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Current Research

Members of our lab are currently pursuing a number of research directions, reflected in graduate students' thesis and dissertation projects, as well as lab-wide studies. Our current lines of research generally pertain to women's health psychology, and include issues related to reproductive health and stressful life events. Below are descriptions of our ongoing research projects.

Please note: This information was last updated in May 2014.

Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit Projects N/IICU at CHOP

Admission into a hospital setting can be a stressful experience for families of neonatal infants. In collaboration with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the Women's Health Psychology Lab is developing interventions designed to provide psychosocial support to parents with infants in the Neonatal Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU). Research assistants may assist in focus groups, provider education, and sibling support groups for families in the NICU. Several projects are ongoing: a psychosocial support group for families, an international survey of NICUs worldwide to determine the type of psychosocial services typically provided by NICUs, a psychosocial training for nurses on how to deal with difficult families in the NICU, consultation services to other members of the CHOP NICU care team, a survey of maternal mental health, and development of a fathers' support group. Related clinical research projects also are in the process of development.

Women's Experience of Pregnancy Loss

The Pregnancy Loss study is a theory-driven, quantitative investigation of how race/ethnicity affects women's coping strategies after pregnancy loss.  This study has several aims: 1) to document the occurrence of grief, depressive, and anxiety reactions following the experiences of miscarriage and stillbirth; 2) to compare these experiences of grief, depressive, and anxiety reactions by gestational length at time of loss; 3) to examine the relationship between psychological distress and women's attributions for the loss, perception of care provided by healthcare professionals and provision of etiological information following loss; and 4) to assess posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology among women who have experienced pregnancy loss. This project is led by Emily Stasko.

Barriers to Treatment among Minority Women with Infertility

This research investigates the myriad psychosocial barriers that prevent minority women from seeking assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment for infertility. The primary goal of this study is to reveal what perceived or genuine obstacles (e.g., financial, cultural, social, or psychological) prohibit minority women from seeking and following through with ART. Research assistants may assist with data collection and will prepare and enter data in SPSS.  This project is led by Mona Elgohail.

Assessment of Psychological Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening

This exploratory research aims to identify the psychological barriers to cervical cancer screening among minority women with and without cancer. Psychological barriers that will be investigated include common myths about cervical cancer, misconceptions about cervical cancer screening, the lack of spousal support for screening, cultural taboos regarding the gender of healthcare providers, and the stigmatization of women with cervical cancer. We hope the results of this study will guide the development of culturally relevant cervical cancer education interventions aimed at addressing the psychological barriers to cervical cancer screening perceived by minority women.  This project is led by Mona Elgohail.

Psychological Effects of Exercise in Women

This study investigates psychosocial responses to various types of exercise (cardio, weight training, and yoga), across different mediums (in-person or online) in different populations of women.  The primary goal of the study is to determine which methods of exercise produce the most psychological benefits in women of varying ages and life stages.  Women will be recruited from the Drexel University population, online, and in the Philadelphia area. This project is led by Kimmie Konka.

Texting and Sexting Among Adults

The Texting and Sexting study is examining different types of communication and behaviors among adults in romantic relationships.  A pilot study is examining attitudes towards various types of behaviors within adult relationships and prevalence of communication methods.  Future work will examine how behaviors such as texting and sexting are related to various relationship attributes.  This work will attempt to discover under what circumstances these behaviors can strengthen relationships and when they may function as risk factors.  This project is led by Emily Stasko.

Post-Traumatic Growth and Traumatic Brain Injury

The study of post-traumatic growth in persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) is flourishing. This project seeks to examine the relationship among post-traumatic growth and rehabilitation outcomes, as well as investigate predictors of post-traumatic growth in traumatic brain injury patients attending a long-term, post-acute, brain injury rehabilitation program. The study will also qualitatively examine the novel use and utility of assistive technologies in data collection with persons with TBI. This project is led by Efrat Eichenbaum.

Attitudes and Perceptions Concerning Pregnancy among Adult Women with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

Women with Type 1 or type 2 diabetes can have a pregnancy with risks similar to those of a woman without diabetes. Recommendations have been made about the steps necessary for a healthy pregnancy. This study aims to assess women with diabetes' attitudes towards pregnancy, perceptions of the possibilities of becoming pregnant, and source of information. This project is led by Carrie Grady.