Department of Psychology

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Feature Story banner: Jeremy Stewart September 2020

Jeremy Stewart and collaborators receive share of more than $600,000 from SSHRC

Adapted by Queen’s Psychology
from the Queen’s Gazette article originally published Friday August 28, 2020

Queen’s Psychology researcher Dr. Jeremy Stewart and collaborators Dr. Tom Hollenstein, also of Queen’s Psychology, and Dr. Thomas Armstrong (Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA), have received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Leading suicide theories propose that, because suicide defies our innate drive for self-preservation, people attempting suicide must be able to “stare down” the fear that doing so elicits. This capacity is called fearlessness about death (FAD). Although it is proposed to be critical to the transition from suicide desire to actions, FAD has been inadequately defined and studied. The overarching goal of the collaborative project is to develop a stronger, more valid measure of FAD that will form the methodological foundation for comprehensive, longitudinal tests of suicide theories. Specifically, drawing on Dr. Armstrong’s expertise, the team will validate an experimental paradigm that records gaze behaviour in response to threatening and/or violent images. They hypothesize that individual differences in suicide capability (FAD) may be associated dwell duration on these images.

Once developed, Dr. Stewart and his colleagues are committed to making their protocols and stimuli publicly available to encourage extensions of their findings and translations to clinical settings. In the long run, the team hopes this work will contribute to the Canada’s growing reputation for cutting-edge suicide science and will enhance national discourse surrounding this devastating societal issue.

“My collaborators and I are pleased to receive this funding, as it supports our ongoing efforts to clarify the cognitive-affective responses that may contribute to suicide in adolescents and young adults. Suicidal behaviours are complex and multi-determined, and they can be a source of tremendous pain for individuals, families, and entire communities”, Dr. Stewart explains. “Developing new measures to more precisely assess processes that may drive people thinking about suicide to make attempts is a necessary step toward better assessments of suicide risk.

Other funded projects involve a range of research, including investigating the building blocks of constructing gender and race in primary education, and testing for independent experts to improve Canada’s federal transfer system.

A total of 12 Queen’s University researchers are recipients of nearly $610,000 in combined funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant program. Part of the  Insight and Partnership Grants suite, the programs are designed to support research projects across a range of disciplines in their early stages and build knowledge and understanding about people, societies, and the world.

The projects being funded at Queen’s involve a range of research, including investigating the building blocks of constructing gender and race in primary education and testing for independent experts to improve Canada’s federal transfer system.

“With a number of these grants going to early-career researchers at the university, this program provides the opportunity to develop our talent at Queen’s,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “The funded projects approach societal challenges in creative and innovative ways and, ultimately, will provide better insight into the world around us.”

This year’s successful recipients include:

  • Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin (Geography and Planning) Youth, Labour and Neoliberal Urban Transformation in Ibadan, Nigeria, $72,636
  • Ragavendran Gopalakrishnan (Smith School of Business) Behaviour-Aware Queueing Models for Smart Service Operations, $60,100
  • Eun-Young Lee (Kinesiology and Health Studies) No Level Playing Field: Towards Quantifying Intersectionality in Large-scale Population Studies, $50,026
  • Nora Fayed (School of Rehabilitation Therapy) Wellbeing Priorities for Children with Highly Complex Disabilities and their Parents, $38,097
  • Colin Grey (Law) Humanitarianism and the Justification of Deportation for Criminality, $41,742
  • Kyle Hanniman (Political Studies) Popular Support for Unpopular Reforms:  Testing the Potential of Independent Experts to Improve Canada’s Federal Transfer System, $46,032
  • Alyssa King (Law) Travelling Judges, Moonlighting Arbitrators, and Global Common Law, $27,370
  • Reena Kukreja (Global Development Studies) Undocumented South Asian Male Migrants in Greece: Understanding Masculinity, Love and Work in Troubled Times, $53,529
  • Jeremy Stewart (Psychology) Unpacking Suicide Capability: Refining the Definition and Measurement of Fearlessness about death, $72,972
  • Kristy Timmons (Education) Inequity at the Starting Line: The Influence of Teacher Expectations, Beliefs and Practices on Learning Outcomes in Kindergarten, $61,446
  • Dan Cohen (Geography and Planning) Financing Social Progress: Market-making and Canada’s Social Finance Fund, $46.739
  • Sumon Majumdar (Economics) Do Immigrants Face Barriers in Access to Local Public Services in Canada?   $43,576

Through the 2019-2020 competition, SSHRC has awarded over $32 million to more than 1,045 researchers from 69 Canadian institutions.

Insight Development Grants support research in its early stages. They enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches or ideas. Funding is provided to individuals or teams for projects of up to two years.

For more information visit, the SSHRC website.

Read the original Queen’s Gazette article