Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology


Colleen Driscoll

Training Track: Clinical
Lab: CHATS Lab  
Advisor: Grayson Holmbeck, Ph.D.  
Office: Coffey Hall 302


Colleen is interested in how parent factors (stress, distress) and perceptions (uncertainty, vulnerability) influence youth outcomes in youth with chronic illnesses and their families as well as how children with chronic illnesses manage everyday health behaviors, such as eating and exercise. As part of the CHATS lab, Colleen examines these behaviors in the families of youth with spina bifida.

Masters Thesis Title

Parenting-related stress, parental distress, and youth health-related quality of life in families of youth with spina bifida: Parenting behaviors as mediators

Masters Thesis Abstract

Research has shown that youth with spina bifida (SB) have poorer psychosocial outcomes, including health-related quality of life (HRQOL), compared to typically developing youth. Demographic and illness-severity factors that may affect HRQOL have been identified, but modifiable factors affecting HRQOL have not yet been identified in this population. Potential modifiable factors include parent factors. In fact, in other pediatric populations, parent factors have been found to impact HRQOL above and beyond illness-severity. This impact may be especially salient for youth with SB, as these youth are more socially isolated and depend on parents for both medical and non-medical caregiving needs.
The current study proposes that increases in three parent factors (parent distress, parenting stress, and SB-specific parenting stress) lead to less adaptive parenting behaviors, which, in turn, affect youth HRQOL. The present study addresses gaps in the literature by utilizing a longitudinal, multi-method, and multi-informant research design.

Masters Thesis Committee

Grayson N. Holmbeck and Joanna Buscemi (DePaul University)