Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology


Catherine Rice Dusing

Catherine Rice Dusing
Training Track: Clinical
Lab: Risk and Resilience Lab
Advisor: Maryse Richards, Ph.D.
Office: Coffey Hall 201


Catherine is interested in how family processes can promote healthy development for children in high-risk contexts, as well as the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practices in community settings.

Masters Thesis Title

Children’s exposure to violence across contexts: Profiles of family, school, and community witnessing and victimization

Masters Thesis Abstract

Children residing in low-income, urban neighborhoods are at a disproportionately higher risk of exposure to violence (ETV) across multiple contexts compared to their peers, including witnessing violence and direct victimization. The many negative effects of ETV are compounded when youth experience ETV across multiple settings and when these experiences are chronic. Despite this, much of the research on ETV during childhood focuses on a single form of violence (e.g., family victimization or witnessing community violence). The current study examines patterns of frequency of ETV, including witnessing and victimization, across family, school, and community contexts, using person-centered methods to elucidate the patterns of ETV across multiple ecologies. In addition, the current study examines demographic variables and cohesion across family, school, and community settings in relation to profiles to better understand how patterns of violence can differentially affect low-income, urban youth. 

Results of a latent profile analysis showed three distinct profiles. The largest profile (= 130, 54.4% of the sample) was comprised of individuals reporting almost no ETV, witnessing or victimization, across settings (Low Exposure group). The next largest group, = 87; 36.4% of the sample) was comprised of individuals who experienced relatively low to moderate rates of all forms of ETV, with moderate to high rates of witnessing community violence (Moderate Exposure group). The third and smallest group (= 22; 9.2% of the sample) was characterized by high levels of both community witnessing and victimization, as well as moderate levels of school witnessing and family victimization (High Exposure group). This group showed low rates of school victimization and family witnessing, comparable to the other two groups. Examination of demographic and protective factors associated with each profile showed differences in indicators of socio-economic status (SES) and levels of family cohesion. Notably, profiles with higher ETV showed indications of lower SES, and, counter to expectations, the Moderate Exposure group showed the highest level of family cohesion. Profiles showed no differences in gender, parent education, or cohesion in school and neighborhood settings. Implications for clinical intervention and future research are discussed.

Masters Thesis Committee

Maryse Richards, PhD; Fred Bryant, PhD

Dissertation Title

Impact of Exposure to Violence on Children’s Mental Health and Family Functioning: An Ecological-Transactional Approach 

Dissertation Committee

Maryse Richards, PhD; Noni Gaylord Harden, PhD; Matthew Young, PhD; Fred Bryant, PhD