Dr. EUN Jeong LeE's 

RESEARCH

My research interests are focused on psychosocial factors that affect the adjustment to disability among individuals with disability and chronic illness (CID) and their family members. My research path has evolved and transformed in several ways since I joined Illinois Institute of Technology in 2007. My work, both independently and collaboratively, has contributed to the field or rehabilitation and furthered our understanding in several important domains related to psychosocial adaptation to disability.

Under the umbrella of psychosocial adjustment, the six topics listed below comprise the primary research areas my lab students and I have been actively working and publishing in:

  1. Co-existing disability and mental health issues

  2. Positive psychology and wellness among people with CID

  3. Issues facing family and caregivers of people with CID

  4. Multicultural issues related to help-seeking behavior

  5. Vocational rehabilitation

  6. Psychological adaptation in Assistive Technology

My lab is conducting ongoing research in rehabilitation counseling and psychology to address both basic and applied research questions, with a primary focus on cultural issues, psychosocial adjustment, and help-seeking behavior of persons with CID and their caregivers.

These six areas are intertwined and significantly influence the adaptation and adjustment process to CID. My research interests began to crystallize while I was a pre-doctoral psychology intern providing neuropsychology assessment to individuals with various disabilities. I began examining how vulnerability factors such as cognitive vulnerability influenced the psychosocial adjustment process among people with disabilities. While I was examining vulnerability factors, I became more interested in identifying protective factors because, as a rehabilitation professional, I believe focusing on assets and what people with CID can do is the foundation of the rehabilitation philosophy. I have since been involved in several studies examining positive psychology measures and health promoting behaviors.

As a person from an ethnic minority background, it is natural for me to become interested in understanding cultural factors that may have an influence on the psychosocial adaptation process among individuals from varying cultural backgrounds. I have been examining cultural values, self-concealment, and stigma related help-seeking behaviors among international students. In addition, my previous work and clinical experiences have helped me realize that CID significantly impacts the family dynamic and this has led to several studies examining psychosocial issues related to caregivers for people with disabilities. Preventable chronic illnesses such as hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases often go untreated in disability populations. This is especially true for minority individuals who face considerably higher rates of health disparities compared to their White counterparts. The literature consistently reports that family involvement throughout the service process is more common among minority individuals with CID. Therefore, it was natural for me to combine a cultural study and caregiver study because there appear to be cultural differences in the way family members respond to CID (e.g., making treatment decisions, seeking support systems, providing resources). My lab is actively working to examine unique cultural factors and psychosocial factors among individuals with CID and their family members from ethnic minority backgrounds in United States. In addition, the lab is collaborating with several research teams and consortiums to conduct studies related to transition age youth with disability, cross-cultural factors among caregivers for children with disability, and psychological factors adapting assistive technology.

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