Richard Young


Relevant Degree Programs


Great Supervisor Week Mentions

Each year graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website as part of #GreatSupervisorWeek. Below are students who mentioned this supervisor since the initiative was started in 2017.


Richard is kind, caring and always available for students. He also provides numerous opportunities for us to develop as scholars. Moreover, he constantly challenges us to think more deeply and to explore different perspectives. I have grown so much under your supervision. Thanks for being a great supervisor, Richard!

Mindy Chiang (2019)


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - Nov 2020)
Is maternal emotion socialization associated with daughters' eating disorder psychopathology and emotion regulation? A mediation study based on mothers' reports. (2019)

There is an ongoing need to improve the models of and treatments for eating disorders (EDs), given the limited recovery rates. Emotion regulation difficulties predict and maintain these disorders but interventions that teach emotion regulation skills to individuals with EDs have not improved the overall treatment efficacy. Research in developmental psychology suggests that parents influence (socialize) emotion regulation of their adolescent children and can be utilized in treatment as emotion coaches. This can be a promising avenue for future interventions for EDs, if research demonstrates that parental emotion socialization is linked to youth’s ED psychopathology through youth’s emotion regulation, as suggested by theory. This study examined if three channels of emotion socialization – practices (emotion coaching, emotion dismissing, and positive beliefs about daughters’ anger), mothers’ emotion regulation, and expressed emotion (critical comments, emotional overinvolvement) – were associated with daughters’ ED psychopathology through daughters’ emotion regulation. Individual differences that might be associated with emotion socialization were also examined. 135 mothers of daughters either with or without an ED diagnosis completed a battery of measures. Daughters’ ages ranged from 12 to 24 years. Results indicated that mothers’ emotion coaching, emotion regulation difficulties, and critical comments were indirectly related to daughters’ ED psychopathology through daughters’ emotion dysregulation. Emotional overinvolvement was only linked to ED psychopathology directly. Mothers’ psychological functioning or daughters’ diagnostic status (presence or absence of an ED diagnosis) were not significantly related to emotion coaching, emotion dismissing, or positive beliefs about anger. This study is a first step towards understanding how emotion socialization, especially emotion coaching, is linked to ED psychopathology and it can inform future research and clinical practice.

View record

Parent relational processes with coaches and athletes in early specialization sport (2019)

In early specialization sports, where athletes may reach elite levels as young as 13 or 14 years old, parents and coaches (both individually, and in combination) play an important role in supporting the development and overall quality of experience of youth athletes. Despite a growing focus on interpersonal relationships in sport, research examining parent-coach and parent-athlete interactions is relatively limited, particularly when compared to the coach-athlete dyad. Situated within an interpretivist paradigm, the purpose of this dissertation was to advance understanding of the relational processes of parents with coaches and athletes in the context of Canadian competitive figure skating. Two studies were conducted towards this end. The first study was an interpretive description with the purpose of understanding the nature of the coach-parent relationship. Data were collected using individual semi-structured interviews with 12 mothers and 12 coaches. Most participants described positive experiences of the parent-coach relationship, albeit with the presence of conflict. Participants’ descriptions of their experiences clustered around three configurations of the coach-parent dyad. These corresponded to (a) collaborative, (b) coach-athlete centric, and (c) contractual configurations, with each reflecting different views about the nature of the relationship. These configurations are discussed considering three prominent themes: expertise, communication, and trust. The second study was an instrumental case study design with five parent-athlete (athlete Mage = 11.40 years) dyads. Contextual action theory and action project method were used to describe how parents and athletes jointly navigated the transition to (or not to) higher levels of training and commitment in figure skating. Data were collected longitudinally over 10 months and included video-recorded conversations, video feedback-supported interviews, and biweekly telephone monitoring. Parent-athlete dyads’ joint projects were grouped based on three common themes that corresponded to negotiating school, sport, and extra-curricular commitments, progressing towards skating goals, and maintaining a developmental focus. These joint projects were embedded in the broader parent-child relationship project. Overall, these studies revealed important aspects about parent-coach and parent-athlete relationships in skating and offer general insights for the study of parenting in sport. When taken together, the findings highlight the role of parents in promoting youth psychosocial development in sport.

