Skye Barbic

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not actively recruiting graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows, but might consider co-supervision together with another faculty member.

Associate Professor

Research Interests

community integration
health and well-being
Implementation Science
Individual Placement Support
Mental Health and Society
mental health
Occupational therapy
Patient Engagement
Rasch Measurement Theory
Supported Employment

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Research Methodology

Rasch Measurement Theory
Mixed methods

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.

Learning from experiences of peer support at an integrated youth service organization : a qualitative study (2023)

Mental health challenges are the leading cause of disability in youth worldwide. In Canada, mental health challenges affect one in five youth by age 24. When youth activate mental health services, they reduce their likelihood of experiencing problems later in life, yet less than 20% of youth with mental health challenges are accessing these services. This gap is largely attributed to a lack of comprehensive, well-designed health care services to meet the needs of this age group effectively. Canada’s mental health strategy identifies peer support as an essential component of mental health services. However, the majority of peer support research has focused on adult populations. Largely missing from the literature is an understanding of peer support in a youth mental health context. The purpose of this research was to learn from experiences of peer support at an integrated youth services (IYS) organization in British Columbia (BC), Canada. This study utilized interpretive description methodology and a research community partnership model. Data were collected from IYS centers across BC in urban, rural, and Northern settings. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed to examine how peer support is experienced by: youth peer support workers (YPSWs), service providers, and youth recipients of peer support. Findings are presented within each group of participants. A discussion of similarities and differences across groups illustrates key priorities to advance youth peer support in a meaningful way. Four recommendations to guide IYS organizations in strengthening their youth peer support services are provided: 1) Standardize YPSW hiring and onboarding processes across the IYS network; 2) Establish senior peer support roles and regional peer support practice leads; 3) Implement an evidence-based model of supervision for YPSWs; and 4) Increase the availability and accessibility of YPSWs across BC. Strategies to achieve each recommendation are discussed. As the need for mental health services for youth continues to rise, developing and implementing recovery-oriented and evidence-based interventions is crucial. This study aimed to generate new knowledge to optimize and scale peer support at IYS organizations and to guide broader policies for mental health services offered to youth and by youth in BC, and beyond.

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Caring for individuals with concurrent mental health and opioid use disorder : a mixed-methods study with implications for health research, policy and practice (2022)

Background: The co-occurrence of opioid use disorder (OUD) and mental illness is common and may lead to poor negative health and social outcomes, as compared with having either illness alone. The body of evidence pertaining to best practices in person-centred care for those with concurrent OUD and mental illness remains in its infancy. The objective of this project is to generate evidence to guide improvements in the provision of concurrent OUD and mental health care for this population.Methods: This mixed-methods project begins with a rapid review which assesses the current landscape of health-related measurement for this population and provides recommendations for empirical work. For the empirical work, first, data were derived from two longstanding prospective cohort studies of people who use unregulated drugs. The impact of various factors on receipt of concurrent OUD and mental health care from a single provider were examined using generalized estimating equations. Second, guided by an interpretive descriptive methodology, data were collected via semi-structured interviews with physicians and persons with lived experience (PWLE). Findings were derived in a series of iterative steps including thematic analysis, as well as theme interrogation, and reflection on plausible associations or affiliations. Results: This project highlighted key concerns with current health-related measurement practices and identified strategies to improve the quality of and opportunities for health-related measurement among this population. It identified factors which may delay or inhibit receipt of concurrent OUD and mental health care from a single provider including daily non-injection opioid use and experience of a non-fatal overdose. It then drew attention to various concerns with the present quality of care currently being provided to individuals with a concurrent OUD and mental illness. This thesis also identified strategies that may ensure the provision of high quality, evidence-informed care for this population. Conclusion: Amidst North America’s worsening overdose crisis, a coronavirus pandemic, and an era where mental health has been increasingly threatened, findings from this project offer critical insights to help guide future research, policy, and practice decisions in an optimal way to support improvements in outcomes of persons living with concurrent OUD and mental illness.

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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.

Understanding healthcare access experiences of people with mental health and/or substance use-related high use of healthcare (2023)

The full abstract for this thesis is available in the body of the thesis, and will be available when the embargo expires.

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Examining mental health disparities among transgender and/or gender nonconforming young people: a mixed-methods approach (2020)

Introduction: Transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) young people are vulnerable to a range of negative health outcomes (Reisner, Vetters, et al., 2015; Rider et al, 2018). Additionally, our health systems are recognized as contributing to gendered health inequities (Payne, 2009). It is important that we understand the health outcomes and needs of TGNC young people, if we are to ensure delivery of effective integrated youth mental health services to this vulnerable population. Objectives: The study compared rates of mental health distress between TGNC and cisgender youth and sought to understand how TGNC youth experience mental health services. Methods: Adopting an intersectional framework, I used a mixed-methods, sequential explanatory approach. I conducted a secondary analysis of data of youth accessing a network of BC community health centers. I analyzed the difference in rates of mental health distress between TGNC and cisgender youth using a two-sample t-test. Next, I used stratified simple linear regression to test the association of race with TGNC identity and mental health distress. Finally, I conducted interviews with a purposive sample of TGNC young people to understand their experiences using mental health services. Qualitative data were analysed using qualitative description with overtones of constructivist grounded theory. Results: The quantitative sample (n=727) had a mean age of 21 years (SD=2), 48% were non-white, 51% were white and 77% were from Metro Vancouver. Compared to cisgender youth, TGNC youth reported significantly higher levels of mental health distress. TGNC youth were more distressed than cisgender youth across both race strata but non-white TGNC youth were not more distressed than white TGNC youth. From the qualitative sample (n=5), TGNC participants revealed themes of upsetting interactions with health providers, barriers and facilitators to services, and their experiences of the gender binary as a form of tyranny. They provided simple, practical advice on how to better support and affirm TGNC young people accessing care. Conclusions: The findings from this study emphasize the need for increased education and understanding of TGNC concepts and health concerns as well as on promoting intersectoral collaboration of social service organizations beyond simply health care.

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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.

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