Dione M Healey

University of Otago, Taieri, Otago Region, New Zealand

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Publications (22)50.82 Total impact

  • Dione M Healey, Jeffrey M Halperin
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    ABSTRACT: Poor self-regulation during the preschool years predicts a wide array of adverse adult outcomes and, as such, is an important treatment target. We assessed the efficacy of a novel early intervention aimed at fostering the development of preschoolers' self-regulation. Enhancing Neurobehavioral Gains with the Aid of Games and Exercise (ENGAGE) involves parents and children playing a wide range of games targeting self-regulation on a daily basis over a 5-week period. Twenty-five New Zealand families, in whom parents identified their children as difficult to manage, took part in this study. Parent hyperactivity, aggression, and attention problems ratings on the BASC-2 were used to assess improvements in behavioral self-regulation, and subtests of the Stanford Binet-5 and NEPSY-2 were used to assess improvements in cognitive control. Improvements in parent-rated hyperactivity, aggression, and attention problems were maintained throughout the 12-month follow-up. In addition, improvements were found in two neurocognitive areas associated with self-regulation. While more rigorous randomized controlled trials are necessary, ENGAGE shows promise as a novel intervention for developing self-regulation in at-risk preschoolers.
    Child Neuropsychology 04/2014; · 2.24 Impact Factor
  • Burt Hatch, Dione M Healey, Jeffrey M Halperin
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    ABSTRACT: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has a range of aetiological origins which are associated with a number of disruptions in neuropsychological functioning. This study aimed to examine how low birth weight, a proxy measure for a range of environmental complications during gestation, predicted ADHD symptom severity in preschool-aged children indirectly via neuropsychological functioning. A total of 197 preschool-aged children were recruited as part of a larger longitudinal study. Two neuropsychological factors were derived from NEPSY domain scores. One, referred to as ‘Primary Neuropsychological Function,’ was loaded highly with Sensorimotor and Visuospatial scores. The other, termed ‘Higher-Order Function’ was loaded highly with Language and Memory domain scores. Executive functioning split evenly across the two. Analyses examined whether these neuropsychological factors allowed for an indirect association between birth weight and ADHD symptom severity. As both factors were associated with symptom severity, only the Primary Neuropsychological Factor was associated with birth weight. Furthermore, birth weight was indirectly associated to symptom severity via this factor. These data indicate that birth weight is indirectly associated with ADHD severity via disruption of neuropsychological functions that are more primary in function as opposed to functions that play a higher-order role in utilising and integrating the primary functions.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 04/2014; 55(4):384-92. · 5.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the usefulness of temporal measures of motor activity during psychometric assessment on two different assessment days, 1 week apart with a scope to help the early identification of hyperactivity. Actigraph measures at the ankle and the waist were compared on the first and the second days of psychometric assessment in a total of 169 children (93 children in ADHD group; 76 children in Non-ADHD group) aged 3 years and 4 years. There was a significant interaction effect between group and time on the activity level at the waist. Although the activity level of the waist in the children with ADHD did not significantly differ between Day 1 and Day 2, the activity level of the children without ADHD declined significantly from Day 1 to 2. A total of 70% of children were correctly classified into ADHD or Non-ADHD groups based only on Day 2 waist activity data. The temporal consistency of hyperactivity in young children with ADHD during psychometric assessment is confirmed, indicating that objective measures of motor activity at the waist over different days of psychometric assessment can provide additional information for the stability of hyperactivity.
    Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 02/2014; 68(2):120-126. · 2.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and poorer neurobehavioural outcomes in school-age children is well established, but the relationship in obese children and adolescents, in whom OSA is more common, is not so well established. We aimed to investigate this relationship in 10-18-year-olds. Thirty-one participants with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 32.3 ± 4.9 enrolled. BMI-for-age cut-offs were used to define obesity. Participants underwent polysomnography and were classified into OSA (apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) > 2 per hour) and non-OSA (AHI ≤ 2) groups. Intelligence, memory and learning, academic achievement, behaviour and executive functioning were assessed using the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence, Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning 2, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test II (WIAT-II), Behavioural Assessment System for Children 2 and Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function, respectively. Forty-eight per cent (15/31) were classified as having OSA, and 52% (16/31) as non-OSA. The obese cohort performed below the average of normative data on several neurobehavioural measures. WIAT-II maths scores were significantly lower (P = 0.034) in the OSA group than in the non-OSA group (means 84.5 vs. 94.6, respectively), losing significance after adjustment for IQ, age and gender. Self-reported school problems were significantly worse in the OSA group before and after multivariate adjustment (P = 0.010, Cohen's d = 1.02). No other significant differences were found. Results suggest that OSA may increase risk for some poorer educational and behavioural outcomes. The findings are reasonably consistent with and add to the evidence base of the few studies that have explored this relationship.
    Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 10/2013; · 1.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Temperament and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are both typically viewed as biologically based behavioural constructs. There is substantial overlap between ADHD symptoms and specific temperamental traits, such as effortful control, especially in young children. Recent work by Martel and colleagues ( 2009 , 2011 ) suggests that cognitive control temperamental processes are more closely related to inattention symptoms, whereas stimulus-driven temperamental processes are linked to hyperactivity-impulsivity. The present study tested a model of temperament and ADHD symptoms in typically developing preschoolers and those at risk for ADHD using structural equation modelling. Data were from larger study on ADHD in a short-term longitudinal sample with parent/teacher reports and neurocognitive testing. Participants included 214 preschool children (72.9% male) from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds and a wide range of socioeconomic status from a large metropolitan center. Cognitive control processes, such as effortful control, but not stimulus-driven processes, are related to inattention and hyperactivity. In contrast, stimulus-driven processes, such as emotional reactivity, were related only to hyperactivity symptoms longitudinally. These results suggest that early temperament behaviours and cognitive processes may be indicators of later childhood behavioural difficulties with lasting consequences.
    Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 01/2013; · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The current study aimed to examine the changes following a sleep hygiene intervention on sleep hygiene practices, sleep quality, and daytime symptoms in youth. METHODS: Participants aged 10--18 years with self-identified sleep problems completed our age-appropriate F.E.R.R.E.T (an acronym for the categories of Food, Emotions, Routine, Restrict, Environment and Timing) sleep hygiene programme; each category has three simple rules to encourage good sleep. Participants (and parents as appropriate) completed the Adolescent Sleep Hygiene Scale (ASHS), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Sleep Disturbances Scale for Children (SDSC), Pediatric Daytime Sleepiness Scale (PDSS), and wore Actical(R) monitors twice before (1 and 2 weeks) and three times after (6, 12 and 20 weeks) the intervention. Anthropometric data were collected two weeks before and 20 weeks post-intervention. RESULTS: Thirty-three youths (mean age 12.9 years; M/F = 0.8) enrolled, and retention was 100%. ASHS scores significantly improved (p = 0.005) from a baseline mean (SD) of 4.70 (0.41) to 4.95 (0.31) post-intervention, as did PSQI scores [7.47 (2.43) to 4.47 (2.37); p < 0.001] and SDSC scores [53.4 (9.0) to 39.2 (9.2); p < 0.001]. PDSS scores improved from a baseline of 16.5 (6.0) to 11.3 (6.0) post- intervention (p < 0.001). BMI z-scores with a baseline of 0.79 (1.18) decreased significantly (p = 0.001) post-intervention to 0.66 (1.19). Despite these improvements, sleep duration as estimated by Actical accelerometry did not change. There was however a significant decrease in daytime sedentary/light energy expenditure. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest the F.E.R.R.E.T sleep hygiene education programme might be effective in improving sleep in children and adolescents. However because this was a before and after study and a pilot study with several limitations, the findings need to be addressed with caution, and would need to be replicated within a randomised controlled trial to prove efficacy.Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12612000649819.
    BMC Pediatrics 12/2012; 12(1):189. · 1.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To assess whether preschoolers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behave differently during mother–child interaction tasks as a function of task palatability and whether differences are associated with the presence of comorbid oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).Methods Typically developing, ADHD, and ADHD + ODD children and their mothers participated in digitally recorded interactions, which included three 5-min tasks, differing in level of palatability/engagement and parental structure (Free Play Task = highly engaging, not structured; Paper and Pencil Task = not engaging, highly structured; Duplo Task = highly engaging, structured).ResultsMixed ANOVAs revealed that positive engagement, but not structure, differentially improved the behaviour of children with ADHD + ODD.DiscussionAlthough ADHD and ODD are associated with more negative behaviours during the mother–child interaction, those with comorbid ADHD + ODD exhibit differentially greater impairment during relatively boring tasks. Implications for treatment are discussed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Infant and Child Development 07/2012; 21(4). · 1.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To examine whether cognitive enhancement can be delivered through play to preschoolers with ADHD and whether it would affect severity of ADHD symptoms. Method: Twenty-nine 4- and 5-year-old children and their parents participated in separate group sessions (3-5 children/group). Child groups were introduced games designed to enhance inhibitory control, working memory, attention, visuospatial abilities, planning, and motor skills. Parent groups were encouraged playing these games with their children at least 30 to 45 min/day and taught strategies for scaffolding difficulty levels and dealing with obstacles to daily playing. Results: Parent ratings and session attendance indicated considerable satisfaction with the program. Parent (p < .001) and teacher (p = .003) ratings on the ADHD-Rating Scale-IV (ADHD-RS-IV) indicated significant improvement in ADHD severity from pre- to post-treatment, which persisted 3 months later. Conclusion: This play-based intervention for preschoolers with ADHD is readily implemented at home. Preliminary evidence suggests efficacy beyond the termination of active treatment. (J. of Att. Dis. 2012; XX(X) 1-XX).