View record

The Processes of Engaging in Mandated Addiction Treatment: A Grounded Theory (2016)

The aim of this research was to produce a grounded theory that describes and explains the experience of mandated addiction treatment (MAT) using a Straussian (Corbin & Strauss, 2008) qualitative grounded theory method. Overall, clients’ perspectives have been neglected in the creation and evaluation of MAT (Kras, 2013; Urbanoski, 2010). The main outcomes of interest in MAT research have been expressed as objective measures of abstinence, treatment retention, and recidivism. This study provides an in-depth look into the experiential processes of entering, attending, and exiting MAT. Without this fuller picture detailing the process of the MAT experience, MAT programs continue to run the risk of infringing on civil liberties; undermining the integrity of the treatment endeavour; and reproducing inconclusive outcomes on decontextualized variables. Forty adults (ages 25-64; 18 women and 22 men) were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. All participants had been institutionally referred through the criminal justice system, child protection services, or their employer. All interviews were subject to the constant comparative methods of open, axial, and theoretical coding to develop the model of MAT. The interview guide was modified three times over the course of the fieldwork in order to theoretically sample for the emerging concepts and categories and test for contradictory cases and opposing viewpoints. The process of what participants do as they go through MAT is explained as “engaging” in the Theory of Engaging in MAT (TEMAT). There are four processes and two contextual categories that constitute TEMAT. The processes are: Choosing Treatment, Readying to Participate in Treatment, Treating Addiction Experiences, and Evaluating Mandated Treatment. The personal contexts that frame the MAT experience are the contextual categories of Living Addiction and Living Sobriety. TEMAT illustrates the journey of MAT, describes the properties and characteristics of what participants do in each of the four process, and the relationship among the processes. This study uniquely adds to the literature on MAT by showing the ways participants are active in assessing, choosing, and evaluating consequences, despite the mandated nature of their treatment. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.

View record

Recovery from adolescent depression as a joint, adolescent-parent goal-directed project (2015)

This study explored female adolescent perspectives on the joint and goal-directed processes enacted in the adolescent-parent relationship around recovery from adolescent depression. Seven female adolescents with a diagnosis of depression participated in a research conversation and self-confrontation interview. The guiding research question for this study was, “How do female adolescents in a process of recovery from depression describe their recovery as joint goal-directed action in the context of their relationship with parents?” Data were collected using the qualitative action project method (Young, Valach, & Domene, 2005), and participants were asked to describe the important actions they took specific to recovery and how their parents were involved in the recovery journey. Data analysis was conducted following qualitative action project and instrumental case study method (Stake, 2005). The findings generated seven-detailed action-theory informed descriptions of the salient projects, actions and internal processes involved in each participant’s story. Two superordinate and three subordinate recovery-related joint projects involving adolescents and parents, as described by adolescent participants, emerged from a cross case analysis. Findings identified recovery as jointly enacted through the navigation of the adolescent-parent relationship and engagement in formal and familial support processes. The findings also identified joint and intentional action specific to relatedness and autonomy goals, governance transfer, and attending to perceptions of the parent experience as recovery relevant processes in the context of the adolescent-parent relationship. Recovery-related projects shifted over time to reflect changes in adolescents’ internal processes and meaning associated with action. Overall, the findings emphasize the relational embeddedness of recovery from depression in adolescence, adding to our understanding of adolescent priorities in recovery and how adolescents see themselves as working with parents to mobilize toward wellness goals.

View record

Understanding Weight Restoration in Adolescent Anorexia as a Parent Project (2015)

Parent-led weight restoration is a key intervention of family-based treatment, an empirically-supported approach for the treatment of adolescent anorexia. Little is known about the processes by which parents implement weight restoration, and current understandings of this intervention are primarily informed by professional perspectives. The aim of this study was to increase knowledge and understanding of parent-led weight restoration by examining parents’ actions while engaged in efforts to help their adolescent recover weight. The guiding research question was, “How do parents participate in the weight restoration of their adolescent as he or she recovers from anorexia?” This multicase study (Stake, 2006) used the action project method (Young, Valach, & Domene, 2005) and conceptual framework of contextual action theory (Valach, Young & Lynam, 2002) to examine five cases of parents engaged in actions intended to help their adolescent recover weight and to alter eating disorder behaviours. Data were collected using multi-part interviews, and analyzed according to the action project method and the multicase approach. Qualitative analysis revealed parents’ treatment-related goals of adolescent weight recovery were situated in a larger system of projects and careers in the parents’ personal and family lives. Conceptualizing the parents’ actions within this system revealed personally and socially meaningful weight restoration projects, and the relational and social meaning of these projects was found to motivate and steer parents’ day-to-day weight restoration actions. Some common joint projects emerged across the cases, such as seeking support and partnership and managing burden and distress associated with tension between weight restoration and other personal and parenting projects, especially adolescent development and parent identity processes. Implications for counselling practice with parents implementing weight restoration treatments are drawn.

View record

Mother-daughter conversations about appearance: body image development through joint projects (2014)

In nearly two decades of research, objectification theory has provided a comprehensive sociocultural account of how women and girls internalize a sexually-objectified, critical lens of their bodies and appearance. Self-objectification and the associated behavioural and affective experiences of body surveillance and shame have been found to be related to a variety of mental health concerns for girls and women, including disordered eating, depression, and sexual risk-taking. While objectifying cultural messages are an omnipresent influence in body image development, there is evidence that the mother-daughter relationship has significant impact on this process. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe how mothers and their adolescent daughters construct one another’s perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours regarding their bodies and appearance, from the perspective of their joint, goal-directed actions. Using a case study design and the constructionist action-project method, the conversations about appearance and bodies of six mother-daughter dyads were analyzed. The daughters in these dyads were from 13 to 17 years old, representing pubertal onset, a turbulent time for navigating peer and media pressures. By tackling issues like make-up use, revealing clothing, cosmetic surgery, and athletic activities, these mother-daughter conversations and their individual recalled thoughts and feelings on viewing the video-playback of the conversation exhibited how both congruent and conflicting behaviors and values can be transferred within their relationships. Findings point to mother-daughter joints projects that range from mutual objectification, avoidance of vulnerability, to sharing values such as thinness or athleticism, and supporting one another with empathy. Action-project analysis of these case studies revealed that many appearance-related projects were enacted within overarching identity and relationship projects. These cases provide evidence of the processes by which body image is socially constructed within the mother-daughter relationship.

View record

Learning mindfulness: dialogue and inquiry from an action-theoretical perspective (2012)

The processes of learning mindfulness were explored in this case study by analyzing the transcripts of teacher-student interactions in the Dialogue and Inquiry periods of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. The following research questions guided the inquiry: What is the process of learning mindfulness through Dialogue and Inquiry of an MBSR course? How does the social learning of mindfulness in Dialogue and Inquiry construct the experience of mindfulness? The qualitative “action-project method” was used to collect and analyse the data which were comprised of class dialogues, self-confrontation interviews (video process-recall interviews) and weekly logs gathered over nine weekly sessions. The analysis of these multi-perspectival data offered a comprehensive insight into the mindfulness-teacher and students’ internal cognitive, emotional and somatic processes in learning (and teaching) mindfulness, their individual and joint goals concerning mindfulness, behavioural manifestations of mindfulness, and lastly, the social meanings of mindfulness. The action processes identified and described in the findings of this study suggest that, while the mindfulness project was the super ordinate class joint project, it was embedded in and constituted by a concurrent relationship project made up of teacher-student, student-student, and self connections. The mindfulness curriculum was to a large part embodied by the teacher, who initiated many of the actions in the dialogue in a teacher-led inquiry, drawing the students into joint sub-ordinate projects of noticing (attention), describing (language) and understanding (insight). Further, the joint projects of helping (compassion) and relating (connection), often implicit and spontaneous, informed both the mindfulness and relationship projects. The findings offered theoretical, pedagogical and clinical implications for the teaching and learning of mindfulness. The study also shifted the gaze from mindfulness as an individual cognitive phenomenon to a dynamic relational process.

View record

An action-project investigation of young adult clients' self-efficacy within individual counselling process (2011)

