2006-2016 Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Research (Tier-II)
BSc (University of Toronto), MA, PhD (Boston University)
I oversee a multi-method program of psychological research geared toward answering theory-driven questions about the nature and treatment of social anxiety. My students and I seek to identify and understand individual differences in people’s reactions to social stress within interpersonal contexts. Our research is both informed by and designed to inform clinical models of social anxiety disorder, with an eye toward developing and disseminating more effective psychological interventions. Current research questions include:
- How do socially anxious individuals view and appraise themselves and others? What are the effects of such appraisals on social information processing, emotion regulation, interpersonal behaviour, mental images and memories, and psychotherapeutic process and outcome?
- How should we conceptualize the core psychological problems in social anxiety? How do we account for individual differences in social anxiety symptom expression and treatment response? How can we use our understanding to improve cognitive behavioural therapy interventions for social anxiety disorder?
Much of our work is guided by the theoretical model detailed in the following paper:
- Moscovitch, D.A. (2009). What is the core fear in social phobia? A new model to facilitate individualized case conceptualization and treatment (PDF). Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 16, 123-134.
In 2009, my colleague Dr. Christine Purdon and I founded the Anxiety Studies Division (ASD) at the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR). The ASD consists of University of Waterloo Clinical Psychology faculty members and graduate students whose research is dedicated to investigating the nature and treatment of anxiety and its disorders. The primary function of the ASD is to develop and maintain a pool of valued members from the surrounding community with and without anxiety problems who are willing to participate in our research studies. For more information about the ASD and its faculty and students, please visit the ASD website.
The ASD research model is detailed in the following paper:
- Moscovitch, D.A., Saughnessy, K., Waechter, S., Xu, M., Collaton, J., Nelson, A.L., Barber, K.C., Taylor, J., Chiang, B., & Purdon, (2015). A model for recruiting clinical research participants with anxiety disorders in the absence of service provision (PDF). Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 203, 943-957.
My lab is typically comprised of several students in our clinical psychology graduate training program, one or two undergraduate honours thesis students, a number of research assistants and volunteers and, occasionally, a postdoctoral fellow. Lab research has been generously funded by the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the National Medical Research Council of Australia, the Templeton Foundation, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Ontario Research Fund. The physical space of the lab is generous and includes an array of specialized facilities, resources, and work spaces that can be accessed by trainees engaged in research at all levels. Students are supported in their acquisition of fundamental knowledge and technical skills within a stimulating and collaborative learning environment.
At the undergraduate level, I teach Psychopathology (Psych 257), which provides an introductory overview to the field of abnormal psychology. At the graduate level, I have most recently taught Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Psych 725) and Ethics, Diversity, and Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology (Psych 719).
I am actively involved in the clinical supervision and training of graduate students in Clinical Psychology within our Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR). In my current role as the Executive Director of the CMHR, I work in close collaboration with my Clinical Area faculty colleagues and our CMHR Director, Dr. Marjory Phillips, to develop and implement our vision for its development and growth.
I am a registered clinical psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and maintain a small private practice. My specialization is in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and I am certified as such by The Canadian Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapies.