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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Brenda Gladstone, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children
SickKids Foundation/CIHR New Investigator
Child and Youth Mental Health Research Unit

University of Toronto
Assistant Professor
Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Academic Fellow
Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research

Phone: 416-813-7262
Fax: 416-813-7258
Email: brenda.gladstone@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Child and Youth Mental Health Research Unit

Twitter: @BrendaGladstone

Brief Biography

Brenda Gladstone is a health sociologist with a PhD from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto where she teaches graduate-level courses in an integrated, cross-disciplinary approach to the theory and practice of qualitative research. As a SickKids Foundation/CIHR New Investigator in the Child and Youth Mental Health Research Unit at SickKids she uses innovative methodologies to bring young people’s voices into debates about their care and support needs.

Research Interests

  • Child, youth and family mental health
  • Help-seeking processes
  • Health systems research
  • Mental health literacy
  • Social theory
  • Sociology of childhood
  • Sociology of (mental) health and illness
  • Patient and citizen engagement in research
  • Integrated knowledge translation
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Qualitative analysis  
  • Ethnographic and participatory approaches
  • Arts-based health methods

Research Activities

A new program of research asks how children of parents with mental illnesses manage the challenges of everyday life as they go to school and work and live in their own communities, what they think about the support and services they do receive, and how they would like to be supported if we could do things better in practice.  

This work builds on prior help-seeking research with young people at risk of or experiencing psychosis by engaging young people, clinicians and other decision makers in an integrated knowledge generation and translation process. Qualitative and arts-based methods are used to document young people's help-seeking narratives, asking them to think critically about their own stories, and one another's, and who they would like to share their stories with and why. The research examines how young people acquire further competencies and skills through guided participation and active and meaningful engagement in the research process.

External Funding

2014-2017  HIV serodiscordant couples in Canada: A mixed-methods study of risk management, health and wellbeing for people living with HIV and their partners.
Principal investigator. Calzavara, L., Co-investigators, Allman D., Bisallion L., Bourne A., Burchell A., Conway B., Daftary A., Gladstone B., Landry T., Loutfy M., Masching R., Meili R., Mendelsohn J., Myers T., Routy J., Stewart K., Tharao W., Watchorn J.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research  

2013-2015  (Co) Producing Help-seeking Narratives with Children of Parents with Mental Illnesses.
Principal investigator, Gladstone, B.M., Co-investigators, Boydell, K.M., Davidson, S., Pluznick, R.
SickKids Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, New Investigator Award

2013 -2015  (Co) Producing Narratives on Access to Mental Health Services in Rural Communities: A Participatory Project with Young People Experiencing Psychosis.
Co-Principal investigators, Boydell, K.M., Co-investigators, Gladstone, B.M., Cheng, C., Davidson, S., Stasiulis, E., Volpe, T.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research


  • International Research Development Award, University of Surrey, United Kingdom; University of Malmo (Sweden); and University of Toronto (Canada), Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness (SHI), SHI Foundation Research Development Award, United Kingdom (2013)
  •  New Investigator Travel Award, Institute Community Support Program, Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2012)
  •  Visiting International Research Fellowship Award, the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, United Kingdom (2012)
  •  Inaugural recipient, ‘Methodological Excellence in a Qualitative Doctoral Dissertation Award’, the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, University of Toronto (2011)
  • Graduate Award, The Provincial Centre for Excellence in Child and Youth Mental Health at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (2007-2009)
  • Brain Star Award, Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health & Addiction, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2007)
  • Inaugural Student Travel Award, Institute for Human Development, Child and Youth Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2006)
  • Canada Graduate Scholarship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2004-2007)
  • Research Training Award Competition, (2003-2004), Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children (2003-2004)
  • Research Training Award Competition, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children (2000-2003)
  • Paul Steinhauer Award, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Research on Motivation and Schizophrenia (1998-1999)


Gladstone, B.M., McKeever, P., Seeman, M. and Boydell, K. (2014). Analysis of a support group for children of parents with mental illnesses: Managing stressful situations. Qualitative Health Research. 24(9): 1171-1182. doi: 10.1177/1049732314528068

Boydell, K.M., Volpe, T., Gladstone, B.M., Stasiulis, E. and Addington, J. (2013). Youth at ultra-high risk for developing psychosis: Using the revised network episode model to examine pathways to mental health care. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. 7(2):170-186. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2012.00350.x

Archie, S., Boydell, K.M., Stasiulis, E., Volpe, T. and Gladstone, B.M. (2012). The complex interplay of substance use and service delivery: the perspective of young people treated for a first-episode psychosis. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, S6(1):29.

Boydell, K.M., Volpe, T., Stasiulis, E., Gladstone, B.M. and Addington, J. (2012). Using the network episode model to highlight the complexity of help-seeking service. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, S6(1):36.

Gladstone, B.M., Volpe, T., Stasiulis, E. and Boydell, K.M. (2012). Judging quality in arts-based health research: The case of the ugly baby. International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interprofessional Practice. Spring Supplementary Issue. Issue 11.

Boydell, K.M., Volpe, T., Cox, S., Katz, A., Dow, R., Brunger, F., Parsons, J., Belliveau, G., Gladstone, B.M., Zlotnik Shaul, R., Cook, S., Kamensek, O., Lafreniere, D. and Wong, L. (2012). Ethical challenges in arts-based health research. International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interprofessional Practice. Spring Supplementary Issue. 11.

Boydell, K.M., Gladstone, B.M., Volpe, T., Allemang, B. and Stasiulis, E. (2012). The production and dissemination of knowledge: A scoping review of arts-based health research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforchung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research. 13(1), Art. 32. 

Gladstone, B.M., Boydell, K.M., Seeman, M. and McKeever, P. (2011). Children’s experiences of parental mental illness: A literature review. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. 5: 271-289.  doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2011.00287.x

Boydell, K.M., Stasiulis, E., Volpe, T. and Gladstone, B.M. (2010). A descriptive review of qualitative studies in first episode psychosis. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. 4(1):7-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2009.00154.x.

Gladstone, B.M., Volpe, T. and Boydell, K.M. (2007). Issues encountered in a qualitative secondary analysis of help-seeking in the prodrome to psychosis. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. 34(4):431-442.

Boydell, K.M., Gladstone, B. and Volpe, T. (2006). Understanding help seeking delay in the prodrome: Perspectives of young people. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. 30(1):54-60.

Gladstone, B.M., Boydell, K.M. and McKeever, P. (2006). Recasting research into children’s experiences of parental mental illness: Beyond risk and resilience. Social Science and Medicine. 62:2540-2550.

Boydell, K.M. and Gladstone, B.M. (2002). The knowledge resource base: Beginning the dialogue. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health. 21(1):19-33.

Boydell, K.M., Gladstone, B.M. and Crawford, E.  (2002). The dialectics of friendship for people with serious mental illness. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. 26(2):121-129.

Boydell, K.M., Gladstone, B.M., Crawford, E. and Trainor, J.  (1999). Making do on the outside: People with serious mental illness accommodating to their neighbourhood.  Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal.  23(1):11-18.