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Doctoral Student Recognized for Research Poster at Conference

Parent holding kid's hand in hospital bed

April 2, 2020

Alice WillieAlice Wille, a Psychology doctoral student at the University of Northern Colorado, was awarded a Nephology Special Interest Group student poster award for her research poster during the 2020 Society of Pediatric Psychology Annual Conference (SPPAC) last month.

Wille’s research topic, “Parental Rates of Anxiety and Depression Across Patient Age and Organ Type Among Pediatric Transplant Patients,” looks at rates of anxiety and depression among parents before their child received a transplant.

Her findings include:

  • Parents of children less than a year-old experienced rates of anxiety (58%) and depression (31%) higher than other patient-age groups.
  • Parents of children who were heart-transplant patients experienced higher rates of anxiety (47%) compared to liver and kidney patients.
  • Parents of children who were liver-transplant patients experienced higher rates of depression (27%) compared to others.

Graphs from Alice Willie's research
Above: Graphs showing Willie's findings from her research poster.

The SPP focuses on promoting the health and wellbeing of children and families receiving medical care. The student poster award was specific to the nephrology group, which focuses on clinical care, research and collaborations on the topic of kidney care.

Last year, she was awarded the 2019 American Psychological Association Poster Award for this same research topic, as well.

 “This project has been a great learning experience,” Wille said. “Overall, it deepened my interest and commitment to my research and emphasized the important of clinical work that supports transplant patients and families, especially in particularly stressful times like the pre-transplant phase.”

She’s part of the transplant psychology research lab at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. Co-authors of the research and poster include Amie Lofton, Psy.D.; Cat Naclerio, Psy.D.; Cindy Buchanan, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Christofferson, Ph.D.

The SPP Conference was converted to virtual presentations on Twitter using the hashtags #SPPAC2020 and #PosterSession1 (depending on the poster session number).

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—Written by Mackenzie Eldred

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