This study aimed to describe dynamic interactive manifestations of client self-efficacy within the individual counselling process of young adult clients and professional counsellors. The study reanalyzed data obtained from a previous action-project investigation of 12 counsellor-client dyads who met for up to four sessions to address issues related to the client’s transition to adulthood. Reanalysis followed a cumulative case study approach (Stake, 2000) and adapted the qualitative analysis procedures of the action-project method (Young, Valach, & Domene, 2005). Two research questions, “How is client self-efficacy manifest in counselling process?” and “How are perceptions of clients’ capabilities constructed within the individual and joint action of individual counselling sessions?” guided the reanalysis of six target cases. The within case portion of the analysis yielded detailed descriptions of clients’ self-efficacy beliefs as well as the joint action processes that constructed them. The findings for each case were reduced to a set of assertions and were then compared and contrasted in the cross case analyses. This analytic process generated the following seven summary assertions pertaining to these participants’ experiences: 1) perceptions of the clients’ capabilities were embedded throughout all phases of the counselling process including exploration, problem definition, intervention, client change, consolidation of change, and termination; 2) clients’ efficacious and inefficacious self-evaluations varied with regards to emotional intensity and importance to the counselling process; 3) clients’ perceptions of self-efficacy regarding basic tasks of counselling were closely tied to the client-counsellor relationship; 4) counsellor and client’s exploratory joint action helped construct perceptions of capability; 5) the counsellors' use of efficacy questions was accompanied by efficacy construction; 6) significant extratherapy events were incorporated into the joint action that constructed perceptions of the clients’ capabilities; 7) efficacy construction was observed in powerful parallel processes that aligned clients’ in-session action with highly important relational goals. These findings are forwarded as knowledge that is close to these participants’ experience. Though the study’s research design precludes causal statements or definitive generalizations, the knowledge generated from the participants’ experience prompts theoretical reflection, invites subsequent research, and may be useful to practitioners seeking to facilitate efficacy construction in their clients.

View record

Spiritual and relational dimensions of parental grieving (2011)

This study explored relational and spiritual dimensions of parental grieving. Five bereaved parental couples participated in three sets of interviews over the course of approximately three months. The guiding research question for this study was, “how do spiritual/religious bereaved parents grieve jointly for their deceased child?” Data was collected using the qualitative action-project method and participants were asked how they grieved together for their deceased child and how their spirituality impacted their joint grieving. Joint grieving processes were identified and monitored over approximately three months. The data analysis was informed by the qualitative action project and an instrumental case study method. Joint grieving was described and enacted as goal-directed activities, including both planned and unplanned grieving actions and intended towards the development of an ongoing, relational representation of the deceased child and towards the authentic and vibrant relationships with the partner and the Divine. Joint grieving was facilitated through engaging in joint grieving rituals, sharing individual grieving actions with one’s partner, and accepting the individual grieving style of the partner. Joint grieving was impeded by experiences of disconnection from the significant others, and by various life extraneous stressors. The joint grieving projects were irreducibly related to the spiritual lives of bereaved parents. Their faiths shaped the continuing bonds with their deceased children, offered comfort and spiritual meaning in the midst of suffering and provided an avenue to express disappointment and anger over their loss. The findings offer theoretical, empirical and clinical import for the multi-disciplinary study of parental bereavement.

View record

The Spiritual Beliefs of Non-Religiously Affiliated Young Adults (2010)

This qualitative study describes the spiritual beliefs of young adults who have no religious affiliation, and examines how they assess and critically reflect upon their beliefs. An interpretative phenomenological analysis research method was used to describe and thematically organize their spiritual beliefs. Three themes emerged from this analysis: a description of spirituality, the narrative process of creating spiritual beliefs, and the outcomes of possessing spiritual beliefs. Participants describe and define spirituality in diverse ways. The more common definitions include a hopeful and benevolent perspective on life, a tentative acceptance of a higher power, belief in karma and a reverence for nature. One of the most consistent findings is the rejection of institutional religion. Participants choose spirituality to avoid the problems they perceive as being typical to institutional religion and utilize a type of marketplace approach to select spiritual beliefs. Spirituality is construed as a highly individualized narrative process which is related to identity. Spirituality also helps to provide a sense of meaning and purpose. A second level of analysis examined how participants think about and critically reflect upon their beliefs. Elaborative coding, based upon King and Kitchener’s (1994) reflective judgment model, was used to group participants’ assessment of their beliefs into stages, and then interpreted using the reflective judgment model. The findings show that participants’ personal epistemology influence their spiritual beliefs. Moving up the reflective judgment model, spiritual beliefs in the lower stages are explicit, relatively simple beliefs created largely from a dogmatic opposition to religion. Justification for beliefs is based upon unjustified opinion or description, and spirituality is not a central part of their lived experiences. Higher staged participants describe a greater understanding of and appreciation for a constructivist nature of knowledge which contributes to spiritual beliefs that are more complex and grounded in their understanding of epistemology. This study demonstrates the importance of encouraging critical thinking skills in relation to spirituality.

