Research Team


Director

Dr. Melanie Dirks
melanie.dirks@mcgill.ca

Office Phone: (514) 398-3856
Lab Phone: (514) 398-3725

CV

Research

Teaching

Graduate Students
Alison Farrell-Reeves

I am currently a 4th year PhD student in McGill's Clinical Psychology program. My research focuses broadly on how children and adolescents' social behaviours are associated with measures of adjustment. To study this, I use daily-diary assessments of children's experiences of prosocial behaviour and victimization with their peers. I am interested in which day-to-day experiences relate to measures of daily well-being, such as mood.

Publications & Presentations
  • Punturieri, C., Ethridge, P., Farrell-Reeves, A., Dirks, M. A., Weinberg, A. (2019, September). Neural responses to peer acceptance moderate associations between peer-nominated peer victimization and depressive symptoms in early adolescence. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Washington, DC.
  • Yang, J. Y., MacDonald, K., Farrell-Reeves, A., Gibson, C. E., & Dirks, M. (2019, May). Attributions about peers' prosocial behavior: Associations with victimization and internalizing problems. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Psychological Science, Washington, District of Columbia.
  • Farrell-Reeves, A., Dirks, M., MacDonald, K., Dunfield, K., Gibson, C. E., & Yang, J. Y. (2019, March). Links between daily prosocial overtures and mood in early adolescents. Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Dirks, M., MacDonald, K., Farrell-Reeves, A., Ungvary, S., Gibson, C. E., Yang, J. Y., & Reardanz, J. (2019, March). Adolescents' everyday experiences of provoking and prosocial events: Links to peer-nominated victimization and daily mood. In K. Modecki (Chair), Ambulatory assessment of adolescents' externalizing, capturing teen risks in-situ. Symposium presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Seo, S., MacDonald, K., Farrell-Reeves, A., Ungvary, S., Reardanz, J., & Dirks, M. (2019, March). Who is picking on me? Relationship with provocateurs moderates the association between victimization and depression. Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Farrell-Reeves, A., Dirks, M., MacDonald, K., Dunfield, K., Gibson, C. E., & Yang, J. Y. (2019, February). Links between daily prosocial overtures and mood in early adolescents. Poster presented at the Centre for Research in Human Development Conference, Montreal, Quebec.
  • Farrell-Reeves, A., & Dirks, M. (2018, June). Bidirectional associations between peer victimization and adolescents' self-reported responses to peer provocation. Poster presented at the 29th Meeting of the International Congress of Applied Psychology, Montreal, Quebec.
  • Dirks, M., McDonald, K., Gibson, C., Farrell-Reeves, A., & Dunfield, K. (2018, April). Prosocial overtures from peers and emotional well-being during early adolescence: A daily-diary study. In M. Dirks (Chair), Acting prosocially and being treated prosocially by others: Links to social and emotional well-being during adolescence. Symposium presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Hudec, K. L., Farrell-Reeves, A., Salh, D., & Mikami, A. Y. (2016, May). Parenting intervention for peer relationships affects self-perception of competence in children with ADHD. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Psychological Science, Chicago, IL.
  • Farrell-Reeves, A., & Mikami, A. Y. (2015, October). Understanding Inflated Self-Perceptions in Children with ADHD. Poster presented at the ADHD Research Day of the 11th Annual Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance, Vancouver, BC.
  • Farrell-Reeves, A. (2015, March). Understanding Inflated Self-Perceptions in Children with ADHD. Talk presented at the 17thAnnual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
  • Farrell-Reeves, A., & Johnston, C. (2014, March). The Relationship Between Children's Culture and Attributions in Peer-Related Situations. Poster presented at the 16th Annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Thomas Khullar

I am a third year PhD student in the clinical psychology program at McGill. Broadly speaking, my research revolves around the development of social behaviors during emerging adulthood (ages 18-25). More specifically, I am interested in how concrete, observable social behaviors affect and are affected by psychopathology. One of my research projects focuses on observing specific social support behaviors in the friendships of university students, and disentangling which types of support are truly helpful in reducing the long-term negative effects of stressors. I am also interested in finding out what differentiates friends who give helpful support and friends whose support is less helpful.

Another project investigates emerging adults motives for engaging in relationship-damaging behaviors (e.g., ending a friendship, or distancing oneself from friends) in the face of challenging interpersonal situations with same-gender friends.

