Carly McMorris

Dr. Carly McMorris

PhD, RPsyc


Associate Professor

Werklund School of Education, Specialization, School and Applied Child Psychology

Adjunct Associate Professor

Faculty of Arts , Department of Psychology

Associate Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Full Member

Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, Owerko Centre

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.220.5457


Office: EDT508

For media enquiries, contact

Clayton MacGillivray
Content and Media Specialist

Twitter: @UCalgaryEduc


Educational Background

PhD Clinical-Developmental Psychology, York University, 2015

Master of Arts Clinical-Developmental Psychology, York University, 2009

Bahcelor's of Arts, Honours Psychology, The University of Calgary, 2006


Dr. Carly McMorris has a PhD in Clinical-Developmental Psychology from York University (Toronto, Ontario). She completed her clinical internship at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids; Toronto, Ontario), and is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta (#4997). In the fall of 2015, she moved to Calgary and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Paediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Dr. McMorris joined the Werklund School of Education in 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the School and Applied Child Psychology program.

My research focuses on improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD), such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, and cerebral palsy.

Using a variety of research methods, techniques, and designs, my research aims to identify early determinants of NDDs, specifically prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal environmental and family risk factors. I also study the prevalence of co-occurring mental and physical health issues in NDDs, how these issues may lead to crisis and/or emergency room visits, and ultimately how they impact the lives of children and families. I also examine the service utilization patterns of children and adolescents with NDDs, as well as identify their needs, and barriers/facilitators to accessing services. Lastly, the overarching goal of my research is to facilitate healthy outcomes of children with NDDs. I am interested in understanding the developmental trajectories of this population, and what child, family, and community factors predict such outcomes.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Given Dr. McMorris’ broad research and clinical interests, she has affiliations with a variety of professional and community organizations related to child psychology, typical and atypical development, autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

  • College of Alberta Psychologists, Registered Psychologist
  • Canadian Psychological Association & Psychologists' Association of Alberta, Member
  • Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Full Member
  • Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), Full Member
  • Mathison Centre for Mental Health, Research and Education, University of Calgary, Associate Member
  • Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), Associate Member
  • O’Brien Institute for Public Health, Associate Member
  • International Society for Autism Research, Member
  • Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Member


Areas of Research

Theoretical Orientations:
  • developmental
  • biopsychosocial
  • cognitive-behavioural 
Scholarly Activity

Dr. McMorris’ research focuses on how to improve the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), such as autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), and cerebral palsy (CP). She is particularly interested in understanding why a number of children with autism are at heightened risk for experiencing mental health issues. Specifically, she investigates the biological-psychological and social factors that contribute to mental health issues in children and youth with NDDs, and how such issues impact children and families. She also examines ways to effectively treat mental health issues in children and youth with NDDs through modified psychological treatments, such as cognitive behaviour therapy. Lastly, she aims to identify ways to prevent mental health issues from developing through peer mentorship programs and inclusion in sport and physical activity (e.g., Special Olympics).

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Child and youth mental health
  • Child development
  • Risk and protective factors
  • Developmental psychopathology
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Psychological assessment and diagnosis
  • Eating disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Child health

Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
EDPS 685 LEC 01 01 Child and Adolescent Counsel Winter 2018 - 2021
EDPS 763 LAB 01 B01 School&Clinical-based Intrvn's 2021
EDPS 761 Advanced Doctoral Practicum in Clinical Assessment and Supervision II Fall 2019
EDPS 669 Social-Emotional Assessment and Intervention Winter 2019
EDPS 693 Child Development Winter 2018



1) Facing Your Fears: Improving the Mental Health Services of Children and Youth with Neurodevelopmental Disorders 

Role: Principal Investigator 
Funded by: Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation
Dates of project: 2019-2024

2) Suicidality in children and youth with autism

Role: Principal investigating
Funded by: Multiple sources
Dates of Project: 2019-2022

3) Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Caregivers and Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Effectiveness of a 6-week Virtual 

Mindfulness-Based Intervention
Role: Principal Investigator 
Funded by: Multiple sources
Dates of Project: 2020-2022

4) Anxiety and Depression in Youth with Cerebral Palsy: Role of Physiological Risk Factors (CEREBRUM)

Role: Principal Investigator
Funded by: HBI Robertson Fund for CP Research
Dates of Project: 2017-2021

5) Brain Development and Internalizing Symptoms in Youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Role: Co-Investigator
Funded by: Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)
Dates of Project: 2019-2024

6) Peer Mentorship Program Promoting Well-Being and Mental Health: Supporting University Students with Autism 

Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Funded by: Multiple Sources
Dates of Project: 2019-2021