View record

Recovery from addiction as a joint and gendered project : an action theoretical study (2009)

This qualitative study described the process of addiction recovery as it unfolded within close relationships and delineated the ongoing impact of gender on this process. The sample included five dyads that identified as being in a close-relationship and at least one of whom that self-identified as being in addiction recovery. The guiding research questions underlying the process included, “how do persons in close-relationships form and enact joint goals of addiction recovery?” and, “how are addiction-recovery projects gendered?” Data was collected using the qualitative action project method and participants were asked to describe how they came to view themselves as in recovery, what they were doing together to achieve recovery goals and how they each viewed his or her gender as impacting the ongoing process. Processes were identified and clarified in the form of joint projects and were monitored over approximately three months. Data analysis was based on the processes outlined as part of the qualitative action-project method (Young, Valach, & Domene, 2005) and informed by Stake’s (2005) instrumental case study method. The research findings yielded five detailed action-theoretically informed narrative descriptions of each dyad’s recovery project including the impact of gender on each case. Assertions about the addiction recovery process and the gendered nature of recovery were presented at the end of each case (Stake, 1995). Five overall (key) assertions about addiction recovery, as experienced by these participants, were drawn from a cross case analysis. Findings identified that addiction recovery was an inherently relational process and that when relationship goals and processes were going well these could supercede recovery goals and processes. The findings also identified that addiction recovery was gendered and gender role flexibility was identified as helpful for addiction recovery. Assertions drawn from the study indicated that addiction recovery would lose its meaning without consideration of its interdependency with close relationship and work-vocational pursuits. Although the research design precludes generalizing from the data, the knowledge generated herein may be helpful to others in the fields of psychology, social work, psychiatric nursing, and related health care disciplines, at the levels of education, training, and practice.

View record

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Supporting athletes' well-being in their competing journeys: identifying factors that promote positive body image (2018)

Recent research emphasizes the importance of identifying positive psychological factors that promote positive body image. The present study explored factors that promote positive body image in varsity athletes. The research specifically aimed at better understanding the identified relationship between self-compassion and positive body image by investigating personal growth initiative (PGI) as a mediator. Furthermore, this study examined the relative strength of the factors of PGI: using resources, intentional behaviour, planfulness and readiness for change. Varsity athletes (N=88) completed online questionnaires measuring self-compassion, positive body image, and PGI. Results from a simple mediation model indicate that PGI partially mediates the relationship between self-compassion and positive body image. The findings of a multiple mediation analysis examining the relative effects of the factors of PGI suggest that planfulness is the strongest mediator in the relation between self-compassion and positive body image. The present findings offer new knowledge on factors that contribute to a positive body image in varsity athletes. This study also informs future research investigating factors that can shape interventions aimed at promoting a positive body image in athletes.

View record

Intimate interactions in peer relationship of young adults (2017)

Friendship with peers is an important part of young adults’ lives. Literature has addressed the significance of intimacy in peer relationship, and has examined its relations with other aspects of young adults’ development and psychological well-being. But there is a lack of knowledge about how young adults express, act on, and experience intimacy in their day-to-day interactions with their friends. This study was a secondary analysis of data from a larger study using the action-project method to investigate transition-to-adulthood joint projects that young adults engage in with their peers. Two female-female dyads, two male-male dyads, and two female-male dyads (aged 19-27 years) were selected for in-depth qualitative analysis with their dyadic conversations and their reports of their internal processes during the conversations. The research question explored in this study was: What characterizes the intimate interactions in the conversations that young adults have with their friends? Content analysis using the Specific Affect Coding System (SPAFF) (Coan & Gottman, 2007) identified components of intimate interaction based on Prager’s theory of intimacy (Prager, 1995). The manifestation of intimacy within each dyad and the synthesis of all six cases are presented. The main characteristics revealed by the young adult peers’ intimate interactions include: (a) expression of attention and interest using both nonverbal behaviour and verbal cues; (b) self-disclosures either prioritizing recent life events or focusing on emotional events, and the tendency to share challenging experiences; (c) responses containing validation, comfort, understanding, and also information or suggestions; (d) positive internal experiences characterized by mutual support and understanding; and (e) reports of the emotional and instrumental value of the interactions. Findings are discussed in the context of the literature. Limitations of this study, as well as its implications for future research and counselling practice, are also discussed.

