

Exposure to community violence has disabling effects on the mental health of youth in the US, with high rates of exposure for African American adolescents from underserved, urban communities. Past literature suggests that avoidant coping, specifically behavioral avoidance, may be most useful for youth exposed to uncontrollable stress. The current study assessed the utility of coping strategies in reducing aggression and delinquency in 267 sixth through eighth grade African American youth. First, confirmatory factor analyses revealed a three-factor structure of coping: cognitive approach, behavioral approach, and avoidance. Next, moderated moderation findings showed that for boys, avoidance and approach strategies increased risk for delinquency and aggression. For girls, high use of avoidance was protective, while low use of avoidance and approach was harmful. These results suggest that in general, more coping is helpful for girls but unhelpful for boys. This research enhances understanding of how youth adaptively cope with community violence.

Masters Thesis Committee

Maryse Richards, Ph.D., Noni Gaylord-Harden, Ph.D.

Dissertation Title

Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Systematic Review of Alternative and Exclusionary Discipline Practices to Promote School Climate and Equity

Dissertation Committee

Maryse Richards, Ph.D., Catherine Santiago, Ph.D., Yael Granot, Ph.D., & Pamela Fenning, Ph.D.