Research

*Dr. Breen is currently recruiting graduate students who are interested in critical approaches to human-canine relationships that challenge human-centrism and speciesism.

Narrative Identity

Dr. Andrea Breen’s early research was focused on storytelling, identity and well-being. Her recent narrative research has examined the ways in which identity develops through interaction with stories encountered in books, movies, and other forms of art and media. She is especially interested in story-sharing and identity development as resistance to oppression and structural violence. Her graduate students’ recent research projects have examined narrative identity development and resistance in Muslim and African- Caribbean- and Black-identified young adults. She is currently conducting research with graduate students in Family Relations and Human Development to examine their experiences of personal and professional identity development through artistic and scholarly encounters with critical theory.

Decolonizing Research Methods

Andrea’s research includes a focus on storytelling and de-colonizing research methodologies. Along with Shawn Wilson and Lindsay DuPré, she is co-editor of the book, Research and Reconciliation: Unsettling Ways of Knowing through Indigenous Relationships. She is 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.

Family Relationships & Well-being

Andrea is 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. Her recent collaborations with colleagues in Applied Human Nutrition have focused on investigating family relationships and children’s nutritional health.

Dog-Human Relationships

Along with Lynda Ashbourne, Andrea is the Co-Director of the Families Interacting with Dogs (FIDO) research group. FIDO aims to expand notions of family to include non-human animals and to investigate the intersections of human and canine well-being in family contexts. The FIDO lab is currently conducting a study of the positive and negative impacts of dog ownership on university students’ well-being. Projects in development include a study on dog-human relationships in families with new babies and research examining the experiences of Children’s Aid Society (CAS) workers conducting in-home assessments with dogs present.