I am primarily interested in research on the joint contributions of personality and culture to human health and functioning, with an emphasis on emotional psychopathology.
Originally from southern Ontario, I received my B.Sc. in psychology from the University of Toronto and my M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver). I also completed a predoctoral clinical internship at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx before starting at Concordia University in Montréal in 2005. Although trained in clinical psychology, the majority of my research mentors have been social or personality psychologists: Ken Dion and Mike Bagby in Toronto; Steven Heine and Del Paulhus in Vancouver. Dr. Heine supervised my dissertation, taking a cultural psychology approach to the study of somatic and psychological symptoms of depression in Han Chinese and Euro-Canadian clinical outpatients.
Perhaps as a result of this dual training, the overall goal of my research is to integrate the cultural psychology perspective that has emerged in recent years with clinical questions. Within this emerging cultural-clinical psychology, I take the view that ‘culture’ should be understood both as a distributed system of meanings that shape psychopathological symptoms, and as practices in the world that make up the context in which these symptoms are expressed. Just as symptoms cannot be understood without reference to brains and genes, so too they cannot be understood without reference to cultural contexts.
Ongoing research includes studies of personality and depression in Han Chinese, South Korean, and Euro-Canadian outpatient samples, as well as Chinese-Canadian and Korean-Canadian community samples. Recent work has expanded data collection to both urban and rural settings in China and South Korea. I am also conducting studies on acculturation and adaptation of migrants to complex multicultural contexts, especially the bilingual context of Montreal. A third line of research examines depressive personality in ‘Western’ cultural contexts, both as a potential DSM diagnosis and as a specific pattern of problems identifiable in the Five-Factor Model of Personality.
Since 2005, I have directed the Culture, Health, and Personality Lab in the Department of Psychology at Concordia University, where I also serve as Director of Clinical Training. I am also a founding member of Concordia’s Centre for Clinical Research in Health. In addition, I hold an adjunct appointment in the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit and the Cultural Consultation Service at the Jewish General Hospital, also in Montréal. I am a recipient of the President’s New Researcher Award from the Canadian Psychological Association and the Early Career Award from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology.