Dr. Andrea Breen

Associate Professor of Family Relations Human Development, University of Guelph

I am Co-Founder/Co-Director of the new FIDO (Families Interacting with Dogs) research group. Our work focuses on the intersections of risk and well-being of humans and dogs in family relationships. WE ARE RECRUITING GRADUATE STUDENTS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN DOG-HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS IN FAMILY CONTEXTS!

I am an ISCP-certified dog trainer and a graduate of the Aggression in Dogs Master Course (with Michael Shikashio).I am currently completing the Advanced Diploma in Canine Psychology and Behaviour (ISCP).

ABCs 4 Dogs is an educational initiative that focuses on raising Awareness of dog welfare and links with human social justice issues, changing Behaviour so that dogs and humans can live better lives together, and nurturing strong, joyful Connection in human-dog relationships. ABCs 4 Dogs launched in Summer 2020 with online camps for “dog crazy kids” in partnership with Link Coalition Toronto . In Spring 2021 we will be adding behaviour support for families, with an emphasis on creating dog-human relationships that foster well-being for the whole family.

Research on Families, Relationships & Well-being

I have led education and mental health initiatives for children, youth and families in schools, children’s mental health centres, and detention settings. My educational background includes a B.Ed. in Secondary Education (McGill University), Ed.M. in Risk and Prevention (Harvard Graduate School of Education), and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology & Education (University of Toronto).

I am Principal Investigator for the collaborative SSHRC-funded project, Young Carers Coming of Age: Transitions in the Context of the Caregiving Relationship and the Caregiving during COVID-19 study. Recent collaborations with colleagues in Applied Human Nutrition have focused on investigating family relationships and children’s nutritional health.

Storytelling in Research

Building on my early work in the area of storytelling and identity development, my current research also includes a focus on storytelling and de-colonizing research methodologies. Along with Shawn Wilson and Lindsay DuPré, I am co-editor of the book, Research and Reconciliation: Unsettling Ways of Knowing through Indigenous Relationships. I am currently a collaborator on the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership and a member of the SHARK Social Research Network, which uses Indigenous and western methodologies to promote well-being and social justice.

Andrea Breen Consulting Inc.

With a talented team of (mostly) former students, my consulting work with businesses and non-profits has ranged from designing science-based educational content for a parenting app in Austin, Texas to leading program evaluation for digital literacy and filmmaking programs with First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada.


Courses Taught: Youth Risk and Resilience; Parenting and Intergenerational Relationships; Adolescent Development; Human Development; Introduction to Human Services; Practicum in Child, Youth and Family; Practicum in Adult Development; Parenting and Intergenerational Relationships; and Emotional and Behavioural Problems in the Classroom (at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education); Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Family Relations and Human Development; Theorizing in Family Relations and Human Development; Social Development in Childhood and Adolescence; and Evidence-Based Practice and Knowledge Translation.



S. Wilson, A.V. Breen, A.V. & L. Du Pré (Eds.) (2019). Research and Reconciliation: Unsettling Ways of Knowing through Indigenous Relationships. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press. 

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

Breen, A.V. (2020). Lesson from my dogs: Reflections on animal rights and dog training. Journal of the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants, 18. https://winter2020.iaabcjournal.org/reflections-on-animal-rights-and-dog-training/

*Myrie, R., Breen, A.V. & Ashbourne, L. (under review). “Finding my Blackness, finding my rhythm: Music and identity development in African, Caribbean, and Black Emerging Adults.

Breen, A.V. & Chalmers, H. (in press). Becoming resilient in Covid-19. Child and Youth Services.

Rice, C., Dion, S., Fowlie, H. & Breen, A.V. (2020). Identifying and working through settler ignorance. Critical Studies in Education. DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2020.1830818

Walton, K., Breen, A, V., Gruson-Wood, J., Jewell, K., Haycraft, E. & Haines, J. (2020). Dishing on Dinner: A life course approach to understanding the family meal context among families with preschoolers.  Public Health Nutrition. DOI: 10.1017/s1368980020001779

Breen, A. V., Scott, C., & McLean, K. C. (2019). The “stuff” of narrative identity: Touring big and small stories in emerging adults’ dorm rooms. Qualitative Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/qup0000158

Areguy, F., Mock, S., Breen, A.V., Van Rhijn, T. & Wilson, K. (2019). Communal orientation, benefit-finding and coping among young carers. Journal of Child and Youth Services. 

