Dec 05, 2019
Dmitriy Ivanov

N.E. Conference Features Research Conducted by Assumption Faculty and Grad Fellows

Three Assumption psychology faculty members participated in the 59th annual New England Psychological Association (NEPA) Conference attended by hundreds held on November 9 at Southern New Hampshire University. The purpose of the conference is to provide an opportunity for scholars and undergraduate and graduate students to gather to learn about research that is being conducted throughout the New England region on an array of topics relative to psychology.  Alison Stoner, Ph.D., and Adam Volungis, Ph.D., and Leonard Doerfler, Ph.D., presented research and served as panel moderators. 

Prof. Stoner, in conjunction with Assumption graduate fellow Lynette Rojas, Jacquelyn Raftery-Helmer, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Worcester State University, and Annika Hogan, American University undergraduate, presented their joint research on parental involvement and autonomy support as predictors of health-related quality of life in college students with a chronic medical condition. According to Prof. Stoner and her colleagues, the transition to college is a particularly difficult time for students with chronic medical conditions who are often learning to be responsible for their medical care for the first time. Understanding how to prepare students with such conditions to be successful during college is important as poor self-care is associated with a myriad of negative short- and long-term outcomes.  

Prof. Stoner also served as a moderator for NEPA’s Honorary Undergraduate Scholar Awards and Research Presentations. Prof. Doerfler, professor in and director of Assumption’s counseling psychology program and current president of NEPA, moderated the panel “Helping today’s college students succeed: Considerations for mental health and resilience.”

Prof. Volungis, along with Assumption graduate fellow Jenna Nikolopoulos and Christopher Green, latency age and adolescent trauma specialist/trainer/consultant at The Institute of Health and Recovery, presented their research project, “Trauma-Informed Care Scale: Preliminary Factor Structure.” According to Prof. Volungis and his team, the rates of child maltreatment in the United States— about 6 million children annually, nearly three-quarters of whom have experienced a traumatic event—indicates a significant public health problem.  Despite the high rates of trauma among youth, only recently formal protocols for trauma-informed care (TIC) have begun to be implemented. Prof. Volungis and his team have developed a measurement tool to assess direct-care staff’s knowledge and application of TIC for youth residing in residential mental health treatment programs.  

Profs. Doerfler, Stoner, and Volungis are members of the NEPA Steering Committee; Prof. Doerfler’s term as NEPA’s president will continue through 2021.  According to NEPA, the organization promotes the advancement of psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare by hosting presentations by invited speakers, symposia, workshops, and the annual fall meeting.