Dr. Megan Ames

Dr. Megan Ames
Assistant Professor

Dr. Megan Ames is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, having joined the department in 2020. Dr. Ames became a Research Fellow with the Centre for Youth & Society in 2021. She works closely with several other Research Fellows of CFYS, including Dr. Brianna Turner, Dr. Paweena Sukhawathanakul, and Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater. 

As a scientist-practitioner, Dr. Ames provides client-centered psychological services to children, adolescents, and their families presenting with a wide range of concerns in addition to her research. Her research is centered on understanding how and why health-related symptoms and behaviours are related to mental health concerns from early adolescence into young adulthood with the goal of indentifying behavioural interventions. Dr. Ames also holds research interests interests related to supporting postsecondary students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

In the summer of 2020 in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, Dr. Ames launched Teens @ Home During COVID-19 along with colleagues from York University. Teens @ Home is a longitudinal survey of teens aged 12-18 at various points during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research team inquires about the youths’ physical and mental health, including rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal ideation, as well as potential contributing factors, including stressors. 

We found increased rates of mental health concerns including depression and anxiety, with estimates much higher than before the pandemic. Stressors that go along with the pandemic, such as family stress and stress due to confinement, contribute to this increase.

—Dr. Megan Ames

Other research conducted by Dr. Ames and Dr. Turner indicates higher rates of self-harm and suicidal ideation during the pandemic.

Dr. Ames and colleague Dr. Carly McMorris from the University of Calgary recently conducted an environmental scan of the websites of all publicly funded post-secondary institutions in Canada looking for support provisions for students with ASD. Out of the 250 institutions included, only 6% listed at least one support specific to students with ASD. The team will be making this list publicly available in the near future with support from the 2021 UVic Pathways to Impact: Mobilizing Knowledge Fund. 

Recent publications

Ames, M.E., Coombs, C.E.M., Duerksen, K.N., Vincent, J., & McMorris, C.A. (2022). Canadian mapping of autism-specific supports for postsecondary students. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 90, 101899. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2021.101899

Merrin, G.J., Leadbeater, B.J., Sturgess, C.M.B., Ames, M.E., & Thompson, K. (2021). Predictors of Early-Onset Cannabis Use in Adolescence and Risks for Substance Use Disorder Symptoms in Young Adulthood. Journal of Drug Issues, 002204262110493. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F00220426211049356

Turner, B.J., Robillard, C.L., Ames, M.E., & Craig, S.G. (2021). Prevalence and Correlates of Suicidal Ideation and Deliberate Self-harm in Canadian Adolescents During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F07067437211036612 

Craig, S.G., Robillard, C.L., Turner, B.J., & Ames, M.E. (2021). Roles of Family Stress, Maltreatment, and Affect Regulation Difficulties on Adolescent Mental Health During COVID-19. Journal of Family Violence. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10896-021-00320-2 

More publications