Training Track: Clinical
Lab: IMPACT Lab
Advisor: Colleen Conley, Ph.D.
Office: Coffey Hall 3008
Jenna is interested in studying mental health interventions for improving coping and adherence among adolescents and emerging adults with chronic illness. As part of the IMPACT lab, she has investigated emerging adult psychosocial functioning and psychological intervention programs. Her thesis examines trajectories of adult identity development among college students and the relationship with positive and negative mental health outcomes. Her dissertation examines subgroups of adolescents with type 1 diabetes based on resilience-supporting skills and the differential efficacy of a resilience promotion program.
Masters Thesis Title
Becoming adults: Trajectories of adult identity development among undergraduate students with implications for mental health
Masters Thesis Abstract
One of the defining developmental processes that occur during the unique stage of emerging adulthood is the emergence of adult identity, or the subjective sense of adulthood. Adult identity has been hypothesized to grow gradually, linearly, and at different rates for subgroups of individuals over the course of this stage (Arnett, 2006; Côté, 2006). Differences have also been suggested to predict wellbeing and distress (Côté, 2006; Kroger, 1996; Kroger, Martinussen, & Marcia, 2010). The goals of the current study were to examine heterogeneity in adult identity development over four years in college and to examine differences in self-esteem and negative emotional symptoms, namely depression, anxiety, and stress, after four years. Findings revealed that adult identity develops linearly on average, but there is heterogeneity in this development. Specifically, the majority of students increase in adult identity over four years and a smaller portion of students decline over time. Differences between developmental subgroups on self-esteem and negative emotional symptoms are explained by adult identity ratings at the end of the fourth year. The importance of studying heterogeneity of development among emerging adults and the mental health implications of adult identity development are reviewed.
Masters Thesis Committee
Colleen Conley, Ph.D., Fred Bryant, Ph.D.
Resilience process profiles of adolescents with type 1 diabetes as moderators of associations between resilience program efficacy and health-related outcomes
Adolescence is a challenging period for effective diabetes self-management, maintaining adherence, and achieving optimal glycemic control among youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D; Miller et al., 2015). The diabetes resilience model suggests that the protective processes that promote behavioral and health-related resilience for youth with type 1 diabetes are multi-faceted (Hilliard, Harris, & Weissberg-Benchell, 2012). Resilience processes hypothesized to buffer the adverse effects of diabetes-specific distress and improve adherence behaviors include coping skills, self-efficacy, problem-solving, parental support, and social competence (Hilliard et al., 2012). Person-centered analyses that identify unique profiles of resilience processes may identify those with the most versus least adaptive resilience-supporting processes, and thus, those adolescents who may differentially benefit from targeted intervention. This study analyzes data from the Supporting Teen Problem Solving (STePS) study, a randomized controlled study assessing a resilience promotion program compared to a diabetes education program. The present project aims to identify subgroups of adolescents with T1D (N=264) who are at-risk for diabetes-specific distress, difficulty with adherence, and suboptimal glycemic control. Specifically, at-risk subgroups will be identified based on levels of modifiable resilience processes, including coping self-efficacy, problem-solving, negative automatic thoughts, hopelessness, and diabetes-related family conflict. Subgroups are hypothesized to be differentially associated with diabetes-specific distress, adherence, and glycemic control. Demographic variables will be investigated as predictors. Finally, resilience process subgroups will be investigated as moderators of the relation between resilience program participation and health-related outcomes. At-risk adolescents are hypothesized to show significantly greater improvement when participating in the resilience program compared to a diabetes education program; adolescents with greater resilience processes at baseline are expected to benefit less. Identifying individuals at risk for difficulty with adherence and worsening glycemic control and assessing the differential efficacy of a resilience program would provide an additional step toward a targeted approach to care.
Grayson Holmbeck, Ph.D., Colleen Conley, Ph.D., Fred Bryant, Ph.D., Jill Weissberg-Benchell, Ph.D.