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Member Details

Jocelyn Smith Carter

Jocelyn Carter is an Professor of Clinical Child Psychology and serves as the Director of Clinical Training for the doctoral program in clinical psychology. She completed her undergraduate degree at Yale University and her doctoral degree at Vanderbilt University. She completed her clinical internship at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Jocelyn has taught a range of courses at DePaul University. For undergraduate students, she has taught Psychology of Exceptional Children and Abnormal Psychology. For graduate students, she has taught Child Assessment, Adult Assessment, Neuropsychological Assessment, and Thesis Seminar. Jocelyn’s research focuses on understanding the contextual and individual factors that contribute to health disparities in health outcomes in children and adolescents. National rates of childhood obesity have declined in recent years, but the data continue to show that ethnic minority youth have higher rates of obesity than European American youth and that prevalence is still increasing in this population. Jocelyn conducted two prevention studies to identify mechanisms for reducing the obesity epidemic in this population. The first project was funded by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children. Her partner, Urban Initiatives, was able to take the research findings showing that their prevention model was particularly effective in reducing body mass index (BMI) in Latino youth, to guide their work with students during the new daily recess periods. Two projects funded by the DePaul-Rosalind Franklin University Medical School Pilot Project Grant have allowed her to focus more on innovative and integrative approaches to youth obesity. In the first project, her team examined whether active video games increase physical activity in urban, ethnic minority youth who are less likely to have access to traditional physical activity settings. They also invited a subset of participants to participate in focus groups that clarify culturally-relevant components of health and determine whether a brief family-based cooking class reduces the stress of home meal preparation and improves adolescent-parent relationships. In the second project, her team tested specific physiological responses to stress such as increased cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure to determine whether these mediate the relation between the experience of stressors and weight gain in both human and rodent adolescents. This integrative human-animal project provides the opportunity for maximizing the strengths of animal and human research to identify key processes contributing to the development of poor health outcomes in youth. Jocelyn’s program of research tells us that stressors have an impact on both mental and physical health and that understanding the psychological and biological contexts of these stressors will identify youth who are more likely to be protected from negative health outcomes. Her research also shows that community-based prevention efforts can be effective in reducing health disparities in obesity and sexually-transmitted infections. She looks forward to clarifying the mechanisms of how these prevention efforts work and piloting innovative approaches to child and family health in her future work. Jocelyn’s commitment to healthy living extends to her personal life as well. She and her husband have two daughters who are involved in their Chicago neighborhood school. As a former college runner, she continues to enjoy running and trying new types of physical activity such as stand-up paddle boarding. Jocelyn is an avid reader and loves cooking and baking, especially with family and friends.

Recent Works:
1. Monjaras-Gaytan, L., Sánchez, B., & Carter, J. S. (2021). Developing natural mentoring relationships among Latinx youth: The roles of trust in adults and stressors. Applied Developmental Psychology. 2. Tran, S., Castro, A., Koven, M., Goya-Arce, A. B., & Carter, J. S. (2020). The impact of sociodemographic and environmental risk factors on pain and longitudinal health outcomes in a nationally representative sample. The Journal of Pain, 21, 170-181. 3. Cory, M., Chen, A. DuBois, D., Carter, J. S., & Grant, K. (2020). Overcoming exposure to complex stressors: An examination of protective coping mechanisms for low-income urban African American youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 112, 104867. 4. Colon, N. Q., Polo, A., & Carter, J. S. (2020). The reciprocal effects of language proficiency and depression among low income Latinx youth. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 1-14. 5. Sánchez, B., Anderson, A., Carter, J. S., Mroczkowski, A., Monjaras-Gaytan, L., & DuBois, D. (2020). Helping me helps us: The role of natural mentors in the ethnic identity & academic outcomes of Latinx adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 56, 208-220. 6. Mance, G. A., Grant, K. E., Roberts, D., Carter, J.S., Turek, C., Adam, E., & Thorpe Jr, R. J. (2019). Environmental stress and socioeconomic status: Does parent and adolescent stress influence executive functioning in urban youth?. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 1-16. 7. DeCator, D. D. & Carter, J. S. (2018). JPP Student Journal Club Commentary: Adolescent condom use and connectivity in the social–planful brain, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 43, 831–833. 8. Carter, J. S. (2018). Stress and self-esteem in adolescence predict physical activity and sedentary behavior in adulthood. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 14, 90-97. 9. Schneider, K. L., Carter, J. S., Putnam, C., Keeney, J., DeCator D. D., Kern, D., & Aylward, L. (2018). Correlates of active-video game use in children. Games for Health, 7, 100-106.

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