David Kealy

Associate Professor

Research Classification

Consciousness, Subjectivity and Personal Identity
Mental Health and Society
Affective and Emotional Development

Research Interests

mental health
Emotional functioning


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.

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These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Possibility in groups: examining group interventions to enhance emerging adults' possible selves (2020)

Emerging adulthood is a period when a person’s sense of who one can become undergoes considerable development. It has been proposed that interventions that focus on enhancing identity can help emerging adults shape and pursue their life goals; however, little is currently known about group interventions that help young people develop a robust sense of identity. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation was to advance understanding of identity-focused group interventions among emerging adults. Three studies were conducted using a staged approach to achieve this goal. Study 1 reviewed identity-focused group interventions that were empirically tested with emerging adults to uncover their defining characteristics and purported mechanisms of change. Interventions were categorized into three groups, including didactic, task-oriented, and experiential. Study 2 compared two possible selves group interventions (interpersonal-experiential and didactic) that aimed to increase participants’ sense of future possibilities. Findings indicated significant improvement in future outlook and personal growth initiative following participation in both types of intervention. While no significant change in vocational possible selves was observed, significant improvement in relational possible selves was found among participants who completed the interpersonal-experiential intervention. Follow-up analyses found that improvement in relational possible selves in the interpersonal-experiential intervention was associated with participants’ ratings of group engagement during the intervention. Study 3 explored participants’ subjective experiences in the aforementioned possible selves group interventions. Three overarching categories emerged from a thematic analysis, including psychosocial changes (four themes), helpful factors (nine themes), and unhelpful factors (five themes). The emergent themes were associated with one or both group interventions. Taken together, these three studies made the following contributions to the advancement of knowledge: consolidating and interpreting the disparate literature; investigating the effectiveness of and participants’ perceptions of change in two identity-focused group interventions; examining group processes in the above interventions, and; exploring participants’ perceived limitations and suggestions for improving the aforementioned interventions. Findings from this dissertation provide support for the need to study psychological interventions that address identity development in emerging adulthood, affording an original and substantive contribution to the identity scholarship domain.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

The duality of loyalty : confirmatory factor analysis of the multidimensional interpersonal loyalty inventory (2023)

Loyalty has been a popular topic in organisational behaviour for decades, but recent research has found evidence to suggest that the construct may be dispositionally oriented and multidimensional. Understanding the latent structure of interpersonal loyalty has important theoretical and clinical implications for counselling psychologists, particularly as the emergence of more maladaptive qualities of the construct have come to the fore. This study investigated the newly developed 42-item Multidimensional Interpersonal Loyalty Inventory (MILI) using confirmatory factor analysis and correlations to other variables on a sample of 394 community dwelling adults. The results yielded factor loadings and fit indexes that adequately supported a six-factor structure. Good internal consistency reliability was found with alpha values ranging from .79-.90 for the individual subscales. Several significant correlations were found between loyalty factors and other interpersonal variables providing convergent and discriminant support for the distinction between three adaptive and three maladaptive domains. Notable relationships were found for the Self-Sacrifice, Transactional and Value-compromise factors which had significant associations to the dark triad, anxious-avoidant attachment, and identity dysfunction. Overall, this study contributes valuable evidence towards the reliability and validity of the MILI and is a significant step forward in better understanding the darker, less adaptive sides of interpersonal loyalty.

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Exploring cultural responsiveness of e-mental health resources for depressive and anxiety disorders (2021)

Background: Canada’s culturally diverse populations (CDPs) experience difficulties such as language barriers, difficulty navigating the healthcare system, and lack of culturally tailored resources compared to the general population when accessing mental health services. These surmountable barriers may be addressed by e-mental health (eMH) technologies that allow for mental healthcare to be delivered through the Internet and related technologies. However, little attention has been devoted to understanding the cultural responsiveness of these services among CDPs. Objectives: This study investigates the use of eMH among CDPs for anxiety and depressive disorders in an urban area. Our objectives are to (1) explore the experience of eMH services and gauge their cultural responsiveness, (2) examine participants’ digital health literacy, mental health status, and usage of eMH; and (3) develop recommendations based on participants’ experiences to improve eMH services. Methods: Participants (N=136) completed a survey regarding their eMH use, the severity of their depression and anxiety symptoms, and socio-demographic characteristics. Participants (N=14) shared experiences through semi-structured focus group discussions. From this, we developed a set of guidelines based on the experiences and recommendations from participants for future eMH resources. Participants (N=5) were invited to provide feedback through one-on-one interviews. Results: Survey participants’ ages ranged from 19 to 74 years, with 43% within young adult ages of 19 to 24. Of these participants, 65% were women, 22% were men, while 3% identified as Trans Male, Non-Binary, or Other. Most survey participants identified as South Asian (40%) or Chinese (28%). The majority of participants (68%) indicated that the eMH resources they used, overall, were not culturally tailored. However, most participants (65%) agreed that the resource was available in their preferred language. Focus group discussions revealed themes of facilitators and barriers of help-seeking behaviours and sociocultural contexts. eMH recommendations suggested by participants’ responses focused on including culturally tailored content, graphics and phrases, and lived experiences of CDPs while reducing culturally linked stigma. Conclusion: The findings showcase the need for more culturally responsive eMH beyond language translation, while providing healthcare professionals with a greater and nuanced understanding of treatment needs in cultural groups.

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