Andrea Breen

Andrea Breen, Associate Professor, FRHD
Associate Professor, FRHD
Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x53967
Macdonald Institute, Room 233

Research Interests: Dog-human relationships; Narrative, anti-colonial, and posthumanist research methodologies; Family caregiving; Narrative identity

Area: Family Relations and Human Development

Description of Research: 

I am Director of the new FIDO research lab, which aims to expand notions of family to include non-human animals and to investigate the intersections of human and canine well-being. I am Principal Investigator of the SSHRC-funded study, Family Care Work in Interspecies Homeswhich examines reciprocal care practices in dog-human relationships. This research project launched in Summer 2022 with 4 aims: (1) To better understand experiences of family caregiving in the context of interspecies (dog-human) families; (2) To take dogs seriously as sentient, agentic beings who meaningfully contribute to family life; (3) To contribute to methodological advancement in multispecies research; and (4) To explore the potential of engagement with arts-based and posthumanist methods for improving dog-human relationships.

I am a white settler and my work includes a focus on decolonial approaches to research. Along with Shawn Wilson and Lindsay DuPré,I am a co-editor of the (2019) book, Research and Reconciliation: Unsettling Ways of Knowing through Indigenous Relationships. We are currently at work co-authoring a new book on visiting as Indigenist methodology.

My research also includes an emphasis on "young carers". I was 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 studies that concluded in May 2022. 

My research has also included a focus on narrative identity and well-being. I am especially interested in story-sharing and identity development as resistance to oppression and structural violence. I am the Principal Investigator for a 1-year research project focused on developing more inclusive methods in narrative research (funded by the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences Growth Fund).

I completed my Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. I hold a Masters degree in Risk and Prevention from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Education from McGill University. I spent several years working in the area of youth mental health and violence prevention. I have also spent several years developing my knowledge and understanding of dogs in preparation to engage in research on dog-human relationships; I completed my dog training certification and the Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour through the International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour (ISCP). 

Accepting graduate students:

Fall 2023: I may be accepting 1 or 2 students who have a keen interest in dog-human relationships.

Van Patter, L., Linares-Roake, J. & Breen, A.V. (in press). What does One Health want? Feminist, post-human, and anti-colonial possibilities. One Health Outlook. 

Iacobucci, M., Smoliak, O., & Breen, A.V. (2022). The experiences of young sibling caregivers: A qualitative study. Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, 14.

Myrie, R., Breen, A. V., & Ashbourne, L. (2021). “Finding my Blackness, finding my rhythm”: Music and identity development in African, Caribbean and Black young adults. Emerging Adulthood.

Wilson, S., Breen, A.V., & DuPré, L. (2021). 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). Lessons from my dogs: Reflections on animal rights and dog training. Journal of the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants, 18.

Breen, A.V. & Chalmers, H. (2020). Building resilience 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

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

Breen, A.V. (2019). 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., Scott, C., & McLean, K. C. (2019). The “stuff” of narrative identity: Touring big and small stories in emerging adults’ dorm rooms. Qualitative Psychology.

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, 40, 1-20.

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

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:

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.

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.

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). Movies, books and identity: Exploring the narrative ecology of the self. Qualitative Psychology.

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.