Current Research Projects

Parent-adolescent relationships and communication are an important protective factor for adolescent mental health. However, the way researchers usually measure communication doesn’t get at real-world situations.

We think that text messages might help us understand day-to-day interactions between parents and adolescents in a new way. We’re developing a way to measure the affective quality (positive, negative, or neutral) of parent-adolescent communication based on their text message exchanges.

This study is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.

We’re recruiting participants!

Please email if you’re a parent or caregiver of an adolescent in Canada and would like to participate. You can also read more about our study here.

Photo of an adolescent girl with ripped jeans using a smartphone
Photo of an adolescent girl with ripped jeans using a smartphone

Measuring Parent-Adolescent Affect Quality through Text Message Interactions

Sleep difficulties are common when adolescents experience anxiety or depression. Despite the existence of effective behavioural sleep treatments, youth often have limited buy-in to engage in these programs and make the changes required to improve their sleep. We are launching a pilot randomized controlled trial to determine if a personalized behavioural sleep treatment with shared decision making between youth and clinicians is feasible and may lead to better sleep and mental health outcomes.

This project is being done in collaboration with colleagues at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and is supported by the Cundill Centre for Child and Youth Depression.

A Personalized Intervention for Adolescent Sleep Difficulties

We’re testing how changes in emotion regulation are associated with how much children benefit from a modular cognitive-behavioural therapy program.

This project uses a combination of physiological (heart rate variability and skin conductance level) and behavioural measures of emotion regulation. It also uses an evidence-based, modular therapy program. This study is co-led by with researchers at CAMH and the University of Guelph and is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Emotion Regulation as a Mechanism of Change in Youth Psychotherapy

Canadian children experienced major life disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Risk factors for worsening children’s mental health have been identified, along with protective factors that appear to buffer against the negative effects of the pandemic.

We collected intensive longitudinal data about risk and protective factors from parents and children in a longitudinal Canadian birth cohort. We are currently using dynamic network analysis to identify chains of association and feedback loops between these risk and protective factors.

Our results will provide new information about the most important factors to target in efforts to support children’s mental health as we continue to recover from the pandemic.

Risk and Protective Factors for Kids' Mental Health as we Emerge from COVID