PRESENTED BY: DR. BRUCE COMPAS Living with a chronic illness can create stress and adversity which can impact mental and physical well-being for people with HD, caring for someone with the disease or at-risk for developing HD. Some families maintain health and even thrive in spite of significant stress and adversity through their development of resiliency. Dr. Compas describes the threats to mental and physical health when chronic stress is not controlled effectively. Then he details effective steps to take to increase resiliency by enhancing cognitive function and coping skills.
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Bruce Compas is the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professsor of Psychology and Human Development, Professor of Pediatrics; Investigator, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research in Human Development; and Member of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. His research is focused on processes of coping and emotion-regulation in response to stress and adversity in children, adolescents, and adults. He is specifically interested in the relationships of coping and emotion-regulation with both physical health/illness and psychopathology, and the development of interventions to enhance the ways that individuals and families cope with stress. His research involves both laboratory methods to study basic behavioral and biological processes, and clinical research to understand coping and emotion-regulation in the context of psychopathology and physical illness. Current studies include (a) development and evaluation of the effects of a family cognitive-behavioral preventive intervention for children and adolescents coping with the effects of parental depression; (b) development and evaluation of a cognitive-behavioral intervention to enhance coping and communication in children with cancer and their parents; (c) the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on risk for psychopathology in adolescence; (d) neurocognitive and psychological function in patients with Huntington's disease and their families. His research is funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), and generous gifts from Patricia and Rodes Hart and other anonymous donors.