Paweena Sukhawathanakul

Paweena  Sukhawathanakul
Assistant Professor
Office: A260

Ph.D. (2016) (University of Victoria) Joined Department in 2021

Area of expertise

Lifespan Health and Development

My research is centered on identifying factors that enhance or undermine the social and emotional development of children and adolescents. Because youth thrive in contexts that affirm their sense of purpose and identity, I am especially interested in understanding how we can best support the synergy between youths’ individual strengths and available opportunities in their environment. In particular, my work examines ways in which we can leverage the power of social responsibility to advance research in prevention science through the implementation of school-based programs. Social responsibility reflects societal norms that underlie attitudes and actions of tolerance, compassion, fairness, and an overall concern for the welfare of others that often results in behaviors that favor the common good. I employ a range of community-based qualitative and quantitative methodologies to investigate how we can foster the development of youth social responsibility through relationships with peers, parents, teachers, and communities across diverse cultural contexts.


  • Positive Youth Development
  • Peer victimization, violence, and injury prevention
  • Community Psychology
  • School-based social emotional learning programs
  • Youth activism and social responsibility
  • Mixed-method designs

Representative publications

da Cunha, J. M., Thomas, K. J., Sukhawathanakul, P., Santo, J. B., & Leadbeater, B. (2021). Socially responsible children: A link between school climate and aggression and victimization. International Journal of Behavioral Development,

Sukhawathanakul, P., Ames, M. E., & Leadbeater, B. J. (2020). The Influence of Emotional Support from Parents, Peers, and Romantic Partners on Changes in Purpose in Life and Mastery in Young Adulthood. Canadian Journal of Family and Youth/Le Journal Canadien de Famille et de la Jeunesse, 12(3), 1-22.

Sukhawathanakul, P., & Leadbeater, B. (2020). Trajectories of peer victimization in elementary school children: Associations with changes in internalizing, externalizing, social competence, and school climate. Journal of Community Psychology, 48(6), 1751-1769.

Sukhawathanakul, P., Thompson, K., Brubacher, J., & Leadbeater, B. (2019). Marijuana trajectories and associations with driving risk behaviors in Canadian youth. Traffic Injury Prevention, 20(5), 472-477.

Holfeld, B. & Sukhawathanakul, P. (2017). Understanding the associations between internet dependency, cyber victimization and internalizing symptoms among adolescents. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 20(2), 91-96.

Leadbeater, B. J., Thompson, K., & Sukhawathanakul, P. (2016). Enhancing social responsibility and prosocial leadership to prevent aggression, peer victimization, and emotional problems in elementary school children. American Journal of Community Psychology, 58(3-4), 365-376.