View record

Negotiating Sexual Consent among Heterosexual Students on a University Campus (2016)

Sexual assault among university students is a well-documented and studied area of research. Sexual assault hinges on the lack of sexual consent, however, few studies have focused on investigating the normative negotiation of sexual consent particularly from the perspective of students themselves. This study explored in depth the meaning and the negotiation of sexual consent from the perspective of heterosexual university students. To acknowledge the exploratory and nascent area of study, a qualitative research design was employed incorporating the ethnographic interview. Two data sources were used in this study including; 10 individual interviews and a single all women’s focus group. Participants were heterosexually identified students between the ages of 18-24. How participants understood sexual consent was found to be shaped by a number of variables including participants’ (1) social world consisting of how they defined sexual consent, their sources of knowledge, their spatial location, their exposure to: media portrayals, gender roles and expectations and sexual messaging, (2) relationship type with role expectations varying if the partnership was new, long-term or casual, and (3) personal identity including their levels of self-confidence as well as their cultural identity. The negotiation of sexual consent was described as (1) a process occurring over time, (2) entailing the implementation of behavioural strategies to manage risks and fears, (3) involving both complex communication methods, and (4) after the fact justifications and explanations to make sense of transpired events. This study contributes a deeper and more nuanced understanding of sexual consent processes. Implications for future research are discussed.

View record

Being in between: Discovering the identities of emerging adult immigrants (2015)

The proposed research aimed to discover the ways in which emerging adult immigrants negotiate their cultural identities within the context of both cultural and developmental transition. Using a grounded theory research design, 10 intensive-interviews were conducted with emerging adult immigrants, ages 19-27, who had immigrated and saw Canada as their long-term home. Emerging data was analyzed and results of this study yielded a conceptual model of cultural identity formation (MCIF) for emerging adult immigrants. The MCIF suggests that One’s Motivation and Sense of Agency to Create a New Identity is at the core of participant’s navigation of cultural identities. Additionally, the MCIF for emerging adult immigrants outlined six higher-order categories (1) Family Cultural Rigidity, (2) Connections Specific to Canada, (3) Connection to a Same Cultured Community, (4) Sense of Permanency, (5) Desire to Preserve Culture of Origin, (6) Desire to fit in to Canadian Culture, as well as two overarching factors (a) Dimension of Time and the (b) Dimension of Age that were found to be influential on participant’s overall sense of cultural identities (Blended, Dual, Disconnected, Intermediate). The present model and accompanying theory contributes to a deeper understanding of the lived experiences and sense of cultural selves of emerging adult immigrants during these phases of change. Recommendations for further research are made, as well as recommendations for counsellors working with an emerging adult immigrant population.

View record

Developing trust and balancing control: Social interactions in work accommodations (2013)

The return to work (RTW) literature has identified various determinants for successfuloutcomes for injured workers. Social interactions due to multiple stakeholders withinmultiple systems have emerged as an important area in need of further investigation.Additionally, the increase use of work accommodations to facilitate early return to workhas gained increased focus due to the promising direct and indirect benefits tostakeholders. This study examines the social interactions in the RTW accommodationprocess from the perspectives of three key stakeholders—the injured worker, theworkers’ compensation system and employer representatives—with the aim ofdeveloping a middle-range theory grounded in these stakeholders’ perspectives.Interview data from 27 participants (17 workers, 5 employers, 5 insurers) weretranscribed and analyzed using constructivist grounded theory method. The resultingtheory identified that developing trust and balancing control are interdependent coreprocesses in the RTW accommodation process. Developing trust and balancing controlare dynamic processes with opportunities to repair/increase or falter/decrease these coreprocesses among stakeholders. These processes impacted the outcomes and goals ofreturning the worker to productivity, the satisfaction with the accommodation process,the amount of loss reduction, and claim closure. Study results imply that stakeholderscan intervene when trust is not being developed and there is an imbalance of control.The measurement of trust and control in the RTW accommodation process would supportthe application of study findings. The resulting grounded theory provides a frameworkfor the implementation of successful RTW accommodations

View record

Exploring the lived experience of visual creative expression for young adult cancer survivors (2013)

