Karen A. Patte, PhD

Assistant Professor, Health Sciences

Office: STH 319
905 688 5550 x3882
kpatte@brocku.ca

My research primarily focuses on youth mental health. Applying socioecological framework and systems sciences approaches, I am interested in the psychosocial, behavioural, and environmental predictors of mental health and ill-health. My goal is to advance understanding of how different contexts and exposures shape mental health trajectories over time, to inform more effective preventative practice, policy, and programs. 

I draw from my training in both psychology and public healthI completed a MA and PhD in Kinesiology and Health Science and a Doctoral Diploma in Health Psychology at York University, a Mental Health and Addictions counselling graduate certificate, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. My experience spans from clinical front-line counselling for severe-and-enduring mental illness and substance use disorders, to my early research on psychogenetic risk factors for obesity and eating disorders, to my more recent population-level primary prevention and health promotion research.  

I was awarded a 3-year New Investigator Research grant funded by SickKids Foundation and SickKids Hospital and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Our team is exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health trajectories of Canadian youth over timeThis study builds on my 3-year CIHR Project Grant (with Co-PI Dr. Scott Leatherdale) for the longitudinal implementation of the mental health module within the COMPASS study, the largest, most comprehensive, longitudinal and hierarchical population-level study on youth mental health in Canada.  

  • Mental health and substance use
  • Obesity, eating disorders, unhealthy weight control behaviours, and weight perceptions
  • Weight stigma/bias
  • School health
  • Public health programs and policy
  • Movement behaviours (sleep, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour)

Murphy J*Patte KA, Sullivan P, Leatherdale ST. Exploring the Association between Sport Participation and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in a sample of Canadian High School Students. Accepted for publication in the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology on December 30, 2020. 

Gilchrist J, Battista K, Patte KA, Faulkner G, Carson V, Leatherdale ST. Effects of Reallocating Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviors, and Sleep on Mental Health: A Cross-Sectional Examination of Canadian Adolescents in the COMPASS Study. Accepted for publication in Mental Health and Physical Activity on December 22, 2020. 

Patte KA, Gohari M, Leatherdale ST. Ethnic differences in school connectedness among youth. Accepted for publication in Multicultural Education Review December 2020. 

Doan N*, Romano I*, Butler A*, Laxer RE, Patte KA, Leatherdale ST. Weight control intentions and mental health among adolescents: a gender-based analysis. Accepted to Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada: Research, Policy and Practice (the HPCDP journal) on December 10, 2020. 

Patte KA, Cole A, Qian W, Magier M*, Vine M, Leatherdale ST. Are closed campus policies associated with youth eating behaviours? Accepted for publication in the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada: Research, Policy and Practice (the HPCDP journal) on November 20, 2020. 

Romano I*, Ferro MA, Patte KA, Diener E, Leatherdale ST. Measurement invariance of the Flourishing Scale among a large sample of Canadian adolescents. IJERPH. 2020;17(21):7800.  

Doan N*, Patte KA, Ferro MA, Leatherdale ST. Reluctancy towards help-seeking for mental health concerns at secondary school among students in the COMPASS study. IJERPH 2020, 17, 7128 

Livermore M*, Leatherdale ST, Duncan MJ*, Patte KA. Weight status, weight perception, and academic performance among youth. Journal of Eating Disorders 2020;8:52.  

Weatherson K, Gierc M, Patte K, Qian W, Leatherdale S, Faulkner G. Complete mental health status and association with physical activity, screen time, and sleep in youth. Mental Health and Physical Activity 2020;19:100354. 

Duncan MJ*, Patte KA, Leatherdale ST. Hit the chronic… physical activity: are cannabis associated mental health changes in adolescents attenuated by physical activity? Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2020; Available online ahead of print Nov 5, 2020. DOI: 10.1007/s00127-020-01900-1  

Magier M*, Patte KA, Battista K*, Cole AG, Leatherdale ST. Are school substance use policy violation disciplinary consequences associated with student engagement in cannabis? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2020;17(15):5549.

Duncan MJ*, Patte KA, Leatherdale ST. Hit the chronic… physical activity: are cannabis associated mental health changes in adolescents attenuated by physical activity? Accepted for publication in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology in June 2020.