    Journal of Attention Disorders 03/2012; · 2.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognition and emotion, traditionally thought of as largely distinct, have recently begun to be conceptualized as dynamically linked processes that interact to influence functioning. This study investigated the moderating effects of cognitive functioning on the relationship between negative emotionality and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptom severity. A total of 216 (140 hyperactive/inattentive; 76 typically developing) preschoolers aged 3-4 years were administered a neuropsychological test battery (i.e., NEPSY). To avoid method bias, child negative emotionality was rated by teachers (Temperament Assessment Battery for Children-Revised), and parents rated symptom severity on the ADHD Rating Scale (ADHD-RS-IV). Hierarchical Linear Regression analyses revealed that both negative emotionality and Perceptual-Motor & Executive Functions accounted for significant unique variance in ADHD symptom severity. Significant interactions indicated that when negative emotionality is low, but not high, neuropsychological functioning accounts for significant variability in ADHD symptoms, with lower functioning predicting more symptoms. Emotional and neuropsychological functioning, both individually and in combination, play a significant role in the expression of ADHD symptom severity. (JINS, 2011, 17, 1-9).
    Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 04/2011; · 2.70 Impact Factor
  • Chaya B. Gopin, Dione M. Healey
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    ABSTRACT: Individuals diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) present with a wide array of cognitive and behavioral deficiencies. Over the past few decades, researchers have proposed a variety of theoretical models to account for and to better characterize this highly heterogeneous disorder. This paper reviews the recent literature on the neural and neurocognitive determinants of ADHD and emphasizes the importance of conceptualizing the disorder within a developmental framework. Implications for treatment are discussed.
    Journal of Infant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy 01/2011; 10(1):13-31.
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    Jeffrey M Halperin, Dione M Healey
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    ABSTRACT: Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a pervasive pattern of developmentally inappropriate inattentive, impulsive and hyperactive behaviors that typically begin during the preschool years and often persist into adulthood. The most effective and widely used treatments for ADHD are medication and behavior modification. These empirically-supported interventions are generally successful in reducing ADHD symptoms, but treatment effects are rarely maintained beyond the active intervention. Because ADHD is now generally thought of as a chronic disorder that is often present well into adolescence and early adulthood, the need for continued treatment throughout the lifetime is both costly and problematic for a number of logistical reasons. Therefore, it would be highly beneficial if treatments would have lasting effects that remain after the intervention is terminated. This review examines the burgeoning literature on the underlying neural determinants of ADHD along with research demonstrating powerful influences of environmental factors on brain development and functioning. Based upon these largely distinct scientific literatures, we propose an approach that employs directed play and physical exercise to promote brain growth which, in turn, could lead to the development of potentially more enduring treatments for the disorder.
    Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 01/2011; 35(3):621-34. · 10.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many preschoolers are highly inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive; but only some are impaired in their functioning. Yet factors leading to functional impairment, above and beyond the severity of inattentive and hyperactive symptoms, have not been systematically examined. This study examined a model suggesting that after controlling for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptom severity, child temperament is uniquely associated with parenting stress; that parenting stress affects parenting style, above and beyond child characteristics; that parenting style is related to the level of child impairment, above and beyond the effects of child symptoms, temperament, and parenting stress; and finally that parenting style moderates the relationship between ADHD symptom severity and child functioning. Child measures included parent- and teacher-rated ADHD symptom severity, teacher-rated temperament, and clinician-rated functioning in a sample of 138 inattentive/hyperactive preschoolers. Maternal self-ratings of parenting style and parenting stress were obtained. Analyses indicated that, after controlling for symptom severity, child temperament was related to maternal parenting stress, which was additionally related to both maternal parenting style and child functioning. Maternal positive parenting style moderated the relationship between ADHD symptom severity and child impairment, indicating that a positive parenting style plays a protective role in the functioning of hyperactive/inattentive preschoolers. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Infant and Child Development 04/2010; 20(2):148 - 161. · 1.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hyperactive/inattentive (HI) behaviors are common in preschoolers, but they result in functional impairment and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses in only some children. We examined whether the quality of mother-child interaction accounts for variance in level of functioning among preschool children with elevated ADHD symptoms. Parent and teacher ADHD-RS ratings were used to assess 126 HI preschoolers, and clinician Children's Global Assessment Scale (CGAS) ratings were used to quantify level of functioning. Mother-child interactions during a 5-minute free-play and a 5-minute structured task were coded for child, parent and dyadic behaviors. Partial correlations, controlling for symptom severity and IQ, revealed child and dyad factors that were related to children's functioning. Regression analyses revealed that low dyadic synchrony accounted for additional unique variance in children's functioning, above and beyond the influence of symptom severity and IQ. Dyadic synchrony between mother and child plays a role in the functioning of preschool children displaying elevated symptoms of hyperactivity/inattention, and may represent a potential area for intervention that is not generally addressed in most parent management training programs.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 03/2010; 51(9):1058-66. · 5.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clear links between temperament, psychopathology, and neuropsychological functioning exist; however the interrelations among temperament and neuropsychology, and their impact on functioning in typically developing children is not as well understood. This study examined the degree to which neuropsychological functioning, as measured by the NEPSY, moderates the impact of temperament on global functioning, as measured by the Children's Global Assessment Scale (CGAS), in 74 typically developing preschoolers. Temperament was assessed via parent ratings on the Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ) and teacher ratings on the Temperament Assessment Battery for Children--Revised (TABC-R). Moderation analyses revealed significant interactions between verbal-executive skills and both child emotionality and lack of task persistence in predicting global functioning. The interaction patterns were mostly consistent across measures and indicated that when lower neurocognitive scores were coupled with higher levels of expressed negative emotions and more difficulties in task persistence, global functioning was at its lowest. In contrast better neurocognitive functioning mitigated the impact of high expressed emotions on global functioning. These findings support past literature and indicate that emotional and cognitive functioning interact to effect young children's global functioning.
    Child Neuropsychology 08/2009; 16(1):20-31. · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To ascertain the psychometric properties and clinical utility of the Behavioral Rating Inventory for Children (BRIC), a novel clinician inventory for preschoolers. Completion of the BRIC for 214 preschoolers follows 2 evaluation sessions, generally separated by less than 2 weeks. Items are submitted to a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) with Varimax rotation. Test-retest reliability and validity relative to other measures are assessed. PCA yields a 2-factor solution representing a "Symptom Triad" and a "Mood/Sociability Factor." Test-retest reliability of the triad and factor are .78 (p <.001) and .55 (p < .001), respectively. Correlations between parent and teacher ratings of ADHD-related behaviors and the Symptom Triad range from .39-.47 (all p <.001); similar correlations are found with laboratory measures of activity level (r = .35-.49, all p <.001). The Symptom Triad of the BRIC appears to be a reliable and valid tool that may assist researchers and clinicians in studying and diagnosing ADHD in preschoolers, particularly in cases where teacher ratings are unavailable. J. of Att. Dis. 2010; 13(5) 479-488.
