Research

The DEAR laboratory studies children's emotional, social, and interpersonal development. Specifically, our research seeks to identify psychological mechanisms that explain how genetic and environmental risk translate into anxiety disorders and related conditions, such as depressive, substance use, and eating disorders, throughout in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.

 

The Southwestern Ontario COVID-19 Child Mental Health Study

Beyond their immediate medical impact, crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, pose substantial risk of widespread mental health sequelae, a second wave of the crisis that may persist long after the discovery of biomedical solutions to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This study will identify the acute and long-term impact of the pandemic on children's mental health by following a large sample of children in Southwestern Ontario monthly through August 2021. Within each family, a child and parent will report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s daily lives and psychological distress (i.e., symptoms of anxiety, depressive, and posttraumatic stress disorders). Ultimately, the present study will inform guidelines for the assessment and identification of children at risk for long-term psychological harm and inform the development of resources to help mitigate the urgent risk to children’s psychological and psychiatric well-being.

This study is made possible by generous funding from the Government of Ontario Ministry of Health, the WE-SPARK Health Institute, and the University of Windsor.

Community Applications of the MindShift App

We are proud to conduct this research in collaboration with Anxiety Canada. This study is an international open label trial in Canada and the United States of America to evaluate and enhance a freely available smartphone app, called MindShift, to help people manage anxiety. Briefly, the app was designed by a team of anxiety experts in Canada and the United Sates of America based on cognitive behavioural therapy.

If you would like to find out more, please click on the link below.

https://www.anxietycanada.com/research/

This study is made possible by generous funding from Anxiety Canada.

Emotional & Interpersonal Mechanisms in the Development of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders in Youth

This project leverages a vast network of collaborations with psychologists, psychiatrists, and scientists across Canada and the United States of America to identify psychological processes implicated in the development of pediatric anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and irritability.

This research Is supported by funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; USA) and, most recently, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC; Canada).

Dynamic Assessment of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms in Young Adults

This research leverages smartphone-based technology to examine daily fluctuations in the severity of anxiety and depressive symptoms in the daily lives of young adults. Several extensions of this work include:

  • Evaluating the accuracy of clinical assessments based on a single report of symptom severity

  • Documenting considerable variability in the severity of clinical symptoms over relatively short periods of time (e.g., days)

  • Clarifying the role of acute symptom severity, such as acute "flare ups" to predict high-risk behaviors, such as risky use of alcohol or other psychoactive substances.