Publications & Presentations
  • Khullar, T., Kirmayer, M., & Dirks, M. (In prep). In what situations do emerging adults report ending or altering their friendships?
  • Khullar, T.H., Mignault, M.C., Gagné, F.M., Lydon, J.E., & Montreal Prematurity Study Group (In prep). Healthy mother, healthy baby? The role of maternal prenatal felt security in the transmission of poor health to infant.
  • Khullar, T., Kirmayer, M., & Dirks, M. (2017). "I'd Stop Telling her about my Relationships": In What Situations Do Emerging Adults Report Ending or Altering their Friendships? Poster submitted to the 2018 Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting, April 12-14, 2018, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
  • Khullar, T.H., Mignault, M.C., Gagné, F.M., Lydon, J.E., & Montreal Prematurity Study Group (2017). The Protective role of Maternal Prenatal Felt Security in the Transmission of Poor Maternal Health to the Infant. Poster submitted to the 2018 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention, March 1-3, 2018, Atlanta, GA, USA.
  • Kachanoff, F. J., Kteily, N., Khullar, T. H., Park, H.J., Taylor, D.M. (In prep). Determining our destiny: Threats to collective autonomy fuel low-power group members' desire for power.
  • Kachanoff, F. J., Taylor, D.M., Caouette, J., Khullar, T. H., Wohl, M. J. A. (2018). The chains on all my people are the chains on me: Restrictions to collective autonomy undermine the personal autonomy and psychological well-being of group members. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000177
  • Khullar, T., Auger, E., & Lydon, J. (2016). Relationship Identity and Couple Identity: Similarities and Differences. Presented at the 2016 International Association for Relationship Research Conference, July 20th to July 24th, 2016, Toronto, ON, Canada.
  • Khullar, T. H., Kachanoff, F. J., Park, H. J., & Taylor, D. M. (2014). When Power Matters: The Role of Collective Autonomy in Intergroup Relations. Poster presented at the 10th Annual Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Event at McGill University (1st prize, "Learning and Social Sciences" category), October 2014, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Nicole Dryburgh

I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Clinical Psychology program, completing my doctoral research under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Dirks and Dr. Mark Baldwin. My doctoral research focuses on friendships in youth and emerging adulthood, and specifically, the experience of violence within friendships. I am examining the types of violence that occur in friendships and how this compares to violence in other close relationships (e.g., romantic relationships), with the goal of beginning to elucidate the causes and consequences of these experiences. In addition to this work, I am completing a meta-analysis of relations between friendship quality and interpersonal behaviour in youth, and am leading a project on teen dating violence. I have also contributed to various projects on individual differences in the experience of aggression and sexual violence.

Publications & Presentations
  • Dryburgh, N. S. J. (2019). Enhance your self-esteem with CBT. Talk to be given as part of the Dr. Michael Speck Lecture Series, Emotional Health Cognitive Behavior Therapy Clinic, Montreal, QC.
  • Dryburgh, N. S. J. & Vachon, D. D. (2019). Relating sex differences in aggression to three forms of empathy. Personality and Individual Differences, 151.
  • Dryburgh, N. S. J., Martin-Storey, A., & Dirks, M. A. (2019). Examining Toxic Relationships in Emerging Adulthood. Poster presented at the 10th annual Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network Conference, Toronto, ON.
  • Dryburgh, N. S. J. (2019). Feel at ease with others by learning to cope with social anxiety. Talk given as part of the Dr. Michael Speck Lecture Series, Emotional Health Cognitive Behavior Therapy Clinic, Montreal, QC.
  • Vachon, D. D., Lynam, D. R., Schell, S. E., Dryburgh, N. S. J., & Costa, P. T. (2018). Teenagers as temporary psychopaths? Stability in normal adolescent personality suggests otherwise. Personality and Individual Differences, 131, 117-120.
  • Dryburgh, N. S. J., Schell, S. E., Vachon, D. D. (2018). Opposite Sides of the Coin? The Relation of Prosocial and Antisocial Behaviours to Various Forms of Empathy Poster session presented at the 29th International Congress of Applied Psychology, Montreal, QC.
  • Schell, S. E., Dryburgh, N. S. J., & Vachon, D. D. (2018). Sexual narcissism and campus sexual aggression: Three key attitudes. Poster session presented at the 29th International Congress of Applied Psychology, Montreal, QC.
  • Schell, S. E., Dryburgh, N. S. J., Vachon, D. D. (2017). Capturing Sexually Aggressive Attitudes and Behaviours. Poster session presented at the 78th annual Canadian Psychological Association Conference, Toronto, ON.
  • Dryburgh, N. S. J., Vachon, D. D., Schell, S. E. (2017). Explaining sex differences in aggression using empathy. Poster session presented at the 78th annual Canadian Psychological Association Conference, Toronto, ON.
  • Armstrong, J. B., Dryburgh, N. S. J., & Olson, J. M. (2014). Relatively Fair: Target Status, SDO, and Fairness. Poster session presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference, Austin, TX.
  • Dryburgh, N. (2014). Oxytocin as a Moderator of Attachment Orientation and Forgiveness. Western Undergraduate Psychology Journal, 2, 14-28.
  • Armstrong, J. B., Dryburgh, N. S. J., & Olson, J. M. (2014). Fair Enough: Target Status, SDO, and Fairness. Poster session presented at the Association for Psychological Science Conference, San Francisco, CA.
  • Dryburgh, N. S. J. Armstrong, J. B., & Olson, J. M. (2014). The Relation of Social Dominance Orientation to Moral Decision-Making Using a Process Dissociation Approach. Poster session presented at the Ontario Undergraduate Thesis Conference, Kingston, ON.
  • Dryburgh, N. S. J., Armstrong, J. B., & Olson, J. M. (2014). The Relation of Social Dominance Orientation to Moral Decision-Making Using a Process Dissociation Approach. Poster session presented at the University of Western Ontario Undergraduate Research Day, London, ON.

