University of Calgary

Deinera Exner-Cortens

  • Tier II CRC Childhood Health
  • Associate Professor

Currently Teaching

Research Background and Interests

Dr. Deinera Exner-Cortens is an Assistant Professor and Tier II Canada Research Chair (Childhood Health Promotion) in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Work, and is jointly appointed to the Department of Psychiatry, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.  Dr. Exner-Cortens is also a full member in the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education. She is also the scientific co-director of PREVNet, Canada’s healthy relationships hub. She holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology and a Master of Public Health. 

Current Research

Dr. Exner-Cortens' research focuses on 1) evaluating healthy relationships resources in school and community settings, 2) developing and evaluating implementation support tools for school-based mental health service delivery;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. 

Student Supervision

Dr. Exner-Cortens will likely accept one new MSc student for fall 2022. 

Selected Publications

*denotes trainee, ^denotes community partner

Exner-Cortens, D., 
Schwartz, K. D., McMorris, C., & Makarenko, E. (in press). Stress among Asian youth during COVID-19: Moderation by educational, spiritual and cultural sources of belonging. Journal of Adolescent Health. 

Nutter, S., Saunders, J. F., *Brun, I., Exner-Cortens, D., & Russell-Mayhew, S. (in press). Changes in pre-service teacher personal and professional attitudes following a comprehensive school health course. Canadian Journal of Education.  

Exner-Cortens, D., *Claussen, C., ^Lewis, S., *Orukpe, A. M., & ^Coupland, K. (2021). Friendship quality and ethnocultural boys: An exploratory evaluation of the WiseGuyz program. Psychology in the Schools. Advance online publication.

Exner-Cortens, D., Sitter, K. C., *Van Bavel, M., & *Wright, A. (2021). Photo-based evaluation: A method for participatory evaluation with adolescents. American Journal of Evaluation. Advance online publication.

Exner-Cortens, D., *Baker, E., *Gray, S., *Conde, C. F., *Rivera, R. R., *Van Bavel, M., *Vezina, E., ^Ambrose, A., ^Pawluk, C., Schwartz, K. D, & Arnold, P. D. (2021). School-based suicide risk assessment using eHealth for youth: Systematic scoping review. JMIR Mental Health, 8(9), e29454.

Exner-Cortens, D., *Wright, A., *Claussen, C., & *Truscott, E. (2021). A systematic review of adolescent masculinities and associations with internalizing behavior problems and social support. American Journal of Community Psychology, 68, 215-231.  

Exner-Cortens, D., *Baker, E., & Craig, W. (2021). The national prevalence of adolescent dating violence in Canada. Journal of Adolescent Health, 69(3), 495-502.

Exner-Cortens, D., *Wright, A., *Van Bavel, M., Sitter, K., Hurlock, D., ^Carter, R., & ^Krause, P. (2021). “To be a guy is to be human”: Outcomes of the WiseGuyz program through photo-based evaluation. Health Promotion Practice, 22(5), 659-669.

Schwartz, K. D., Exner-Cortens, D., McMorris, C., Makarenko, E., Arnold, P. D., *Van Bavel, M., Williams, S., & Canfield, R. (2021). COVID-19 and student well-being: Stress and mental health during return-to-school. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 36(2), 166-185.

Exner-Cortens, D., & ^Cummings, N. (2021). Bystander-based sexual violence prevention with college athletes: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(1-2), 188-211.  

Exner-Cortens, D., Wells, L., Lee, L., & Spiric, V. (2021).  Building a culture of intimate partner violence prevention in Alberta, Canada through the promotion of healthy youth relationships. Prevention Science, 22(1)40-49.

Saunders, J. F., Nutter, S., *Brun, I., Exner-Cortens, D., & Russell-Mayhew, S. (2020). The efficacy of a comprehensive school health course in changing pre-service teachers’ attitudes and reactions toward weight-related teasing. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 36(3), 235-243.

*Baker, E., Exner-Cortens, D. (2020). Adolescents’ interpersonal negotiation strategies: Does competence vary by context? Journal of Research on Adolescence, 30(4), 1039-1050.

Exner-Cortens, D., Spiric, V., Crooks, C. V., *Syeda, M., & Wells, L. (2020). Predictors of youth healthy relationships program implementation quality in a sample of Canadian middle school teachers. Canadian Journal of School Psychology35(2), 100-122.

Exner-Cortens, D., Wolfe, D. A., Crooks, C. V., & Chiodo, D. (2020). A preliminary randomized controlled evaluation of a universal healthy relationships program for youth. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 35(1), 3-22.

Exner-Cortens, D., Hurlock, D., *Wright, A., ^Carter, R., & ^Krause, P. (2020). Preliminary evaluation of a gender-transformative healthy relationships program for adolescent boys. Psychology of Men and Masculinity21(1), 168-175.

Exner-Cortens, D., *Wright, A., Hurlock, D., ^Carter, R., ^Krause, P., & Crooks, C. V. (2019). Preventing adolescent dating violence: An outcomes protocol for evaluating a gender-transformative healthy relationships promotion program. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 16, 100484.

Crooks, C. V., Jaffe, P. G., *Dunlop, C., *Kerry, A., & Exner-Cortens, D. (2019). Preventing gender-based violence among adolescents and young adults: Lessons from 25 years of program development and evaluation. Violence Against Women, 25(1), 29-55.


  • - Developmental Psychology
    Cornell University, 2014
  • MA - Human Development
    Cornell University, 2011
  • MPH - Social and Behavioral Science
    Boston University, 2009
  • BSc - Cellular, Molecular & Microbial Biology
    University of Calgary, 2007
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