The purpose of this research was to contribute experiential understanding of the lived experience of creative expression (both individually and/or within a therapeutic setting) in the particular context of young adult cancer survivors. It utilized van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological approach to answer the following question: “What is the lived experience and lived meaning of visual creative expression for young adult cancer survivors?” Seven young adults (diagnosed with cancer between ages 18 to 35) were engaged in two conversations (one main interview and one check-in interview) about their creative expression experiences. Participants were also invited to reflect on their insights, ideas, and experiences of creative expression through emails to the researcher. A thematic reflection and guided existential reflection (based on the four lifeworlds of lived body, lived time, lived space, and lived relation) were utilized to further understand, organize, and reveal the ways the participants experienced the phenomenon of creative expression. In line with van Manen (1990), data analysis was conducted through the writing and re-writing of findings in a reflective and vocative manner. Seven themes were uncovered that could be organized into the four lifeworlds: lived time involved being in the flow; lived body involved allowing the body to express itself and renegotiating control; lived space involved being impacted by a permanent change to the environment; and, finally, lived relation involved being seen, respect for the art as other, and giving back. The seven themes within these four life worlds intertwined to embody two additional themes: increased self-understanding and healing the mind and body. As the first study to explore the lived experience of visual creative expression specifically for young adult cancer survivors, this research begins to fill a large gap in the literature. Findings suggest that visual creative expression can be a meaningful and impactful experience for young adult cancer survivors, and that this experience espouses both similarities and differences from experiences of creative expression for older adults that have been previously described in the literature. Specific recommendations are made for future research, in addition to implications for practitioners working with the young adult cancer survivor population.

View record

Sense of identiy loss and continuity in narratives of immigration of a group of Latin American Canadian women (2013)

Drawing from an action theory and other perspectives on identity, which emphasize individuals' social processes and contextual factors, and utilizing a social constructivist approach, this inquiry proposes an understanding of the participants' immigration experiences. This secondary analysis explored the narratives of 25 semistructured interviews conducted in 2002 with Latin American immigrant and refugee women. Using a categorical-content (thematic) analysis, this qualitative research aimed to address the women's sense of identity loss and continuity in their narratives of immigration. Moving to Canada became problematic for half of the women when they experienced a sense of identity loss influenced by challenges of immigration.

View record

A narrative analysis of how adolescents construct career (2011)

Currently, the concept of career is evolving. While the concept of career is changing, the developmental stage of adolescence is being prolonged. Within this context, this study focused on the adolescent experience; specifically, how are grade 12’s constructing their careers according to this new vision of career and adulthood? The purpose of this study was to learn more about the adolescent experience to be better able to support them throughout this transition. This study used semi-structured interviews to gather narratives from seven grade 12 students. Through a holistic-content analysis, four main themes emerged from the data. There were three main themes around identity. The first explained how participants relied on their identity to make career decisions. The second theme was how participants expressed a need to explore who they are to be able to commit to career plans. The participants saw exploration as meeting new people and having new experiences. The activities involved were mostly travelling and living away from home. Once the participants felt that their exploration was over, they then felt that they would make a career choice. For the fourth theme, the career choice was discussed in terms of having formed a stable career identity, which would allow them to think about other parts of their lives, such as a family. The last theme addressed in this thesis was emotions that were present in the participants’ narratives, which were fear and excitement. From these findings, it is my hope that we continue to study career development through the use of narrative methodology to be able to learn more about the adolescent experience.

View record

Crisis Counselling Online: Building Rapport with Suicidal Youth (2011)

Despite a documented increase in the use of online counselling services by youth, little research has been conducted on how counsellors establish rapport in the absence of voice tone and conventional spoken language. As a result, no empirically validated guidelines exist for crisis counselling with youth online. Research shows that youth who access online services are often in extreme distress or suicidal. Youth’s increasing affinity for online communication, coupled with a lack of research in this area, necessitate an examination of how rapport is built online. The current study was a qualitative exploration of client-counsellor interactions in online crisis counselling sessions with suicidal youth. Data sources consisted of transcripts obtained from an online crisis chat service for youth. A collective case study was conducted, using content analysis of client-counsellor interactions followed by an examination of patterns across cases. It was found that tentative language, open-ended questions, and figurative language were used most in the Initial Contact phase and that interventions tended to be connection-building in nature. In the Risk Assessment phase, providing a context for questions, showing acceptance of coping methods, and statements of care were the most frequent interventions, and interventions tended to be connection-building in nature. In the Termination phase, summaries, questions about coping, expressions of care, and emoticons were used; connection-building and action-oriented types of interventions were both used. Overall, it was found that the counsellor tended to mirror the language patterns of the youth and that threats to rapport were handled with genuineness, often using informal language.

