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Dissertation Defense for Gillie Barrett

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
From: Gaurav Mathur, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School
Re: Dissertation Defense for Gillie Barrett

It is my pleasure to announce that Gillie Barrett, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychology, will defend her dissertation on “An Exploration of the Impact of Questions as they apply to Signing and Oral Deaf Children Participating in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)” on January 24th at 1:00 p.m., in the College Hall Lyceum (Room 318). The first forty minutes of the dissertation defense are open to the Gallaudet community.

The purpose of Ms. Barrett’s study was to determine whether the parent’s pre-treatment use of skills to be taught in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) predicts the intensity of the child’s baseline behavioral problems. This study also began the process of exploring whether ASL question usage merits adjustment to the the established coding system for use with deaf ASL users. Participants were chosen from two retrospective databases and divided into groups consisting of families with an oral-deaf family member and families that communicate using ASL. A coding system was created to investigate question usage. Analysis of these participants’ data demonstrated that none of the PCIT skill categories were able to predict baseline behavioral problems prior to starting treatment. Further, the results did not merit using an alternative PCIT coding system for ASL users. While this is a meaningful first step, limitations such as sample size and low base rate occurrence of questions could have impacted the significance of the results. Further research is needed to develop a deeper understanding of how to best tailor PCIT, and ultimately a variety of behavioral interventions, for ASL users.

The members of Ms. Barrett’s dissertation committee are Dr. Lori Day, Department of Psychology, chair of the dissertation committee; Dr. Daniel Koo, Department of Psychology; Dr. Teresa Crowe, Department of Social Work; Dr. Elizabeth Adams Costa, The River School and River REACH Clinic; and Dr. Johanna Carpenter, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Ms. Barrett received a B.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences with a minor in Linguistics from The Pennsylvania State University in 2013. She enrolled in the Clinical Psychology Program in 2014 and earned her Master’s degree in 2018. After completing practicum training at the Gallaudet University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), she completed three doctoral externships at the River School in Washington, DC, the Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children (AIDHC) Early Childhood Clinic/PCIT clinic, and the AIDHC Integrated Pain and Wellness clinic in Wilmington, DE. She is currently a PCIT-certified therapist completing her doctoral internship on the pediatric psychology track at AIDHC. Research Support and International Affairs awarded Ms. Barrett a small research grant for her dissertation study as well as her pre-dissertation project entitled, “Developing an Understanding of Quality Communication in Families with Hearing Caregivers and a Deaf Child, Perceived by the Deaf Child.”  Ms. Barrett and Dr. Patrick Brice also co-authored an article entitled, “Deaf adolescents in a hearing world: a review of factors affecting psychosocial adaptation,” which was published in 2016.

Please join me in extending best wishes to Ms. Barrett for her dissertation defense.

Posted by Elizabeth Gibbons | Posted January 13, 2020 at 12:49 PM


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800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002