President's Showcase

Wendy Rodriguez

Oral Presentation, 6:15 -6:30 PM, Ballrooms A-B
Wendy Rodriguez headshot.jpg

David B. Ford Undergraduate Research Award

The Role of Parentification on the Internalizing Psychopathology of Children from Migrant Families
Supervising Professor: Dr. Brad Schmidt
Wendy Rodriguez is a senior majoring in Psychology with minors in Child Development and Computational Science Entrepreneurship. Being an immigrant and having grown up in a predominately Hispanic community, her passion for inclusive research ignited after observing how a lack of research studying unrepresented samples further augmented the mental health disparities in healthcare, specifically immigrant-based disparities. After working in the Anxiety and Behavioral Health Clinic (ABHC) as a sophomore, Wendy became interested in trauma-exposed populations and PTSD research. With the continuing support of the Schmidt Lab, she has been able to gain invaluable skills in research and hopes to publish her findings after ongoing data collection. Following graduation, Wendy will continue working with the ABHC as a project coordinator and hopes of attaining a masters in Learning and Cognition prior to applying to a PhD program.


Researchers have operationalized parentification, a phenomenon in which children are tasked with adult responsibilities to satisfy the emotional or instrumental needs of the family (i.e. role reversal), to occur on a continuum potentially having long-term impacts on psychosocial functioning and adjustment into adulthood. Several theoretical components of parentification have been identified suggesting child neglect, perceived fairness, and filial responsibility as important factors in determining maladaptive outcomes of parentification. The present study seeks to understand the differential outcomes of parentification on current internalizing pathology (i.e. depression, stress, anxiety) in a cultural context by studying children of migrant families. Specifically, we aimed to investigate the possible interactive effects between the following broad defining characteristics of parentification: (a) past perceptions of caregiving role and experience, (b) manifestations of parentification outcomes in present internalizing pathology, and (c) characteristics of the child and family dynamics. It was hypothesized that higher scores of self-reported negative past perceptions in childhood will be positively associated with internalizing pathology. Additionally, it was hypothesized that demographic and cultural factors (e.g., SES, foreign-born parent status, family order) would impact the prevalence and frequency of current self-reported symptoms. Initial preliminary analysis was conducted to evaluate data distribution as well as formulate an analysis plan after continuing data collection. Given the empirical literature on the nature of parentification, identifying defining characteristics and possible long-term effects of parentification in underrepresented sample populations could inform the development of culturally tailored preventions, assessments, and intervention efforts for minority groups.

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