HEATHER PRIME, PHD, C. PSYCH.
Department of Psychology, York University
Given that the majority of mental health difficulties have their origins in childhood, it is critical to support developmental health from early on. Our research program uses a family-based approach to understanding mental health and development in children and youth. We emphasize the importance of family relationships as a key mechanism through which risk and/or resilience is transmitted in families. We consider contextual factors that influence children and their families, such as socioeconomic disadvantage, early adverse experiences, and pandemic-related stress. The overarching goal of our research program is to provide evidence to inform public health policy and clinical practice aimed at supporting vulnerable children and their families.
We use multiple, complementary methodological designs, such as longitudinal, within-family (sibling), and RCT designs, to address complex questions related to human development. We study individual differences in children and families, including predictors and consequences, as well as evidence-based interventions to support child and family well-being. We implement real-time observations of family interactions to support our understanding of naturalistic processes in families.
Dr. Prime joined the Department of Psychology at York University in 2020, following a CIHR-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University. She is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and she is a practicing clinical psychologist in the Greater Toronto Area, with expertise in working with the family unit to support children’s mental health and well-being. As a clinical psychologist, she is committed to using her clinical training to guide her research, and she emphasizes clinical utility in her research endeavours.