Heather Prime

Assistant Professor

Email address(es):


Web site(s):

Prime Lab

Faculty & School/Dept.

Faculty of Health - Department of Psychology


PhD School and Clinical Child Psychology -
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto


Dr. Prime joined the Department of Psychology at York University in 2020, following a CIHR-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University. Her 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.

Dr. Prime is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario and she is a practicing clinical psychologist in the Greater Toronto Area, with expertise in working with the family unit to support children’s mental health and well-being. As a clinical psychologist, she is committed to using her clinical training to guide her research, and she emphasizes clinical utility in her research endeavors.

Selected Publications

The following are a selection of representative publications of Dr. Prime. Complete and up-to-date list of publications can be found on Google Scholar and/or ResearchGate

Prime, H., Wade, M., May, S.S., Jenkins, J.M., & Browne, D.T. (accepted). The COVID-19 Family Stressor Scale: Validation and Measurement Invariance in Female and Male Caregivers. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 

Wade, M., Prime, H., Johnson, D., May, S. S., Jenkins, J. M., & Browne, D. T. (2021). The disparate impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of female and male caregivers. Social Science & Medicine, 113801.

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.

Prime, H., Wade, M., & Browne, D.T. (2020). Risk and Resilience in Family Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic. American Psychologist.

*Madigan, S., *Prime, H., Graham, S. A., Rodrigues, M., Anderson, N., Khoury, J., & Jenkins, J. M. (2019). Parenting behavior and child language: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 144(4), e20183556. *Co-first authors, listed alphabetically.

Prime, H., Wade, M., & Gonzalez, A. (2019). The link between maternal and child verbal abilities: An indirect effect through maternal responsiveness. Developmental Science, e12907.

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.

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 and Psychiatry, 488-495.

Prime, H., Pauker, S., Plamondon, A., Perlman, M., & Jenkins, J. (2014). Sibship size, sibling cognitive sensitivity, and children’s receptive vocabulary. Pediatrics, e394-e401.


College of Psychologists of Ontario

Canadian Psychological Association

Ontario Psychological Association


Currently available to supervise graduate students: Yes

Currently taking on work-study students, Graduate Assistants or Volunteers: Yes

Available to supervise undergraduate thesis projects: Yes

Current Research

Dr. Prime is interested in risk and resiliency processes involving social disadvantage, parent and family well-being, and children’s development and mental health. Current activities include:

(1) The development and evaluation of family-based early intervention programs, in collaboration with the Family Check Up – Canada team at McMaster University;

(2) Knowledge synthesis activities used to examine pre-existing literature on early family-based interventions (SSHRC funded);

(3) The development of measurement tools for assessing family processes such as interaction patterns and family stress;

(4) Secondary analysis of pre-existing longitudinal datasets in order to better understand social determinants of early childhood development; and;

(5) Examining the ongoing impact of social disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic on family well-being and child adjustment.