Research

Our research focuses on depression in adolescents and adults, primarily investigating individual differences in response to stress and negative affect, with a secondary interest in understanding comorbid anxiety disorders. Our work bridges cognitive, biological, and clinical science and uses both experimental and experienced sampling techniques. Please see below for additional information about current research projects.

Stress & Resilience:

This study investigates the link among stress, adaptive emotion regulation strategies, and symptoms of depression in participants with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). We are also examining whether reductions in rumination mediate the relation between adaptive emotion regulation strategies and biological and emotional responses to stress.

Thinking Styles:

This research study aims to better understand the mechanisms underlying rumination by investigating the relation between rumination and cognitive control biases. We are examining multiple types of cognitive control biases in order to examine which best predicts ruminative responses to a naturalistic stressor.

Students’ Transition to High School:

This study examines predictors of psychological distress versus resilience during the transition from elementary school to high school, an under-studied period of development during which rates of mental illness substantially increase. We are working to answer questions such as: What makes the transition from elementary school to high school difficult? What makes this transition easier? How can we use this information to help students during their transition to high school? For more information on how to participate, please visit startinghighschool.ca !

Treatment Response:

The aim of this project is to improve the efficiency of treatment selection for depression. Currently, the tools available to facilitate decision-making for depression treatment are limited, and a trial-and-error approach is often used to identify the most effective intervention. Previous research shows that early changes in emotionally biased cognition may predict later reductions in depressive symptoms. Therefore, we are using behavioural measures of emotionally biased cognition to examine whether the changes in emotional bias produced by pharmacological (antidepressant or mood stabilizer) and psychological (cognitive behavioural therapy) treatments may predict remission from depression. These measures, if shown to predict treatment effects, may be useful for streamlining decision-making in the initial selection of interventions for depression.

The Comorbidity Project:

Epidemiological research shows that Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) frequently co-occur. Compared to non-comorbid individuals, persons with comorbid MDD and SAD report greater impairment in social and occupational functioning and poorer response to treatment. In this study, we are examining how biological, emotional and cognitive processes predict the course of depression and social anxiety symptoms. Through this research, we hope to inform etiological models and treatment decisions for pure and co-occurring MDD and SAD.