Trying to be perfect could be ruining your health: It can trigger heart disease, IBS and insomnia

It’s estimated that two in five of us display perfectionist tendencies. And thanks to social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, increasing numbers are concerned about being – or appearing to be – perfect, said York University psychology Professor Gordon Flett in the Daily Mail April 15. “It’s natural to want to be a perfectionist in one area of your life, such as your job,” he said. “But when it becomes an obsessive need for the perfect job, child, relationship, bank balance and body, it causes extreme stress and can affect not only relationships, but your health.” Read full story.

Psychology students awarded for academic excellence

Pyschology Award Winners

Psychology Award winners

The best and the brightest of undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, were honoured for academic excellence at the 2014 Psychology Awards.

Students were recognized for their achievements, including for outstanding papers and honours theses, highest GPAs and more.

“This entire event is so fabulous. We have exceptional students, and it’s so fantastic to see them here with all their support systems – friends, families, mentors and peers. This is my favourite day of the year,” said Professor Suzanne MacDonald, chair of the Department of Psychology.

The following is the list of awards and winners:

Award Winners

  • Second-year book prize – BA – Andrew Hunter, BSc – Shaheem Abid
  • Third-year book prize – BA – Christina Ransom, BSc – Omri Arbiv
  • Fourth-year book prize – BA – Josh Lipszyc, BSc – Jennifer Redwood

Koenig Undergraduate Psychology Award

  • Omri Arbiv, Robert Caratun

W.B. Templeton Honours Thesis Award

  • Sarah Zohar, under the direction of supervisor Jennifer Steeves, for her honours thesis: Happy faces on the left are right: Emotional cue salience using chimeric faces.

Ivana Guglietti-Kelly Award

  • Alexandria West, under the direction of supervisor Doug McCann for Who am I, what do I speak, and how do I think? Relationships between bicultural identity, bilingualism and cognition.

Ivana Guglietti-Kelly Prize

  • Jasmine Khattra, under the direction of supervisor Lynn Angus for Client Perspectives on Corrective Experiences in Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy and Motivational Interviewing for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Pilot Study.

Honours Thesis Poster Prize

  • Leah Breslow, under the direction of supervisor Joel Goldberg for Stigma of mental illness and peer and parent relationships among Jewish high school youth.
  • Jennifer Redwood, under the direction of supervisor Joe Baker for Positional differences in the mortality risk of elite rugby players.

Richard Goranson Memorial Research Award

  • Artem Assoiants – supervisor, Chris Bell
  • Robert Caratun – supervisor, Jessica Fraser Thomas
  • Susanna Kim – supervisor, Alex Rutherford
  • Katherine McDonald – supervisor, Joseph DeSouza
  • Sonja Zdjelaric – supervisor, Jim Bebko

CPA Certificate of Excellence

Masters Level:

  • Adrian Bartlett – supervisor, Kari Hoffman
  • Robert Chalmers – supervisor, David Flora
  • Stephania Moro – supervisor, Jennifer Steeves

Doctorate Level:

  • Heidi Marsh – supervisor, Suzanne MacDonald
  • Sara Ahola Kohut – supervisor, Rebecca Pillai-Riddell
  • Kyle Nash – supervisor, Ian McGregor

Susan Mann Dissertation Scholarship

  • Kaley Roosen, nominated by Jennifer Mills for Women with Physical Disabilities and Disordered Eating: A Mixed Methods Approach.
  • Evelina Lou, nominated by Richard Lalonde for Minority Stereotypes, Identity and Well-being among Chinese Canadians.

Norman Endler Award

  • Jeremy Burman – supervisor, Chris Green

Thesis/Dissertation Award

  • Heidi Marsh – supervisor, Suzanne MacDonald for Apes in the Information Age: An Investigation of Information Management by Orangutans (Pongo ableii)

Graham Reed Bursary

  • Joshua Smith – supervisor, Anne Russon

Monica Reena Goyal Memorial Bursary

  • Khuraman Mamedova – supervisor, Jill Rich

Michael Friendly Award for Quantitative Methodology Research

  • Alyssa Counsell, nominated by Robert Cribbie

Marian Regan Memorial Prize

  • Kevin DeSimone – supervisor, Keith Schneider for Resolving the projections of an occluded stimulus on the human cortical surface
  • Stafania Moro – supervisor, Jennifer Steeves for Audiovisual processing in people with one eye.

Council of Canadian Departments of Psychology – Teaching Assistantship Awards (CCDP)

  • Ashley Morgan
  • Natalie Michel
  • Erin Cooper
  • Maria Fuda
  • Ashley Malin
  • Hien Nguyen
  • Lauren Joly
  • Irina Kapler
  • Carrie Smith
  • Debi Stransky
  • Leah Keating
  • Alyssa Counsell
  • Ameeta Dudani
  • Christina Weston
  • Susan Sergeant

E. Lynn Kirshner Memorial Scholarship (not awarded for this year)

Honours Thesis Poster Day: Showcasing Undergraduate Psychology Research

Psychology Undergraduate Poster Day 2014 York U

The research on display by undergraduate students in York’s Department of Psychology at the annual Honours Thesis Poster Day explored everything from perceptions of transsexual archetypes, to the longevity of elite soccer players, to a poster titled the “Interdimensional lizard people control the world: Schizotypy and the supernatural conspiracy mentality”.

More than 80 fourth-year Psychology students in the Faculty of Health presented the findings of their work, the culmination of a year of thesis research with a faculty mentor, in the Vari Hall Rotunda April 7th.

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity for undergraduates to work with mentors and conduct research, and attempt to explain that research outside of the classroom as well by learning how academic conferences work. For many who are going onto graduate studies, this is an invaluable benefit, a peek into what academia is like,” says organizer and Associate Professor of Psychology, Jill Rich.

Two research posters that caught the attention of a panel of graduate student judges to win the top awards were: “Activism from within: Feminist psychologists challenge the ethics of therapist-client sexual relations in the 1970s” by Susanna Kim, tied in first place with “Painter’s Decline: Toward the use of art as a screening tool for Alzheimer’s disease” by Katherine Matthews.

Psychology Undergraduate Poster Day 2014 York U - Winners

Psychology Undergraduate Poster Day 2014 Winners.
Left to right: Katherine Matthews and Susanna Kim.

Details of the various studies, including the two winning ones, were summarized and displayed on posters in the style typical of professional Psychology conferences. Visitors had an opportunity to view the posters and to ask questions of the student researchers.

Psychology Undergraduate Poster Day 2014 York U

To view photos from the day, click here for the Faculty of Health’s Flickr page

Children with developmental disabilities facing isolation and mental health issues, study finds

The results of a York-led research project looking at children with developmental disabilities has found more than half of the children also had motor impairments, one-third had no friends at school, half had no friends outside of school and 44 per cent  were reported to have additional challenges, including anxiety and depression.

The Great Outcomes for Kids Impacted by Severe Developmental Disabilities (GO4KIDDS) research project also showed that the stress of raising children with developmental disabilities was taking a toll on the parents with 41 per cent reporting mental health problems and nearly half reporting poor health.

Adrienne Perry

Adrienne Perry

Some of the results of the research were shared March 18at the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Health hosted celebration and wrap-up of the research phase of the GO4KIDDS research project, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The project was initiated by a group of researchers and clinicians who saw the need to provide a better understanding about the health, well-being and social inclusion of school-aged children with severe developmental disabilities (DD) and the experiences of their families.

Together, the team of researchers and clinicians represented different sectors and disciplines, as well as a broad range of institutions and centres – four Universities (York, Queen’s, Brock and Western), two hospitals (Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario), as well as  community treatment programs (e.g. Surrey Place Centre) and private practices (e.g. Four Points).

Principal investigator and psychology Professor Adrienne Perry opened the day with the caveat that although the research has been completed, the hard work is far from done. As this project involves different sectors and disciplines, it is important to mobilize the knowledge now and put it to practical use to help those whom they studied.

“The process of putting together the team who’ve been involved was very stimulating and rewarding. The data about health, well-being and social inclusion in regards to children with developmental disabilities and autism forms an important body of work that didn’t exist before today in Canada,” said Perry. “We’re grateful for the funding from CIHR because the findings have important implications. Now our job is to get it out to policy-makers and families in order to make the knowledge useful. The title of the study is Great Outcomes, but some of our findings are not so great – but this is important for people to know, too.”

Jonathan Weiss

Jonathan Weiss

The project consisted of two objectives: a nationwide “report card” asking parents about their children’s skills and behaviors, physical health, mental health and behavior problems, social participation and well-being, and three focused studies. The co-principal investigators included York psychology Professors James Bebko and Jonathan Weiss, and Queen’s University psychology Professor Patricia Minnes, and team leads Barry Isaacs, director of research and evaluation at Surrey Place Centre, and Professor Rosemary Condillac of Brock University. Together they took on varying roles in carrying out the Family Quality of Life Study, the Social Inclusion Study and the Health Care and Service Utilization Study that comprised the second objective of the GO4KIDDS Project.

Along with the co-investigators, there were co-applicants from other universities and organizations, project coordinators, research coordinators, coders and graduate students hired on to help over the span of the project. This undertaking managed to recruit 800 different families for its database, create 31 posters for local and international conferences, present at six conferences, spur five master’s and bachelor’s thesis projects (so far) and distribute $193,714 to 24 graduate students. Read More »