Faulkner G, Weatherson K, Patte K, Qian W, Leatherdale ST. Are one-year changes in adherence to the 24-hour movement guidelines associated with flourishing among Canadian youth? Preventive Medicine 2020;139:106179.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106179

Patte KA, Faulkner G, Qian W, Duncan M*, Leatherdale ST. Are one-year changes in adherence to the 24-hour movement guidelines associated with depressive symptoms among youth? BMC Public Health 2020;20:793.

Patte KA, Qian W, Leatherdale ST. Predictors of one-year change in how youth perceive their weight. Journal of Obesity 2020; article ID:7396948: 15 pages. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/7396948

Probst C, Elton-Marshall T, Imtiaz S, Patte KA, Rehn J, Sornpaisarn B, Leatherdale ST. A supportive school setting may reduce the risk of non-medical prescription opioid use due to impaired mental health among students. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Online ahead of print 2020 Mar 25. doi: 10.1007/s00787-020-01518-3.

Holligan S, Qian W, de Groh M, Jiang Y, Patte KA, Battista K*, Leatherdale ST. Binge Drinking and Educational Participation among Youth in the COMPASS Host Study (Year 5: 2016/2017): School Connectedness and Flourishing as Compensatory Factors. Canadian Journal of Family and Youth 2020;12(3):55-77. Doi: https://doi.org/10.29173/cjfy29550

Vine MM, Butler A*, Harrington D, Patte KA, Godin K, Leatherdale ST. An evaluation of secondary school nutrition policy compliance using vending machine data from the COMPASS study in Ontario and Alberta, Canada. SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health 2020. doi: 10.4135/9781529718270

Romano I*, Butler A, Patte KA, Ferro MA, Leatherdale ST. High school bullying and mental disorder: an examination of the association with flourishing and emotional regulation. International Journal of Bullying Prevention 2019. Available online 3 August 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42380-019-00035-5

Romano I*, Williams G*, Butler A, Aleyan S, Patte K, Leatherdale ST. Psychological and behavioural correlates of cannabis use among Canadian secondary school students Findings from the COMPASS Study. Canadian Journal of Addiction 2019;10(3):10-21. DOI: 10.1097/CXA.0000000000000058

Butler A*, Romano I*, Patte KA, Ferro MA, de Groh M, Jiang Y, Leatherdale ST. Psychological correlates and binge drinking behaviours among Canadian youth: a cross-sectional analysis of the mental health pilot data from the COMPASS Study. BMJ Open 2019;9:e028558. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028558.

Patte KA, Qian W, Cole AG, Faulkner G, Chaput J-P, Carson V, Leatherdale ST. School start time changes in the COMPASS study: associations with youth sleep duration, physical activity, and screen time. Sleep Medicine 2018, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2018.09.020.

Butler A*, Patte KA, Ferro M, Leatherdale ST. Interrelationships among depression, anxiety, flourishing, and cannabis use in youth. Addictive Behaviors 2019;89:2016-215.

Patte KA, Qian W, Leatherdale, ST. Modifiable predictors of insufficient sleep durations: A longitudinal analysis of youth in the COMPASS study. Preventive Medicine 2018;10:164-170.

Godin, K. M., Patte, K. A., Leatherdale, S. T. Examining predictors of breakfast skipping and school breakfast program use among secondary school students in the COMPASS study. Journal of School Health. 2018;88(2):150-158.

Patte, K. A., Cole, A. G., Qian, W., Leatherdale, S. T. (2017). Youth sleep durations and school start times: a cross-sectional analysis of the COMPASS study. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. 2017;3(6):432-436.

Patte, K. A., Qian, W., Leatherdale, S. T. (2017). Sleep duration trends and trajectories among youth in the COMPASS study. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. 2017;3(5):309-316.

Patte, K. A., Qian, W., Leatherdale, S. (2017). Binge drinking and academic aspirations, engagement, and performance: A longitudinal analysis among secondary school students in the COMPASS study. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada: Research, Policy and Practice, 37(11): 376-385.

Patte, K. A., Qian, W., Leatherdale, S. T. (2017). Is Binge Drinking Onset Timing Related to Academic Performance, Engagement, and Aspirations among Youth in the COMPASS Study? Substance Use and Misuse; 52 (13):1795-1800.

Davis, C., Patte, K., Zai, C., Kennedy, J. L. Polymorphisms of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene (OXTR) and Overeating: The Mediating Role of Endophenotypic Risk Factors. Nutrition and Diabetes 2017;7:e279; doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.24

Patte, K. A., Qian, W., Leatherdale, S. T. Marijuana and alcohol use as predictors of academic aspirations and achievement: a longitudinal analysis among secondary school students in the COMPASS study. Journal of School Health 2017;87(5):310-318.

