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


Deinera Exner-Cortens joined the Faculty of Social Work as an Assistant Professor in July 2016. Her research focuses on understanding adolescent dating violence, including dating violence prevention and healthy relationships promotion. In her work, Deinera collaborates with several interdisciplinary groups of researchers. Deinera’s teaching interests include research methods, youth development, and social determinants of health. Deinera is also committed to student participation in research. Deinera currently serves as the chair of the Society for Research on Adolescence’s Media and Communications committee, which works to translate adolescent research to the press, policy-makers and practitioners. Prior to starting with the Faculty, Deinera completed her CIHR-funded postdoctoral work at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Centre for Prevention Science in London, ON and at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. 

Research and Scholarly Activity

  • Understanding trajectories and measurement of adolescent dating violence
  • Conducting realist-informed healthy relationships program evaluation

Current Research

Current projects include the evaluation of a program for adolescent boys that aims to promote healthy masculinities and healthy relationships, the evaluation of an out-of-class time healthy relationships and positive mental health promotion program, and the design of a supported implementation model for healthy relationships program delivery in Alberta.


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 (2009-present, selected)

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

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

Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health Inductee, Alpha Beta Chapter, Boston University School of Public Health (2009)

Media Work (2009-present)

Broadcast Interviews

Teen Dating Violence, Keeping Connected with Trevor Crow, WDJZ 1530 AM Connecticut

Teen Dating Abuse, Radio Health Journal

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

Outcomes of Teen Dating Violence Victimization, Delaware News at Noon, WDEL 1150 AM News Talk Radio, CBS Affiliate

Teen Dating Violence and Health Outcomes, Afternoon News, KCBS 740 AM All News, San Francisco, CA

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


Text Interviews

The Harsh Truth About Teen Dating Violence, Arizona Sonora News Service

Promoting Teen Mental Wellness, CAMH Discovers

Hatter’s Study Links Teen Dating Violence with Future Victims, Medicine Hat News

Prom Problems: Indiana Plagued by High Rate of Dating Violence, IndyStar

Teens Experience Both Sides of Dating Violence, Health Behavior News Service

When Teen Dating Turns Dangerous, The Boston Globe

Teen Dating Violence Leaves Scars, Experts Say, Chicago Tribune

Teen Dating Violence is Associated with Adverse Health Outcomes, 2 Minute Medicine (a free educational resource and research tool for the public, physicians and students)

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

Teen Dating Violence Linked to Substance Abuse, WebMD

Teen Dating Violence Linked to Long-Term Harmful Effects, Cornell Chronicle

Dating Violence in Teen Years Can Have Lasting Impact, HealthDay (contributes to various outlets, including MSN Healthy Living and US News & World Report Health)

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

Publications from 2009-Present (selected)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

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.

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.

Rothman, E. F., Exner, D., & Baughman, A. L. (2011). The prevalence of sexual assault against people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual: A systematic review. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 12, 55-66. 

Exner, D., & Cummings, N. (2011). Implications for sexual assault prevention: College students as prosocial bystanders. Journal of American College Health, 59, 655-657.

Exner, D., & Thurston, W. E. (2009). Understanding `passion killings' in Botswana: An investigation of media framing. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 10, 1-16. 

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