  • Selected for the PILLARS training program, Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program. 2021
  • Nominated for Canadian Psychological Association President's New Researcher Award, CPA. 2021
  • 2020 Class of Top 40 Under 40 Calgary, Avenue Magazine - Calgary. 2020
  • Early Career Research Award, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. 2020
  • Alberta Health Innovates Solutions Postgraduate Fellowship, AIHS. 2015
  • Nominated for WSE Early Career Research Award, Werklund School of Education - University of Calgary.
  • Accelerate Internship, Mathematics of Info Tech & Complex Systems. 2014
  • Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award, Canadian Departments of Psychology (CCDP). 2012
  • Sammy Graduate Scholarship in Autism Research, York University. 2013
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. 2012
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. 2011
  • Autism Ontario International Meeting for Autism Research Travel Bursary, Autism Ontario. 2009
  • Autism Scholar Doctoral Award, Ontario College of Graduate Studies (OCGS). 2010
  • Nomination Master Thesis Award, York University. 2009
  • Graduate Stimulus Grant, Autism Ontario. 2009
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. 2009
  • Canadian Graduate Scholarship (CGS), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). 2008
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies Entrance Scholarship, York University. 2008
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. 2008
  • Nomination for Canadian Psychological Association Certificate of Excellence for Honours Thesis, Canadian Psychological Association. 2006
  • Summer Training Program, Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 2006
  • Dean's List for Social Sciences, University of Calgary. 2005
  • Jason Lang Scholarship, University of Calgary. 2005
  • Jason Lang Scholarship, University of Calgary. 2004


