Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology


Katherine Dorociak

Training Track: Clinical
Lab: PIER Lab  
Advisor: Patricia Rupert, Ph.D. 
Office: Coffey Hall 344
Email: kdorociak@luc.edu   
Webpage: Research Gate


professional well-functioning, burnout, self-care, clinical neuropsychology

Masters Thesis Title

Development of the Personal and Professional Self-Care Scale

Masters Thesis Abstract

In recent years, there has been an increased emphasis on the importance of self-care for psychologists and other mental health professionals. However, the research on self-care is limited because of the lack of an empirically based, psychometrically sound measure of this construct. Thus, the purpose of this project was to develop a measure of personal and professional self-care. The preliminary phase involved the development of a self-care definition and a two-factor framework that divided self-care into personal and professional activities. Based on this definition and framework, self-care items were generated for expert evaluation. After incorporating the expert feedback, 52 potential self-care sale items were selected for use in the initial validation study. A total of 422 licensed psychologists in Illinois completed the Self-Care and Professional Well-Being Survey. This survey contained the 52 self-care items as well as other measures of personal and professional well-being. Contrary to expectations, a two-factor structure for self-care was not supported.  Factor analysis reduced the self-care scale to 34-items representing eight factors: Life Balance, Professional Development, Cognitive Strategies, Daily Balance, Professional Support, Exercise, Diet, and Sleep. The validity analyses provided strong initial support for the validity of the first five factors listed above. However, the validity support for the physical self-care factors was not as strong. Based on factor analysis and validity data, a five-factor, 28-item “Professional Self-Care Scale” was established for validation and use in future research.

Masters Thesis Committee

Dr. Patricia Rupert & Dr. Fred Bryant

Dissertation Title

Pain and Neuropsychological Performance following Electrical Injury

Dissertation Abstract

Electrical injury (EI), a relatively rare, yet significant medical trauma, is associated with numerous short- and long-term medical, psychological, and social consequences. Cognitive consequences of EI are particularly important to understand as they may impact survivors’ abilities to adjust to injury and return to work. Research has demonstrated cognitive impairment in several domains following EI, including memory, attention, processing speed, and executive functioning. However, it remains to be determined whether the cognitive sequelae following EI is due to the direct effects of the electrical injury itself or other injury-related factors, such as emotional distress and chronic pain. In addition to cognitive impairments, EI patients often endorse significant psychiatric comorbidity. There is also some research indicating that greater depressive symptomatology is associated with poorer cognitive performance, which suggests a possible link between emotional distress and cognitive functioning in this population. Another factor that may be critical in understanding and explaining cognitive deficits following EI is chronic pain. Pain is a common and significant physical symptom following EI and is often multifactorial and disproportionate to measurable neuropathy in this population. Research with chronic pain patients demonstrates that pain may influence cognitive functioning, either directly or indirectly by influencing emotional distress which then impacts cognitive functioning. However, to date, no research has examined the relationship of pain to cognitive functioning following EI. The purpose of the present study is to examine the relationship between pain and cognitive performance after electrical injury. More specifically, the present research has three primary aims: a) to examine the relationship between pain and neuropsychological performance in EI patients; b) to examine whether depression mediates the relationship between pain and cognitive performance; and c) to examine whether the relationship between pain and cognition is unique to this population or consistent with the relationship observed in a chronic pain population.

Dissertation Committee

Dr. Patricia Rupert, Dr. Grayson Holmbeck, Dr. Fred Bryant, & Dr. Neil Pliskin