Jenna Dawson

Ph.D. Candidate, Clinical Psychology

Photo of Jenna Dawson
Jenna completed her B.A. in Honours Psychology at the University of Waterloo in 2011 and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo in 2013. She is currently enrolled in the Ph.D., Clinical Psychology program and her research is supervised by Dr. Uzma Rehman. Jenna's internship is at the Waterloo Region Psychology Consortium.  

Jenna’s research focuses on aging couples and changes in executive functioning. Specifically, Jenna is interested in understanding how decreases in executive functioning (such as one’s ability to change an approach to a task, control our impulses, and mentally problem solve) impacts marital satisfaction and other relationship processes.

For Jenna's dissertation research, she is investigating the role of executive functioning in relationship attributions. That is, how difference in executive functioning impacts how one construes the meaning of negative relationship events. In particular, she is interested in examining how age-related declines in executive functioning skills are associated with how individuals construe responsibility for negative relationship events. Jenna is also extending this research to a clinical sample, investigating the association between EF skills and relationship attributions in spousal caregivers of dementia patients. The goal of this research is to better understand the factors associated with differential outcomes for caregivers in an effort to help identify who might be at greatest risk for experiencing negative outcomes. Jenna’s research is funded by the SSHRC.

Jenna's clinical interests lie in working with children and adolescents with various mental health concerns, including: mood, anxiety, sleep difficulties, identity, self-esteem, and body image. Her treatment approach is primarily cognitive-behavioural in nature, although she draws on various approaches as needed (particularly dialectical behavioural skills training, interpersonal, and mindfulness interventions). Jenna is certified in the FRIENDS for Life and Adult Resiliency program and will be facilitating the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) in the Fall 2018.

Outside of school Jenna enjoys spending time with her family, especially outdoors. She also enjoys leisure reading and yoga.

Jenna's Recent Publications and Presentations


Dawson, J., Rehman, U. S., McAuley, T., Schryer, E. (2015). How your executive functioning impacts me: Findings from a normative sample of older couples. Journal of Psychology and Aging, 30(3), 589-97


Dawson, J., Rehman, U. S., McAuley, T. (2014, April). Examining the impact of lower EF skills on older individuals' spouses using an interdependence framework. Poster presented at the Graduate Psychology Discovery Conference, Waterloo, Ontario. 

Rehman, U. S., Fallis, E., Dawson, J., (2014, November). Domain of conflict matters: How couples construe and navigate sexual versus nonsexual conflicts. Presented at the Annual Convention, Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Dawson, J., Rehman, U. S., McAuley, T. (2013, June). The relationship between executive functioning and marital satisfaction in aging couples. In V. Huyder (Chair), Executive functioning and its role in social functioning across the lifespan. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Quebec City, Quebec. 

Rehman, U. S. Fallis, E. Dawson, J. (2013, June). Bridging the gap between sex research and relationship science: Current status and future directions. Presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Guelph, Ontario. 

Dawson, J., Fallis, E., Rehman, U. S. (2010, September). Why is this so difficult? Challenges of discussing sexual issues in committed relationship. In U. Rehman (Chair), Bringing the dyad back into sex. Symposium conducted at the Canadian Sex Researchers Forum, Toronto, Ontario. 

Rehman, U. S. Fallis, E. Dawson, J. (2010, September). Using the actor-partner interdependence model to examine the influence of low sexual desire on relationship quality. In U. Rehman (Chair), Bringing the dyad back into sex. Symposium conducted at the Canadian Sex Researchers Forum, Toronto, Ontario. 

Dawson, J., Fallis, E., Rehman, U. (2009, November). The association between power processes and relationship violence: A multi-method investigation. Poster presented at the 43rd Annual Convention, Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies, New York, New York. November 2009. 

Peariso, R., Waller, T.G., Dawson, J., Pretti, J. (2008, December). Generic outcomes of co-operative education: relating them to general academic outcomes and measuring them! Presented at 7th International Symposium on Work Integrated Learning, World Association for Co-operative Education, Madrid, Spain.