View record

Emotion as energiser in parent-adolescent projects during the transition to adulthood (2010)

Research on emotion in parent and child relationship has been largely limited to quantitative studies that do not capture the experience of emotion. This qualitative study sought to answer the question, “How does emotion serve to establish, maintain, disrupt and/or repair interaction between parent and adolescent in their interactions about the transition to adulthood?” Transcripts and video recordings of four parent-adolescent dyads from a larger transition-to-adulthood study were used. This secondary analysis, using the case study method, was guided by the contextual action theory framework in order to describe the role of emotion in parent-adolescent interactions and projects relating to the transition-to-adulthood. Eight identified emotion categories were used in coding the transcripts, based on indicators according to Gottman’s “Specific Affect Coding System”. The identified emotions in the moment-to-moment interactions between parents and adolescents and their self-confrontation interviews were organised by their function and process level. That is, whether the emotion was a manifest behaviour; an appraisal or steering process; or at the level of meaning in the joint or individual goal(s) of parents and adolescents. The role of emotion was demonstrated by how it served and/or contributed to different outcomes depending on how the emotion was experienced. The findings illustrated that emotion was an important factor in the co-construction of the parent-adolescent relationship as parents and adolescents are engaged in the transition-to-adulthood process. For example, even though less desirable emotions such as anger disrupted parent-adolescent interaction at the level of behaviour, emotion still functioned to energise their projects. At different levels, emotion energised the joint action between parents and adolescents, their steering processes and goals, to establish, maintain, disrupt and/or repair their interactions and projects differently. This study lends support to the need for the use of a qualitative framework to understand the complex phenomenon of emotion. From the counselling psychology perspective, the findings of this study provide insight to practitioners on the experience of emotion from the individual perspectives of parents and adolescents and emotion as a joint experience.

View record

Formation of expectations of return to work by injured workers with sub-acute back pain : The role of perceived uncertainty (2010)

This thesis explores the formation of expectations of return to work from the perspective of injured workers who were off work due to sub-acute back pain. The findings are based on one-to-one semi-structured interviews conducted with injured workers from the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. Interview data were recorded from 12 participants (6 female, 6 male) between ages 29 and 63 years. Most participants were in receipt of compensation benefits and were recruited through WorkSafeBC. The average duration of work absence was 3 1/3 months. The data were transcribed and analyzed using grounded theory. The findings identified several interactive categories from the data that influence the formation of expectations, including the overarching category of perceived uncertainty, as well as five inter-related sub-categories: (1) perceived lack of control over the return-to-work process, (2) perceived lack of recognition by others of the impact of the injury, (3) perceived inability to perform the pre-injury job, (4) fear of re-injury, and (5) perceived need for workplace accommodations. Perceived uncertainty was determined to be the core category influencing the formation of expectations, which have been identified as an important biopsychosocial element of the return-to-work process. This qualitative study, the first to explore the formation of expectations of return to work, serves to unpack the dynamic, complex and multi-faceted construct of expectations of return to work from the perspective of the injured worker.

View record

Punjabi Sikh parents' beliefs about suicide and suicide-related behaviours (2010)

This study is the first to describe first generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh parents’ beliefs about suicide and suicide-related behaviours. Through an ethnographic approach the study sought to uncover the parents’ beliefs about the causes and consequences of suicide, reaction and interventions utilized in response to adolescent suicide and suicide-related behaviours, barriers to seeking mental health services and current help seeking behaviours. Semi structured individual interviews were conducted with four groups of participants: first generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh parents of adolescents, second generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh young adults, South Asian mental health therapists and medical professionals, and a Punjabi Sikh community leader. The findings of the study revealed the believed causes of suicide and suicide-related behaviours to be peer relations, lack of attention from parents, parental pressure to succeed, hormonal changes, and mental illness. Initially parents reported their emotional response to be shock and anger, followed by a range of other emotions. The interventions parents utilize in response to suicide and suicide-related behaviours are the Sikh religion, western health care, communication and monitoring of adolescent behaviour, and alternative healing methods. Barriers to accessing mental health services were identified to be a lack of comprehension of the concept of mental health, awareness of available services, and the Punjabi culture; the Sikh religion was identified not to be a barrier to seeking services. Although the help seeking behaviours of first generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh parents have changed in recent years, further education is needed to raise awareness of adolescent suicide and suicide-related behaviours. The findings of the study have important implications for the provision of culturally appropriate mental health services for adolescent suicide and suicide-related behaviours.

View record

Current Students & Alumni

This is a small sample of students and/or alumni that have been supervised by this researcher. It is not meant as a comprehensive list.

If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Learn about our faculties, research and more than 300 programs in our 2021 Graduate Viewbook!