Relevant Degree Programs
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Requirements" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Solitude (the absence of social interaction, whether in-person or electronic) is a ubiquitous yet understudied experience, often confused with loneliness, but sometimes sought out in daily life. This research program aimed to better understand the negative and positive aspects of solitude, drawing on data from three samples: 50 university students in Vancouver, 100 community-dwelling adults aged 50+ in Vancouver (including 51% East Asian immigrants), and 56 community-dwelling adults aged 50+ in Hong Kong. Participants completed approximately 30 repeated daily life assessments over 10 days on their current thoughts, affect, location, activities, social situation, and desire for solitude. Study 1 used latent profile analysis to identify distinct types of solitude experiences from the everyday thought-affect patterns of younger and middle-aged/older adults in Vancouver, and examined for whom and under what circumstances solitude may have positive or negative connotations. Two distinct types of solitude experiences were identified. Overall desire for solitude and social self-efficacy were associated with positive solitude experiences, and self-rumination and self-reflection with negative solitude experiences. Study 2 specifically examined solitude desire and its location and affective correlates among middle-aged and older adults living in Vancouver. At most occasions, solitude happened by individuals’ own choosing. Older adults were more likely to go to locations that matched their desired social context, and solitude-seeking had less negative affective associations for them as compared to middle-aged adults. East/Southeast Asian participants reported more loneliness than European/North American participants. Study 3 combined two data sets, from Vancouver and Hong Kong, to disentangle the roles of culture, immigration, and acculturation on solitude-loneliness associations among adults aged 50+. Participants high in acculturation to the local (host) culture or who desired solitude at that moment showed no association between being in solitude and feeling lonely. Taken together, these studies show that solitude and loneliness are distinct constructs with different predictors, correlates, and consequences. This research identified key individual difference, life phase, and social contextual factors associated with seeking solitude and thriving during solitude.
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Spousal support within marriage may be particularly important in old age when spouses become more likely to rely on each other’s help. However, spousal support does not have to be unanimously positive. In fact, very little is known about co-variations in spousal affect and aches as couples engage in their daily routines and environments. Up to 27 simultaneous, momentary assessments from 49 older adult married couples (M age = 72 years (60-83); M relationship duration = 42 years) were used taking into account the perspective of both partners. This research shows that social support within marriage was associated with reduced overall levels of negative affect but unrelated to positive affect. Interestingly, high spousal support was both associated with reduced overall negative affect means but also with an increased co-variation in negative affect between partners. No similar co-variations were observed for aches and positive affect. Spousal support may be a double-edged sword; it is associated with reduced overall negative affect, but it may also lead to more permeable boundaries between spouses that seem to be specific to negative affect.
Objective: Marriage partners exert a special influence on each other’s health and wellbeing, potentially even more so in old age, when social networks shrink and spouses become ever more important resources for dealing with everyday problems. This study complements and extends past research by examining associations between older spouses’ levels of neuroticism, a key trait tied to wellbeing and health, and everyday fluctuations in affect quality, physical symptoms, and responses to everyday problems. Methods: Forty-nine wives and 49 husbands aged 60-83 years (M marriage duration = 42.5 years) first provided independent neuroticism self-report ratings. Spouses then completed up to 27 repeated daily life assessments (time-sampling), during which they simultaneously reported their affect quality, physical health symptoms, and everyday problems 3 times daily for 9 consecutive days on handheld computers. Results: Hierarchical linear modelling results replicate past work by showing negative associations between individual neuroticism and overall affect quality and physical symptoms. Interestingly, spousal neuroticism, in contrast, was positively associated with affect quality and physical symptoms, but only when problems were present. Specifically, having a spouse higher in neuroticism was associated with more favorable problem-affect quality associations and problem-physical symptom associations, even when controlling for marital satisfaction, age, gender, and level of conscientiousness.Conclusions: Findings are discussed in the context of the evolutionary psychology literature and may suggest that spousal neuroticism can serve adaptive functions by increasing vigilance and preparing older couples to deal with everyday problems.
Negative emotions may be an outcome of goal progress. Importantly, negative emotions may also serve as guideposts for subsequent goal regulation by flagging which goals to pursue and which goals to let go. The authors examined this hypothesis using 10-day time-sampling information from 186 adults aged 20-81 years. In line with past work, young adults progressed less on their goals and experienced more negative emotions (anger, sadness) than older adults. Importantly, daily sadness and anger seem to serve different regulatory functions. Specifically, daily sadness was associated with subsequent increases in goal contemplation and end-of-study goal disengagement and goal reengagement whereas anger was not. Findings extend previous research by pointing to the adaptive potential of negative emotions for goal regulation across the adult lifespan.