Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology


Jaclyn Lennon Papadakis

Training Track: Clinical
Lab: Chicago Health Adolescent Transition Study (CHATS) Lab  
Advisor: Grayson Holmbeck, Ph.D. 
Office: N/A
Webpage: LinkedIn


Psychosocial functioning and family functioning in families of children with chronic illnesses; the impact of socioeconomic and cultural factors on child health

Masters Thesis Title

Latino Youth with Spina Bifida: Psychosocial Functioning, Family Functioning, and Acculturation

Masters Thesis Abstract

Objective: Research on Latino youth with spina bifida (SB) is sparse.  However, SB rates are highest in this ethnic group, and typically-developing (TD) Latino youth are at risk for poor psychosocial functioning. The aims of this study were to examine: (1) differences in psychosocial and family functioning between Latino and non-Latino Caucasian youth with SB; (2) family functioning as a predictor of youth psychosocial functioning as moderated by ethnicity; (3) the impact of acculturation on youth psychosocial and family functioning in Latino youth with SB. Methods: Participants were recruited as part of a larger, longitudinal study (Devine et al., 2012).  The study’s sample included 74 non-Latino Caucasian youth with SB and 39 Latino youth with SB (M age= 11.53, 52.2% female). This study included parent-, teacher-, and youth- report on internalizing and externalizing symptoms, social competence and acceptance, friendship quality, and family cohesion, conflict, and stress. Observational data of family interaction tasks were also included. All data were available at Time 1 and two years later at Time 2. Analyses controlled for SES and youth IQ. Results: Latino youth demonstrated fewer externalizing symptoms and less social competence, and Latino families demonstrated less family conflict. For non-Latino Caucasian youth, greater family cohesion predicted greater youth social competence and greater family stress predicted greater youth internalizing symptoms. For Latino youth, higher levels of mother acculturation predicted greater youth externalizing symptoms and less family cohesion. Conclusions: Compared to non-Latino Caucasian youth with SB, Latino youth with SB demonstrate similar or better levels of psychosocial functioning, their families demonstrate less family conflict, and family functioning is less predictive of psychosocial functioning overtime. Levels of mother acculturation impact aspects of psychosocial and family functioning for Latino youth. Results have implications for how family-based interventions may be adapted for Latino families of youth with SB.

Masters Thesis Committee

Grayson N. Holmbeck, PhD, Catherine DeCarlo Santiago, PhD

Dissertation Title

The Impact of Sociodemographic Factors on Health-Related, Neuropsychological, and Psychosocial Functioning in Youth with Spina Bifida

Dissertation Abstract

(NOTE: Dissertation research is on-going.) Research has shown that youth with spina bifida (SB) are at risk for experiencing poor health-related, neuropsychological, and psychosocial functioning, especially when compared to typically-developing youth (e.g., Liptak et al., 2015). However, few studies have considered the impact of sociodemographic factors on outcomes among this population. A more comprehensive examination of how youth are impacted by sociodemographic factors is needed given the pervasive health disparities that exist in the United States and around the world (Braveman & Gottlieb, 2014), and because pediatric populations, such as SB, may be particularly vulnerable. (AAP, 2010).  The current study seeks to expand upon the limited understanding of how sociodemographic factors are associated with health-related, neuropsychological, and psychosocial functioning among youth with SB. The first objective is to examine differences in health-related, neuropsychological, and psychosocial functioning between youth who are and are not characterized by risk across multiple sociodemographic factors. The second objective is to examine the cumulative effect of sociodemographic risk as a predictor of youth health-related, neuropsychological, and psychosocial functioning, as moderated by age. The third objective is to examine family stress as a mediator of the association between sociodemographic factors and youth health-related, neuropsychological, and psychosocial functioning over time. Participants are from a larger longitudinal study and include 140 families of youth with SB ages 8-15 (53.6% female; M age = 11.43). Data were collected every two years at three time points. Data were collected during home visits that lasted approximately three hours. The current study includes youth-, parent-, and teacher -reported questionnaire data, youth neuropsychological testing data, and medical chart. Planned data analyses include: multivariate analyses of covariance with univariate follow-up analyses (Objective 1); hierarchical multiple regression analyses testing moderation effects (Objective 2); bootstrapping methods using Hayes’ PROCESS v2.16 statistical software (Objective 3).

Dissertation Committee

Grayson N. Holmbeck, PhD, Catherine DeCarlo Santiago, PhD, Christine P. Li-Grining, PhD, Kathy Zebracki, PhD