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Alexandra Bettis

Graduate Student
Research Area: Clinical Science


Understanding and developing interventions for youths at risk for anxiety and depression; the role of stress, coping, and executive function in interventions for these populations.

Broadly, I am interested in preventive intervention research for children and adolescents at risk for internalizing psychopathology. More specifically, I am interested in the prevention of depression and anxiety in youth and specific vs. non-specific/transdiagnostic processes that put youth at risk for one or both of these sets of symptoms or disorders. Three processes of risk and/or resilience in youth are of particular interest: coping, executive function, and exposure to early adversity. My research aims to understand how these processes may act as both potential mediators or moderators of preventive interventions. 

Lab Website

Representative Publications

Peer reviewed publications

Reising, M. R., Bettis, A. H., Watson, K. H., Dunbar, J. P., & Compas, B. E. (2016). Associations among chronic stress, prefrontal activation, executive functioning, and coping/emotion regulation in adolescents. Manuscript in preparation.

Bettis, A. H., Coiro, M. J., & Compas, B. E. (2016). Novel approaches to prevention of   mental health problems in college students: Enhancing coping and executive function skills. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Bettis, A. H., Forehand, R., Sterba, S., Preacher, K., & Compas, B. E. (2015). Temporal sequence of change in symptoms of anxiety and depression in a preventive intervention for children of depressed parents. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Compas, B. E., Jaser, S. S., Bettis, A. H., Watson, K. H., Gruhn, M., Dunbar, J. P., Williams, E. K. & Thigpen, J. C. (2015). Coping, Emotion regulation and psychopathology in childhood and adolescence: A meta-analytic review. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Coiro, M. J., Bettis, A. H., & Compas, B. E. (2015). College students coping with interpersonal stress: Testing a control-based model of coping. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Fraley, C., Thigpen, J., Pearson, M., Desjardins, L., Robinson, K., Dunbar, J., Watson, K., Bettis, A., ... Compas, B. E. (2015). Predictors of intellectual function in pediatric brain tumor patients: Pre-surgery through 24-month follow up. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Bettis, A., Forehand, R., McKee, L., Dunbar, J. P., Watson, K. H., & Compas, B. E. (2016). Testing Specificity: Associations of Stress and Coping with Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(30, 939-948.

Compas, B. E., Forehand, R., Thigpen, J., Hardcastle, E., Garai, E., McKee, L., Keller, G., Dunbar, J. P., Watson, K. H., Rakow, A., Bettis, A. H., Reising, M. M., Cole, D. A., & Sterba, S. (2015). Efficacy and moderators of a family group cognitive-behavioral preventive intervention for children of depressed parents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 541-553

Compas, B. E., Jaser, S., Dunbar, J. P., Watson, K. H., Bettis, A. H., Gruhn, M., & Williams, E. (2014). Coping and emotion regulation from childhood to early adulthood: Points of convergence and divergence. Australian Journal of Psychology, 66(2), 71-81.

Forehand, R., Thigpen, J.E., Parent, J., Hardcastle, E., Bettis, A., & Compas, B. (2012).  The role of parent depressive symptoms in positive and negative parenting in a preventive intervention program.  Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 532-541. 

Robinson, K. E., Kuttesch, J., Champion, J., Andreotti, C., Hipp, D., Bettis, A., Barnwell, A., & Compas, B.E. (2010). A quantitative meta-analysis of neurocognitive sequelae of pediatric brain tumors.  Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 55, 525-531.

Conference paper presentations

Bettis, A., Forehand, R., Sterba, S., Preacher, K. & Compas, B. E. (2016, May). Temporal sequence of change in symptoms of anxiety and depression in a preventive intervention for children of depressed parents. In B. E. Compas (Chair), Transdiagnostic processes and outcomes in preventive interventions with at-risk youth. Symposium to be conducted at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Francisco, California.

BettisA., Reising, M., Dunbar, J. P., Watson, K. H., Gruhn, M. A., & Compas, B. E. (2016, August). Coping as a predictor of symtpoms of anxiety and depression in youth. In M. Rozenman (Chair), Fight, flight, or cope: cognitive and physiological markers of anxiety and depression in youth. Symposium to be conducted at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Denver, Colorado.

Bettis, A., Dunbar, J. P., Watson, K. H., Forehand, R., & Compas, B. E. (2014, November). Testing for specificity of parenting in predicting youth symptoms of anxiety and depression in children of depressed parents. In B. E. Compas (Chair), Families under stress: Processes of parenting as novel targets for intervention. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Conference poster presentations

 Bettis, A., Coiro, A., Williams, E., Zolliecoffer, C., Savin, K., & Compas, B. E. (2015, November). Coping, executive function, and symptoms of anxiety and depression as a function of high vs. low perceived stress. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Chicago, Illinois.

Zolliecoffer, C., Savin, K., Bettis, A., Coiro, M. J., & Compas, B. E. (2015, May). How do college students cope with stress? Development of an open-ended assessment of coping strategies. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American College Health Association, Orlando, Florida.

Bettis, A., Coiro, M. J., Park, S., England, J., & Compas, B. E. (2014, November). Enhancing executive function and coping skills in college students. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Baltimore, Maryland.

Bettis, A., Andreotti, C., Dubar, J., Watson, K., Reising, M., Robinson, K., Dunn, M., & Compas, B. E. (2014, November). Associations between executive function, coping, and anxiety in young adults. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bettis, A., Forehand, R., and Compas, B.E. (2014, March). Shared and specific risk factors for anxiety and depression in youths: Coping and parental psychopathology. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Chicago, Illinois.

Bettis, A., Dunbar, J., Watson, K., Gruhn, M., Reising, M., Williams, E., and Compas, B.E. (2014, March). Parental depression: Associations with executive functioning and internalizing problems. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence, Austin, Texas.

Bettis, A., Andreotti, C. Dunbar, J., Watson, K., Reising, M., Robinson, K., Rodriguez, E., Dunn, M., and Compas, B. (2013, November). Associations between executive function, coping, and depression in young adults. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville, Tennessee.

Gruhn, M., Bettis, A., Dunbar, J., Watson, K., Thompson, B., Forehand, R., & Comas, B. (2013, April). Growing up too fast: Caretaking behaviors in children of depressed parents. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, Washington.

Gonzalez, A., Bettis, A., & Weersing, R.V. (2013, April). Cross-ethnic examination of parenting behaviors in clinically anxious mothers and their relation to youth mental health status. Presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, La Jolla, California.

Bettis, A., Dunbar, J., Watson, K., Williams, E., Forehand, R., & Compas, B.E. (2013, April). Associations between symptoms of anxiety and depression in a sample of depressed parents and their children. Presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Seattle, Washington.

Bettis, A., Rozenman, M., Weersing, V., Warnick, E., Dauser, C., Scahill, L., Woolston, J. (2012, November). Patterns of service utilization in an outpatient mental health clinic. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Baltimore, Maryland.

Bettis, A., Rozenman, M., Gonzalez, A., Roberts, A. L., Weersing, V. R., Warnick, E. R., Scahill, L. D., & Woolson, J. L. (2010, November). Screening for youth anxiety: Agreement between 5- and 41-item versions of the SCARED. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, San Francisco, California.


Other presentatations

Bettis, A., Forehand, R., Compas, B.E., et al. (2015, February). Preventing depression in at-risk youth. Presentation as a part of the Vanderbilt Center of Excellence Lunch & Learn series.