Public health researcher and informaticist specializing in games as mental health interventions; passionate about participatory design of interventions and research. Mother of three grown gamers, occasional mage and outdoors lover. Prefers dance games to spin class.
I'm an assistant professor at the GEMH Lab and a public health researcher with a background in video games and mental health. I received my B.A. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University in 1987, my Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Mental Health in 2015 and a postdoc in Psychiatric Epidemiology in 2017. I have a strong background in informatics including intervention and evidence development, monitoring and evaluation. I believe quanitative and qualitative research are vital for teasing apart how video games affect mental health. I’ve used latent variable analysis to find out how and why adolescents play a lot of video games, qualitative analysis to explore the benefits and problems from gaming in US military veterans, and mixed methods research to gather gamers’ insights into game “addiction”. My motto is when all else fails, design the approaches you need with the input of the gaming, research, clinical and public health communities.
There’s a belief that talking about mental illness as a disease (the disease model) reduces stigma and makes it easier for people to get treatment. Others think that the best approach to talking about mental health is to focus on the similarities, thinking of mental health problems as a continuum from the normal “being stressed out” to extreme reactions to stress. There’s no easy solution to this dilemma.