    Journal of Attention Disorders 04/2009; 13(5):479-88. · 2.16 Impact Factor
  • 55th Meeting of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; 10/2008
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    ABSTRACT: Behaviors characteristic of ADHD are common among preschool children, and as such, their clinical significance is oftentimes difficult to ascertain. Thus a focus on impairment is essential in determining the clinical significance of these behaviors. In order to explore the impact of impairment criteria on rates of diagnoses in inattentive/hyperactive children aged 36 through 60-months-old, we first developed, and psychometrically evaluated, the Children's Problem Checklist (CPC) which was designed to assess psychosocial impairment associated with ADHD in a community sample of preschoolers (n = 394), and found its reliability and validity to be acceptable. We then examined the impact of the inclusion of various CPC-determined impairment criteria, over and above symptom criteria measured by the ADHD-RS-IV, using various cut points ranging from the 75th to 90th percentile of our community sample. This reduced the number of children meeting criteria for ADHD by 46-77%. These findings are discussed in terms of the importance of using impairment criteria, rather than just severity of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, when diagnosing ADHD in preschool children.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 08/2008; 36(5):771-8. · 3.09 Impact Factor
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    Dione M Healey, Julia J Rucklidge
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    ABSTRACT: ADHD is one of the most prevalent and vigorously studied psychiatric conditions in child psychology. Yet, despite the large amount of research into this disorder, a number of myths have arisen over the years (Kaplan, 1998). For example, Kaplan, Dewey, Crawford and Fisher (1998) showed that children with ADHD do not nec-essarily have memory problems; Gaitens, Kaplan and Freigang (1998) found that they do not have more im-munoglobulin E (IgE) mediated aller-gies than controls; and Kaplan, Crawford, Dewey, and Fisher (2000) found that the IQ scores of children with ADHD were normally distrib-uted. Some literature has suggested that children with ADHD have un-usually high creative abilities but the research to support this claim is never cited and its existence is unclear; thus its status as fact or myth is yet to be ascertained. Most of the literature on the topic is theoretical, focusing on descriptions of creative persons, commenting on reasons why ADHD and creativity may overlap, and cau-tioning against misdiagnosis; how-ever only a few empirical studies have been done. A number of authors have mentioned the idea that creativ-ity is linked to ADHD. Hallowell and Ratey (1994) listed 20 suggested crite-ria for adult ADHD, one of which was "often creative, intuitive, highly intelligent . . . " (p. 74). Guether (1995) noted that many of the symptoms of ADHD such as inattention, hyperac-tivity, impulsivity, difficult tempera-ment, deficient social skills, and academic underachievement are also indicators of creative potential, and he cautions that a creativity test or checklist should always be com-pleted in addition to the ADHD checklist. Leroux and Levitt–Perlam (2000) have highlighted that studies of children with ADHD often empha-size the problems, diagnosis, and treatment; but rarely consider the characteristics that have been ex-plained as being remarkably similar to creativity. They argue that in many cases, gifts may mask the ADHD and the ADHD may mask the gifts. These authors propose that the lack of re-search available on gifted/ADHD children raises the possibility that many ADHD and/or gifted children are not being identified correctly.
    ADHD Report The 06/2008; 16(3).
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    Dione Healey, Julia J Rucklidge
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examined the relationship between creativity and ADHD symptomatology. First, the presence of ADHD symptomatology within a creative sample was explored. Secondly, the relationship between cognitive functioning and ADHD symptomatology was examined by comparing four groups, aged 10-12 years: 1) 29 ADHD children without creativity, 2) 12 creative children with ADHD symptomatology, 3) 18 creative children without ADHD symptomatology, and 4) 30 controls. Creativity, intelligence, processing speed, reaction time, working memory, and inhibitory control were measured. Results showed that 40% of the creative children displayed clinically elevated levels of ADHD symptomatology, but none met full criteria for ADHD. With regard to cognitive functioning, both ADHD and creative children with ADHD symptoms had deficits in naming speed, processing speed, and reaction time. For all other cognitive measures the creative group with ADHD symptoms outperformed the ADHD group. These findings have implications for the development and management of creative children.
    Child Neuropsychology 01/2007; 12(6):421-38. · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    D. Healey, J.J. Rucklidge
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationship among creativity, ADHD symptomatology, temperament, and psychosocial functioning by comparing four groups of children aged 10-12 years: (1) 29 ADHD children without creativity, (2) 16 highly creative children displaying ADHD symptomatology, (3) 18 highly creative children without ADHD symptomatology, and (4) 30 normal controls. Children completed the TTCT, Child Depression Inventory, Revised Child Manifest Anxiety Scale, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Parents completed the Junior Temperament and Character Inventory, Family Environment Scale, and the parent version of the Kastan Children's Attributional Style Questionnaire. Parents completed the Conner's Rating Scales and Child Behavior Checklist, and teachers completed the Child Behaviour Checklist. Results showed that the presence of ADHD symptomatology in creative children was related to their temperamental characteristics, and parent reports of children's levels of anxiety and depression. However, family environment and mother's attributions did not appear to be related to the presence of ADHD symptomatology in creative children. These findings have implications for the development and management of creative children.
    The Journal of creative behavior 12/2006; · 1.10 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

124 Citations
50.82 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2014
    • University of Otago
      • Department of Psychology
      Taieri, Otago Region, New Zealand
  • 2013
    • University of Windsor
      • Department of Psychology
      Windsor, Ontario, Canada
  • 2011
    • City University of New York - Queens College
      • Department of Psychology
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2010
    • Mount Sinai School of Medicine
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Manhattan, NY, United States
  • 2009
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2005–2007
    • University of Canterbury
      • Department of Psychology
      Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand