The Department of Psychology conducts research and provides clinical services to help children with catastrophic illnesses achieve an optimal quality of life and achieve their full health potential.
Psychology Research Areas
Faculty members are actively engaged in research with pediatric and young adult populations, with a primary focus in oncology and hematology. A major emphasis is on using findings from outcomes studies to develop novel interventions for patients and families.
Diverse faculty research interests within the department generally fall within two major focus areas: cognitive neurosciences and health promotion.
- Research efforts in health promotion focus on coping and adaptive styles, health behaviors, reproductive health, the transition of adolescents to young adult healthcare, social functioning, sleep and fatigue, mobile health applications, and cancer survivorship issues.
- Research efforts in the cognitive neurosciences area focus on assessing treatment-related cognitive impairments, identifying factors that influence cognitive outcomes, and developing interventions to prevent or ameliorate cognitive late effects.
Psychology Clinical Trials
Protocol-based psychological assessment is often conducted as part of therapeutic clinical trials. Assessment batteries are designed to answer specific research questions. Following protocol-based assessment, families are provided brief feedback, and clinical assessment may be recommended if areas of weakness are identified.
The Psychology Department also conducts independent, supportive protocols investigating long term effects of therapy, quality of life, and interventions to improve health behaviors and psychological functioning in patients with cancer and hematological disorders.
The Psychology Clinic provides a wide range of services to St. Jude patients and their families, including protocol-based services, consultation and intervention, and psychological and neuropsychological assessment. Our staff is available for inpatient and outpatient consultations.
The staff includes licensed clinical psychologists and neuropsychologists, licensed senior psychological examiners, and trainees at all levels from graduate students through postdoctoral fellows.
The primary approach to intervention is cognitive-behavioral with many behavioral interventions available to patients and families. In addition, supportive care is provided, particularly for patients and families with difficulties adjusting to diagnosis, treatment, relapse/recurrence, and/or end of life. The psychologists work closely with members of the medical and psychosocial teams to ensure that each patient receives the most effective and efficient multidisciplinary care.