Patte, K. A., Laxer, R.E., Qian, W., Leatherdale, S. T. An analysis of weight perception and physical activity and dietary behaviours among youth in the COMPASS study. Social Science & Medicine – Population Health 2016;2:841-849.

Vine, M. M., Harrington, D. W., Butler, A., Patte, K., Godin, K., Leatherdale, S. T. Compliance with school nutrition policies in Ontario and Alberta: An assessment of secondary school vending machine data from the COMPASS Study. Can J Public Health 2017;108(1):e43-48.

Patte, K. A., Leatherdale S. T. Are Ontario Secondary School teachers supported in the delivery of healthy eating and weight-related initiatives? Physical Health and Education Journal 2016;82(3). Available at: http://journal.phecanada.ca/issues/169/volume-82-issue-3/are-ontario-secondary-school-staff-trained-and-supported-delivering

Patte, K. A., Laxer, R., Qian, W., Leatherdale, S. T. A cross-sectional analysis of weight perception and weight-control intentions among secondary school students in the COMPASS study. American Journal of Health Behavior 2016;40(5):614-623.

Patte, K. A., Leatherdale, S. T. A cross-sectional analysis examining the association between dieting behaviours and alcohol use among secondary school students in the COMPASS study. Journal of Public Health 2017;39(2):321-329.

Patte, K. A., Davis, C. A., Levitan R. D., Kaplan, A. S., Carter-Major, J., Kennedy, J. L. A behavioural genetic model of the mechanisms underlying the link between obesity and symptoms of ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders 2016. Available online January 21, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054715618793

  • The Mental Health of Children and Youth
  • Physical Activity in Child and Youth Health
  • The Health of Children
  • Experiential Learning in Child Health
  • Member, International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA)
  • Member, Obesity Canada
  • Member, Canadian Public Health Association
  • Member, World Sleep Society
  • Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo
  • Member, Mental Health and Physical Activity Research Centre (MPARC) 
  • MemberInstitute for Lifespan Development Research, Brock University
  • Affiliate MemberBrock Niagara Centre of Excellence in Inclusive and Adaptive Physical Activity 

Funded by CIHR and Health Canada, COMPASS is an ongoing (started in 2012/13) prospective cohort study that uses a hierarchical quasi-experimental design to evaluate how programs, policies, and built environments impact various youth health behavioursoutcomes, and correlates (e.g., substance use [tobacco, vaping, alcohol, cannabis, opioids], mental health, obesity, diet, physical activity, screen time, sleep, bullying) over time. Each year, COMPASS collects longitudinal data from ~70,000 grade 9-12 students and 120+ secondary schools across Canada (Ontario, Alberta, BC, Quebec, Nunavut). 

Funded by CIHR, I led the development and testing of the COMPASS Mental Health Module – a research platform designed to evaluate the real-world effectiveness of school-based mental health interventions. In 2018, I was awarded a 3-year CIHR Project Grant (with Co-PI Dr. Scott Leatherdale) for the longitudinal implementation of the mental health module within the COMPASS study. The project aims to build capacity and provide infrastructure to continually improve programs, policies, and resources for the advancement of youth mental health. The new funding will provide up to 4 years of longitudinal data on youth mental health and relevant school program/policies (following ~70,000 students at 120+ schools across Canada over time), with the added value of being able to study mental health in relation to the other COMPASS domains (e.g., cannabis, physical activity, obesity). 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures, COMPASS shifted from in-school to online data collections. My new SickKids/CIHR grant aims to leverage this prospective youth mental health data from before, during, and after the lockdown, to establish within-individual and sustained effects of ongoing pandemic-related changes. We will also conduct qualitative interviews to explore the nuances around unexpected and expected mental health trajectories and experiences of young people related to COVID-19. Youth engagement components will ensure results and knowledge translation appropriately reflect the complex and dynamic experiences of young people and the unpredictable course of the pandemic. 

Student in hallway

Shaping the direction of youth health

The COMPASS system is a research platform for evaluating natural experiments and generating practice-based evidence in school-based prevention.

COVID-19 Prevention Pixel Colouring Book

Spotless Sammy the Sanitizer helps English speaking school-aged children in grades 5 to 8 learn more about the importance of COVID-19 preventative measures with this pixel colouring book created by students for students.