Allison MacNeil

I am a second year doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program at McGill. I am co-supervised by Dr. Dirks in the CASC Lab and Dr. Frank Elgar with the Social Inequalities in Child Health Research Group. My research interests centre around social inequalities and determinants of health, specifically how the experience of food insecurity impacts adolescents' mental health. My interest in this area stems from several years of working with at-risk youth and their families in community-based programs, as well my undergraduate studies in interdisciplinary health sciences. I hope to employ a wide range of research methods, including epidemiological analysis of large international data sets as well as community-level studies. I also care very deeply about mobilizing research findings into actionable policies to effect change.

Publications & Presentations
  • Meredith, M., MacNeil, AH., Trasler, J. & Baltz, J. (2016) Growing Mouse Oocytes Transiently Activate Folate Transport via Folate Receptors As They Approach Full Size, Biology of Reproduction, 94 (6) 125, 1-12
  • MacNeil, AH., Morrison, L., Loohuis, H., Tran, J., Levasseur, M.A., Joober, R., Malla, A., Iyer, S.N. (2017, September) “Yes, I accept the terms and conditions” – consent forms youth will actually read. Abstract accepted for Oral Presentation at the HCALM International Conference, Montréal, Canada
  • MacNeil, AH., Malla, A. Iyer, S.N. (2017, October). Engaging multiple stakeholders in qualitative research design through e-methods. Abstract accepted for Oral Presentation at the Twenty-Third Annual Qualitative Health Research Conference, Quebec City, Canada

Erin Macdonald

I am a first year student in the clinical PhD program at McGill. My current research is broadly interested in whether the ability to accurately express and recognize emotions is a significant predictor of friendship quality and other facets of well-being. I am currently working on a project measuring the ability to accurately express emotions across three age groups, and assessing whether the relationship between emotional expressive accuracy and friendship quality changes becomes stronger in the later stages of development. In completing my masters research at Carleton University, I was interested the way that homeless and street-involved youth share information about substance use with one another, as well as the factors involved in evaluating peer-provided information on drug use. I used community based interviewing and mixed methods to complete this research, and was provided with the opportunity to engage in numerous knowledge translation activities throughout my research. I have a continuing interest in working with the community through research in order to mobilize research knowledge into community action.

