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Jessica Chou

Contact Information

Jessica Chou


Assistant Professor

Counseling and Family Therapy Department

Jessica Chou, PhD focuses on community-based research within marginalized populations. She focuses her work across three areas of interest: women and families impacted by substance use, training experiences of couple/marriage and family therapists (C/MFT) and migration and resettlement among immigrant and refugee families. Her focus on family-centered substance abuse treatment stems from her time spent working in a gender-specific community organization conducting research and program development. Specifically, Chou is interested in understanding how to best meet the needs of women, children and families impacted by substance use disorders. Additionally, she is interested in clinical and research work with immigrant and refugee families. She continues to explore migration trajectories from pre- through postmigration impact resettlement for families living in the United States. Lastly, Chou continues to examine how to best meet the training needs of C/MFT students.

Academic Distinctions

The primary focus of the Exploring Community Empowerment Lab (EXCEL) is to utilize developmental, treatment and training research to examine family and parenting dynamics among diverse community populations. Specifically, our lab focuses on understanding the development and maintenance of substance use disorders among women and mothers, in order to identify mechanisms of family-centered prevention, treatment and recovery support. Much of our current research examines family and parenting relationships among mothers and pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders. Other research investigates program development, implementation and outcomes for women and mothers enrolled in gender-specific treatment.

The EXCEL lab also explores immigrant and refugee migration trajectories to understand family dynamics and parenting practices from pre- to postmigration. Our current research focuses on transnational living and family dynamics among resettled immigrants and refugees living in the United States.

Lastly, in this lab we are examining C/MFT training experiences in an effort to understand and support workforce development. Currently we are studying C/MFT's training experience in substance use among families to identify exposure and preparedness for therapists working with families impacted by addiction.

Faculty Fellowships

2020 NIDA Diversity Scholars Network

Professional Society

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 2010-Present

Selected Publications

*Chou, J., Muruthi, B., Ibrahim, M. Janes, E., Pierce, K., Pennington, L., Dickens, R., Michael, J., &  Zand, D. (2020). Evaluating Gender Specific Substance Use Programs: Lessons Learned from the Field. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-14. doi: 10.1007/s11469-020-00374-1.

*Chou, J., Diamond, R., Muruthi, B., Cooper-Sadlo, S., Ibrahim, M., & Hillier S. Aponte, J., Herbert, D., Montesinos, S. & Zaarur, A. (2020).  An application of Ecostructural family therapy for maternal substance use. [In progress].

Chou, J., Cooper-Sadlo, S., Diamond, R. Muruthi, B, & Beeler-Stinn, S. (2019). An Exploration of Mothers’ Successful Completion of Family-Centered Residential Substance Use Treatment. Family Process, 1-15. doi:1111.famp.12501.

Chou, J.  Zand, D., Pierce, K., Pennington, L., Dickens, R., Michael, J. McNamara, D., White, T. (2018). Social Support, Family Empowerment, Substance Use, and Perceived Parenting Competence during Pregnancy for Women with Substance Use Disorders. Substance Use and Misuse, 53(13):2250-2256. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2018.1467456.

Sadlo, S., Mancini, M., Meyer, D., & Chou, J. (2018). Mothers talk back: Exploring the experiences of formerly incarcerated mothers. Contemporary Family Therapy, 41, 92–10. doi: 10.1007/s10591-018-9473-y.

*publication with student(s)

Grant participation:

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Opioid Workforce Expansion Program (OWEP). Interdisciplinary Training Initiative for Children, Adolescents & Families Impacted By Opioid Use Disorder.
Co-Principle Investigator to develop and implement a substance use training program for graduate level students to gain knowledge and skills of substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support. Amount: $1,300,000. September 2019 - August 2022.

Drexel University Research & Development Fund - Racial Inequality. Couple/Marriage and Family Therapists Extent of Training Experiences for Race-Related Stress and Racial Trauma.
Co-Principle Investigator examining race-related stress and trauma training exposure and among couple/marriage and family therapists (C/MFTs) who graduated from COAMFTE programs. Amount: $5,000.00. July 2020 – June 2021.

Career Development Award. Understanding the Role and Impact of Family-Based Therapies in Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities.
Principle Investigator exploring the prevalence and trends in the utilization of family-based therapies over the last decade. Amount: $5,884.00. September 2019 - August 2020.

Dean's Rapid Relevant Response. Developing a Family-Centered Behavioral Health Intervention for MAT: A Feasibility & Acceptability Study.
Principle Investigator examining the feasibility and acceptability of developing a family-centered behavioral health intervention for women with opioid use disorders (OUDs) to increase their adherence to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Amount: $5,200.00. June 2019 - May 2020.

Family Process Institute. Supporting Therapist Workforce Development: Exploring Person of the Therapist (POTT) Training Model.
Co-Principle Investigator exploring student therapists’ outcomes related to participation in the POTT training model course. Amount: $5,000.00. September 2019 - January 2021.

Editorial review board membership:

Family Process, Advisory Editorial Board

Research Interests

View Research Profile

Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO May 2014
PhD, Family Therapy

Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL August 2010
MA, Clinical Psychology

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL May 2007
BS, Psychology