University of Calgary

Deinera Exner-Cortens

  • Assistant Professor
  • Child & Adolescent Development
  • Curriculum/Program Design & Evaluation
  • Family Issues & Family Violence
  • Social Work & Non-Profit Organizations - Management & Evaluation

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Deinera Exner-Cortens is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, and is jointly appointed to the Department of Psychiatry, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. She holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology (Cornell University) and a Master of Public Health (Boston University). Dr. Exner-Cortens completed her CIHR-funded post-doctoral work at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's Centre for Prevention Science and with Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence in the University of Calgary's Faculty of Social Work. Dr. Exner-Cortens' research focuses on 1) evaluation of healthy relationships promotion activities in school and community settings , 2) implementation of school-based mental health resources and 3) prevention of adolescent dating violence. In her work, Dr. Exner-Cortens collaborates with a number of community and research partners both provincially and nationally. Dr. Exner-Cortens’ teaching interests include research methods, youth development, and social determinants of health. She is also committed to student participation in research. Starting in July 2018, Dr. Exner-Cortens will hold an Early Career Award in Supporting Child and  Youth Mental Health Outcomes in Alberta School Settings, sponsored by Alberta Health Services/PolicyWise.

Research and Scholarly Activity

  • Understanding outcomes and prevention of adolescent dating violene
  • Conducting realist-informed healthy relationships program evaluation
  • Exploring associations between masculinities and mental well-being for adolescent boys

Current Research

Current projects include the mixed-methods evaluation of a program for adolescent boys that aims to promote healthy masculinities and healthy relationships, a systematic review on masculinities and well-being in the adolescent period, and research supporting school-based mental health initiatives across the province.


2015-2016 Postdoctoral Scholar, Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary

2013-2015 Postdoctoral Scholar, Centre for Prevention Science, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

2014 PhD, Developmental Psychology, Cornell University

2011 MA, Human Development, Cornell University

2009 MPH, Social & Behavioral Science, Boston University

2007 BSc, Cellular, Molecular & Microbial Biology, University of Calgary

Professional and Community Associations

American Public Health Association (Member)

Society for Prevention Research (Member)

Society for Research on Adolescence (Chair, Media & Communications Committee and Member)

Society for Social Work and Research (Member)

Awards (2012-present, selected)

Linda E. Saltzman New Investigator Award Finalist, Futures without Violence (2017)

Award for Curriculum Development, University of Calgary Teaching Awards (2017)

Hershel D. Thornburg Dissertation Award, Society for Research on Adolescence (2016)

Alice Wilson Award nominee, Royal Society of Canada (2014)

Media Work (2012-present)

Broadcast Interviews

Teen Dating Violence, CBC Radio

Teens Experiencing Dating Violence Face More Risk Later, Radio Canada International

Healthy Relationships, CTV News Calgary

Talk a Stand Against Bullying: Pink Shirt Day, Global News Morning

Teen Dating Abuse, Radio Health Journal

Teen Dating Violence Affects Adult Well-Being, Indiana Youth Institute Kids Count Radio Show

Teen Dating Violence and Outcomes in Young Adulthood, Hourly News Broadcast, CBS National Radio


Text Interviews

If a Teenager Has One Abusive Relationship, It’s Likely They’ll Experience Another, Washington Post

Violent Teen Relationships Linked to Future Abuse: U of C study, Metro News

Social Work Study Suggests Link Between Childhood Maltreatment and Working Memory, UToday

When Teen Dating Turns Dangerous, The Boston Globe

Teen Dating Violence Leaves Scars, Experts Say, Chicago Tribune

Why Teen Victims of Dating Violence Can’t Break the Cycle, Health & Family

Teen Dating Violence Affects Well-Being in Adulthood, USA Today

Publications from 2009-Present (selected)

Crooks, C. V., Exner-Cortens, D., Burm, S., Lapointe, A., & Chiodo, D. (2017). Mentoring for First Nations, Métis and Inuit adolescents: Promoting positive mental health. Journal of Primary Prevention, 38, 87-104.

Exner-Cortens, D., Eckenrode, J., Bunge, J., & Rothman, E. (2017). Re-victimization after physical and psychological adolescent dating violence in a matched, national sample of youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 60, 176-183.

Claussen, C., Wells, L., Exner-Cortens, D., Abboud, R., & Turner, A. (2016). The role of community-based organizations in school-based violence prevention programming: An action research project. Cogent Social Sciences, 2, 1238609. 

Exner-Cortens, D., Gill, L., & Eckenrode, J. (2016). Measurement of adolescent dating violence: A comprehensive review (Part 1, Behaviors). Aggression and Violent Behavior, 27, 64-78. 

Exner-Cortens, D., Gill, L., & Eckenrode, J. (2016). Measurement of adolescent dating violence: A comprehensive review (Part 2, Attitudes). Aggression and Violent Behavior, 27, 93-106.

Whitlock, J., Exner-Cortens, D., & Purington, A. (2014). Assessment of non-suicidal self-injury: Development and initial validation of the Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Assessment Tool (NSSI-AT). Psychological Assessment, 26, 935-946. 

Exner-Cortens, D. (2014). Theory and teen dating violence victimization: Considering adolescent development. Developmental Review, 34, 168-188.

Evans G. W., Exner-Cortens, D., Kim, P., & Bartholomew, D. (2013). Childhood poverty and blood pressure reactivity to and recovery from an acute stressor in late adolescence: The mediating role of family conflict. Psychosomatic Medicine, 75, 691-700.

Tiffany, J. S., Exner-Cortens, D., & Eckenrode, J. (2013). Longitudinal associations between HIV risk reduction and out-of-school time program participation. Journal of Adolescent Health, 52, 795-797.

Exner-Cortens, D., Eckenrode, J., & Rothman, E. (2013). Longitudinal associations between teen dating violence victimization and adverse health outcomes. Pediatrics, 131, 71-78.

Tiffany, J. S., Exner-Cortens, D., & Eckenrode, J. (2012). A new measure for assessing youth program participation. Journal of Community Psychology, 40, 277-291.

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