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Heather Prime

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Dr. Prime’s research program uses a family-based approach to understanding and supporting socio-emotional and cognitive development in young children, with a focus on family interactions and relationships. She is interested in risk and resiliency processes that occur involving social disadvantage, parent and family wellbeing, and children’s adjustment. Current activities include: (1) The development and evaluation of family-based early intervention programs; (2) Knowledge synthesis activities used to examine pre-existing literature on early family-based interventions; (3) The development of family-based assessment tools; and (4) Secondary analysis of pre-existing datasets in order to better understand processes of change in early childhood development.


Department: Psychology
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Published Manuscripts (Select Publications)

Anderson, N., Graham, S., Prime, H., Jenkins, J., & Madigan, S. (in press). Linking quality and quantity of parental linguistic input to child language skills: A meta-analysis. Child Development.

Prime, H., Andrews, K., McTavish, J., Harris, M., Janus, M., Bennett, T., & Gonzalez, A. (2020). The application of positive parenting interventions to academic school readiness: A scoping review. Child: Care, Health and Development.

Wade, M., Prime, H., & Browne, D.T. (2020). Why we need longitudinal mental health research with children and youth during (and after) the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatry Research.

Prime, H., Wade, M., & Browne, D.T. (2020). Risk and resilience in family well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. American Psychologist, 75(5), 631-643.

Harris, M., Andrews K., Gonzalez A., Prime H., Atkinson L. (2020). Technology-assisted parenting interventions for high-risk families: A meta-analysis. Prevention Science, 21. 714-727.

Browne, D., May, S., Hurst-Della, P., Christakis, D., Asamoah, T., Hale, L., … Neville, R. (2019). From “Screen Time” to the digital level of analysis: Protocol for a scoping review of digital media use in children and adolescence. BMJ Open.

Prime, H., Wade, M., & Gonzalez, A. (2019). The link between maternal and child verbal abilities: An indirect effect through maternal responsiveness. Developmental Science,

*Madigan, S., *Prime, H., Graham, S., Rodrigues, M., Anderson, N., Khoury, J., & Jenkins, J. (2019). Parenting behaviour and language development: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics144, e20183556

*Co-first authors, listed alphabetically

Wade, M., Prime, H., Jenkins, J.M.. Yeates, K.O., Williams, T., & Lee, K. (2018). On the relation between theory of mind and executive functioning: A developmental cognitive neuroscience perspective. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1-22.

Browne, D., Wade, M., Prime, H., & Jenkins, J. (2018). School readiness amongst urban Canadian families: Risk profiles and family mediation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110(1),133.

Pauker, S., Perlman, M., Prime, H., & Jenkins, J. (2018). Caregiver cognitive sensitivity: Measure development and validation in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings. Early Childhood Research Quarterly45, 45-57.

Wade, M., Prime, H., Hoffmann, T., Schmidt, L., O'Connor, T., & Jenkins, J. (2018). Birth weight interacts with a functional variant of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene to predict executive functioning in children. Development and Psychopathology, 30, 203-211.

Prime, H., Plamondon, A., & Jenkins, J. (2017). Birth order and preschool children’s cooperative abilities: A within family analysis. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 35, 392-405

Rodrigues, M., Binnoon-Erez, N., Prime, H., Perlman, M., & Jenkins, J. (2017). Familial risk and sibling mentalization: Links with preschoolers’ internalizing problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 31, 785.

Pauker, S., Perlman, M., Prime, H., & Jenkins, J. (2017). Differential parenting and children's social understanding. Social Development. 26, 645-657.

Browne, D. T., Leckie, G., Prime, H., Perlman, M., & Jenkins, J. M. (2016). Observed sensitivity during family interactions and cumulative risk: A study of multiple dyads per family. Developmental Psychology52, 1128.

Prime, H., Plamondon, A., Pauker, S., Perlman, M., & Jenkins, J. M. (2016). Sibling cognitive sensitivity as a moderator of the relationship between sibship size and children’s theory of mind: A longitudinal analysis.Cognitive Development,39, 93.

Wade, M., Prime, H., & Madigan, S. (2015). Using sibling designs to understand neurodevelopmental disorders: From genes and environments to prevention programming.BioMed Research International.

Browne, D. T., Plamondon, A., Prime, H., Puente-Duran, S., & Wade, M. (2015). Cumulative risk and developmental health: An argument for the importance of a family-wide science. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science6,

Prime, H., Browne, D., Akbari, E., Wade, M., Madigan, S., & Jenkins, J. (2015). The development of a measure of maternal cognitive sensitivity appropriate for use in primary care health settings.Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry,56, 488.

Prime, H., Pauker, S., Plamondon, A., Perlman, M., & Jenkins, J. (2014). Sibship size, sibling cognitive sensitivity, & children’s receptive vocabulary. Pediatrics133.

Prime, H., Perlman, M., Tackett, J., & Jenkins, J. (2014). Cognitive sensitivity in sibling interactions: Development of the construct and comparison of two coding methodologies. Early Education and Development, 25,

Browne, D., Prime, H., & Wade, M. (2012). Contemporary systems psychology and integrated approaches to school and service delivery: Reincarnations of Lightner Witmer's "Psychological Clinic". Journal of Scientific Psychology, 102-115.