Walton, K., Horton, N.J., Rifas-Shiman, A., Field, E., Austin, S. B., Haycraft, E., Breen, A. V., & Haines, J. (2018). Exploring the role of family functioning in the association between frequency of family dinners and dietary intake among adolescents and young adults. JAMA Network Open. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.5217

Walton, K., Haycraft, E., Jewell, K., Breen, A. V., Simpson, J. R., & Haines, J. (2019). The Family Mealtime Observation Study (FaMOS): Exploring the Role of Family Functioning in the Association Between Mothers’ and Fathers’ Food Parenting Practices and Children’s Nutrition Risk.  Nutrients.

Ingram, C. M., Breen, A.V. & van Rhijn, T. (2019). Teaching for well-being? Introducing mindfulness in an undergraduate course. Journal of Further and Higher Education.  DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2017.1409343

Breen, A.V., Twigger, K., Duvieusart-Dery, C., Boulé, J., Borgo, A., et al. (2018). We learn by doing: Teaching and learning Knowledge Translation skills at the graduate level. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 9.  

Walton, K., Kuczynski, L., Haycraft, E., Breen, A.V., & Haines, J. (2017). Time to re-think picky eating? A relational approach to understanding picky eating. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14. Time to Re-Think Picky Eating? A Relational Approach to Understanding Picky Eating. DOI: 10.1186/s12966-017-0520-0.

Cairney, K. & Breen, A.V. (2017). Listening to their lives: Learning through narrative in an undergraduate practicum course. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. DOI: 10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2017.3.3

Breen, A.V. McLean, K.C., Cairney, K. & McAdams, D. P. (2016, September 19). Movies, books and identity: Exploring the narrative ecology of the self. Qualitative Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/qup0000059

Breen, A. V. (2014).  Changing behavior and changing personal identity: The case of pregnant and parenting young women and antisocial behavior. Identity, 14 (1), 60-79.  

Sutherland, O. A., Lewis, S., & Breen, A.V. (2013).  Discursive narrative analysis: A study of online autobiographical accounts of self-injury. Qualitative Report, 18, 1-17.

Breen, A. V., Lewis, S. P., & Sutherland, O. (2013). Brief report: Non-suicidal self-injury in the context of self and identity development. Journal of Adult Development, 20, 57-62.

McLean, K.C., Wood, B., & Breen, A. V. (2013). Reflecting on a difficult life: Narrative construction in vulnerable adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 28, 431-452.

McLean, K.C., Breen, A.V., & Fournier, M.A. (2010). Constructing the self in early, middle, and late adolescent boys: Narrative identity, individuation, and well-being. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 166-187.

McLean, K.C. & Breen, A.V. (2009). Processes and content of narrative identity development in adolescence: Gender and well-being. Developmental Psychology, 45, 702-710.

Book Chapters

Wilson, S., Breen, A.V., & DuPré, L. (in press). Mining for Culture or Researching for Justice? Unsettling Psychology through Indigenist Conversation. In K. C. McLean (Ed). Cultural methods in psychology: Describing and transforming cultures. Oxford University Press.

Breen, A.V. (2020). You do not belong here: Storying allyship in an ugly sweater. In S. Wilson, A.V. Breen & L. DuPré (Eds.). Research and reconciliation: Unsettling ways of knowing through Indigenous relationships. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

Breen, A. V. & McLean, K. C. (2017). The intersection of personal and master narratives: Is redemption for everyone? In B. Schiff, E., McKim, & S. Patron (Eds.), Life and Narrative: The Risks and Responsibilities of Storying Experience (pp. 197-213). Oxford University Press.

McLean, K. C. & Breen, A. V. (2016). Selves in a world of stories during emerging adulthood. In J. Arnett (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Emerging Adulthood (385-420). New York: Oxford University Press.

Contact: abreen@uoguelph.ca