Publications & Presentations
  • Macdonald, E. P., Sommerville, J. & Howard, A. L. (2020). Who Would You Take Advice From? Peer Credibility and Substance Use Decision Making in Low and High Risk Youth. Poster submitted to the 2020 Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting, March 19 - 21, 2020, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Howard, A. L., Kennedy, T. M., Macdonald, E. P., Mitchell, J. T., Sibley, M. H., Roy, A., Arnold, L. E., Epstein, J. N., Hinshaw, S. P., Hoza, B., Stehli, A., Swanson, J. M., & Molina, B. S. G. (2019). Depression and ADHD-related risk for substance use in adolescence and early adulthood: Concurrent and prospective associations in the MTA. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. doi: 10.1007/s10802-019-00573-y
  • Macdonald, E. P. & Howard, A. L. (2019, June). Peer Information and Substance Use Decision Making in Street-Involved Youth. Poster Presentation, College of Problems on Drug Dependence 81st Annual Scientific Meeting. San Antonio, TX.
  • Howard, A. L., Macdonald, E. P., Mitchell, J. T., Kennedy, T. M., Swanson, J. M., Sibley, M. H., Roy, A., Arnold, L. E., Hoza, B., & Molina, B. S. G. (2018, October). Adolescent depression: Concurrent and prospective associations with substance use risk in adolescence and young adulthood in the MTA. In L. Hechtman (Chair), Adult findings in the Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD (MTA): Follow-up: Medication and physical maturation, ICD-10 and comorbidity, substance use and depression, and car crashes. 65th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Seattle, WA.
  • Macdonald, E. P. (2017, June). You Should Really Eat Something: A Qualitative Analysis of Skinny Shaming in Women. Gimme-5 Presentation, Canadian Psychological Association Conference, Toronto, ON

Undergraduate Honours Students
Katya Santucci

I am a third year psychology undergraduate pursuing my Honours research project in the CASC lab. I am looking forward to working alongside graduate student Thomas Khullar and to be investigating emerging adults' (ages 18-25) interpretations and responses to hypothetical challenges occurring in their same-gender friendships. After completion of my bachelor's degree, I hope to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology and to further explore the fields of cognition and developmental psychology.

Sydney Turk

I am a U3 Honours Psychology student in the Faculty of Arts. I am currently working on my second research project alongside graduate student Nicole Dryburgh. We are investigating teen friendship and dating violence throughout Quebec with the hopes of using our results to inform interventions that promote healthy relationships. In the future, I hope to attain a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and work as a speech pathologist with children who have a variety of communication disorders.

Meagan Forest-Dionne

Hi! I am a U3 Honours Psychology student doing a research project on interpersonal synchrony in friendship dyads across two developmental periods, namely late childhood and adolescence. I am mainly interested in the topics of interpersonal relationships, neuroscience and psychopathology. In the next years, I wish to pursue my studies in Clinical Psychology, and later to work alongside the psychiatric and/or child population.

Julia Aboud

I am a fourth-year psychology undergraduate student working on a research project under the supervision of Dr Dirks, investigating the relationship between empathic accuracy and friendship quality in pre-adolescents and adolescents. My other interests include psychopathology and forensic psychology. Once I graduate, I hope to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. .

Research Coordinators
Mel Commisso

I am a first year M.A. student in counselling psychology (research stream). I joined the CASC lab as a coordinator after completing my bachelor degree in May 2018. I mainly do admin work for the lab and assist the graduate students with thier projects. Additionally, I am the project coordinator for the affective competence study.

Collaborators
  Steven R. Asher
Michael H. Boyle
Stacy L. Frazier
Teresa Treat
V. Robin Weersing
Eric Nelson
Pamela Qualter
William Bukowski
Debra Pepler
Wendy Craig
Frank Elgar
PhD Alumni
  Dr. Miriam Kirmayer
Dr. Laura Cuttini
Dr. Michele Morningstar
Alumni
  Nathalie Cook
Charlotte Ebsary
Irene Giannis
Stephanie Rajabi
Christina Robillard
Serena Celeste Romanelli
Maria Alcaraz
Angela Brett
Jessica Burdo
Thyna Catamaran
Jessica Cohen
Melissa Vitagliano
Laura Bellhouse
Leandra Desjardins
Alyssa Wiseman
Julia Boggia
Jade Brochu-Pelletier
Todd Chan
Shiming Huang
Joshua Jackson
Addison Mott
Erinn Acland
Kimberly Dossett
Saskia Ferrar
Katrina Kairys
Verity Ly
Nick Ostapchuk
Lizzy Shum
Shannen Ciricillo
Melanie Levy
Lara Feldman
Jean-Philippe Gagné
Olivia Petric









Thank you to all of the families and schools who have helped make our research a success. We thank the following agencies for their generous support.