  • Adults with cerebral palsy: Physical and mental health issues and health service use patterns. C Hatton; E Emersson; Y Lunsky; K Dobranowski; D Fehlings; C McGarry; R S Balogh; J K Lake; M Bayley; Carly A McMorris. Elsevier. (2016)
  • Program Components. J Schroeder; M Ames; Carly McMorris. (2011)
  • Starting Up. Carly McMorris; J Schroeder. (2011)
  • Group Events. Carly McMorris; M Ames. (2011)
  • Specialized and mainstream psychiatric or mental health services for adults with Intellectual Disabilities. Lunsky; Carly McMorris; N Bouras; C Hemmings; J Lake. Cambridge University Press. (2016)
  • Concerns in early development that may be predictive of specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder diagnoses. J. H. Schroeder; J. J. Holden; C. A. McMorris; J. M. Bebko. (2011)
  • Predictors of exogenous attention abilities in children and youth with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. J M Bebko; Carly A McMorris. (2016)
  • The impact of March break and summer program funding on the stress of caregivers of children withautism.. J M Bebko; J H Abrams; O Jon; L Verbeek; B Ncube; M Spoelstra; G Konstosic; Carly A McMorris. (2016)
  • Examining transition and vocational pathways in ASD: Perspectives of individuals with ASD andparents.. L Zwaigenbaum; M Clarke; R Zulla; W Mitchell; T Jubenville; Carly A McMorris; David Nicholas; S Hodgetts; Katelyn Lowe. (2016)
  • Pharmacotherapy and medication appropriateness in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). J. Hudson; B. L. Ncube; C. A. McMorris; X. Liu; J. Lake; J Bebkko. (2014)
  • The relationship between social competence and bullying victimization experiences in children and adolescents with ASD and typical development. J Weiss; J Bebko; Carly McMorris; S Dhala; D Pepler; J Schroeder; M Cappadocia. (2010)
  • Crisis in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.. J K Lake; Y Lunsky; Carly A McMorris. (2013)
  • Evaluating need and reduction in parental stress with Autism Ontario’s March break and summer program funding. O* Jon; J Schroeder; J Bebko; Carly McMorris; Kontosic G; M Spolestra. (2013)
  • The diagnostic process in children and adolescents with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder:Change in diagnoses over time. J H Schroeder; Carly A McMorris; J M Bebko. (2013)
  • Level of parents satisfaction with the Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostic process:Implications for early diagnosis and intervention. J H Schroeder; J M Bebko; Cox EA.*; Carly A McMorris. (2013)
  • Predictors of inpatient admission for individuals with and without autism spectrum disorders. Y Lunsky; A Palucka; Carly McMorris; P Raina. (2012)
  • Intermodal perception and attention shifting in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.. J Bebko; Carly McMorris. (2012)
  • Predictors of inpatient admission for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.. Y Lunsky; Carly A McMorris; A Palucka; P Raina. (2011)
  • Efficacy of crisis services: Perspectives of families and staff. J Weiss; Carly A McMorris; G Cappalletti; Y Lunsky. (2010)
  • Iconic memory in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J. M. Bebko; C. A. McMorris; L. Hancock. (2010)
  • An analysis of response times on a short-term memory task in children with ASD. F. Mak; C. A. McMorris; S. Brown; J. M. Bebko. (2010)
  • Evaluation of the York University Asperger Mentorship Program. Carly McMorris; the York; J Bebko; L Hancock; M Ames. (2010)
  • Iconic memory: Examining the visual information processing abilities of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. L Hancock; Carly McMorris; J Bebko. (2010)
  • The Influence of background noise on the intermodal perception of speech in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An eye-tracking task.. J Bebko; L Hancock; Carly McMorris. (2010)
  • Speed of responding in ASDs: A look at the first seconds of processing. S Brown; J Bebko; Carly McMorris. (2010)
  • Positive parenting experiences in parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. . J A Weiss; Carly A McMorris; Y Lunsky; A Tint. (2011)
  • Examining the criterion-related validity of the PDD-BI. M Ebrahimi; A Perry; Carly McMorris. (2011)
  • Social support in post-secondary students with autism spectrum disorder.. Ncube, B., Shaikh, K., Ames, M., McMorris, C. A., & Bebko, J.M. . (2018)
  • Mental health issues in post-secondary students with autism spectrum disorder: Experiences in accessing services. . McMorris, C.A., Baraskewich, J., Ames, M., Ncube, B., Shaikh, K., & Bebko, J.M.. (2018)
  • Internalizing mental health issues in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders: Implications for practitioners.. Baraskewich, J. & McMorris, C.A. . (2019)
  • Characterizing adverse prenatal and postnatal experience in children.. Lebel, C., McMorris, C.A., Ritter, C., Kar, P, Andre, Q., Tortorelli, C., & Gibbard, W.B.. (2019)
  • Learning with individual-interest outcomes in autism spectrum disorder.. Schuetze, M., Cho, I.K., Vinette, S., Rivard, K.B., Rohr, C.S., Ten Eycke, K., Cozma, A., McMorris, C.A., McCrimmon, A., Dewey, D., & Bray, S.L.. (2019)
  • Prescriptions for alpha agonists and antipsychotics in children and youth with tic disorders: A pharmacoepidemiologic study. . Cothros, N., Martino, D., McMorris, C.A., Stweart, D., Tehrani, A., & Pringsheim, T. . (2019)
  • Roles of the underlying cause of delivery and gestational age on long-term child health.. Cairncross, Z.F., Chaput, K.H., McMorris, C.A., Ospina, M., Brown, H.K. & Metcalfe, A. . (2020)
  • Suicidality in children and youth with and without autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review of existing risk assessment tools. Howe, S., Hewitt, K., Baraskewich, J., Cassidy, S., & McMorris, C.A. . (2020)
  • Different brain profiles in children with prenatal alcohol exposure with or without early adverse exposures.. Andre, Q., McMorris, C.A., Ritter, C., Kar, P., Gibbard, B., Tortorelli, C., & Lebel, C. . (2020)
  • Commentary: Totality of the evidence suggests prenatal cannabis exposure does not lead to cognitive impairments: A systematic and critical review. . Chaput, K., Lebel, C. & McMorris, C.A.. (2020)
  • Who is treating ARFID, and how? The need for training for community clinicians.. Magel, C., Hewitt, K., Dimitropoulos, G., von Ranson, K., & McMorris, C.A.. (2020)
  • Perception of Implementing Facing Your Fears in Hospital and Community Organizations.. Berlanda, L., & McMorris, C.A.. (2021)
  • Supporting autistic adults in postsecondary settings: A systematic review of peer mentorship programs. . . Duerksen, K., Besney, R., Ames, M.**, McMorris, C.A** . (2021)
  • Invited Commentary: Death by Suicide Among People with Autism: Beyond Zebrafish. South, M., Costa, A.P., & McMorris, C.A.. (2021)
  • Psychiatric issues in adults with cerebral palsy. McMorris, C.A., Lake, J., Dobranawski, K., McGarry, C., Wilton, D. Lin, E., Lunsky, Y. & Balogh, R. . (2021)
  • Housing design and modifications for individual intellectual and complex behavioural needs: Scoping review. . Casson, J., Hamdani, Y., Dobranowski, K., Lake, J., McMorris, C.A., Gonzales, A., Lunsky, Y., Balogh, R. (2021)
  • Feeding and eating problems in children and adolescents with autism: A scoping review. . . Baraskewich, J., McCrimmon, A., von Ranson, K., & McMorris, C.A. . (2021)