University of Calgary

Carly McMorris

  • Associate Professor


Dr. Carly McMorris has a PhD in Clinical-Developmental Psychology from York University (Toronto, Ontario). She completed her clinical internship at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids; Toronto, Ontario), and is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta (#4997). In the fall of 2015, she moved to Calgary and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Paediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Dr. McMorris joined the Werklund School of Education in 2016 as an Assistant Professor in the School and Applied Child Psychology program.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Dr. McMorris’ research focuses on how to improve the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), such as autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), and cerebral palsy (CP). She is particularly interested in understanding why a number of children with autism are at heightened risk for experiencing mental health issues. Specifically, she investigates the biological-psychological and social factors that contribute to mental health issues in children and youth with NDDs, and how such issues impact children and families. She also examines ways to effectively treat mental health issues in children and youth with NDDs through modified psychological treatments, such as cognitive behaviour therapy. Lastly, she aims to identify ways to prevent mental health issues from developing through peer mentorship programs and inclusion in sport and physical activity (e.g., Special Olympics).


PhD: Clinical-Developmental Psychology (2015)
York University

Masters of Arts: Clinical-Developmental Psychology (2009)
York University

Bachelor of Arts (Hons): Psychology (2006)
University of Calgary

Professional & Community Affiliations

Given Dr. McMorris’ broad research and clinical interests, she has affiliations with a variety of professional and community organizations related to child psychology, typical and atypical development, autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

  • College of Alberta Psychologists, Registered Psychologist
  • Canadian Psychological Association & Psychologists' Association of Alberta, Member
  • Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Full Member
  • Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), Full Member
  • Mathison Centre for Mental Health, Research and Educatiion, University of Calgary, Associate Member
  • Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), Associate Member
  • O'Brien Institute for Public Health, Associate Member
  • International Society for Autism Research, Member
  • Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Member

Selected Publications (selected last 2 years)

Andre, Q., McMorris, C.A., Ritter, C.*, Kar, P., Gibbard, B., Tortorelli, C., & Lebel, C. (accepted). Different brain profiles in children with prenatal alcohol exposure with or without early adverse exposures. Human Brain Mapping.


Howe, S.*, Hewitt, K.*, Baraskewich, J.,*, Cassidy, S., & McMorris, C.A. (published online). Suicidality in children and youth with and without autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review of existing risk assessment tools. Journal on Autism and Developmental Disorders.


Cairncross, Z., Chaput, K., McMorris, C.A., Ospina, M., & Metcalfe, A. (published online). Impact of the underlying cause of preterm and term births on long-term child health. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.


Cothros, N., Martino, D., McMorris, C.A., Stweart, D., Tehrani, A., & Pringsheim, T. (2019).  Prescriptions for alpha agonists and antipsychotics in children and youth with tic disorders: A pharmacoepidemiologic study. Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements, 9. doi:10.7916/tohm.v0.645.


Schuetze, M., Cho, I.K., Vinette, S., Rivard, K.B., Ten Eycke, K., McMorris, C.A., McCrimmon, A., Dewey, D., & Bray, S.L. (2019). Intact reward response towards restricted interests in ASD during reinforcement. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 38, 1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100668.


Lebel, C., McMorris, C.A., Ritter, C.*, Kar, P, Andre, Q., Tortorelli, C., & Gibbard, W.B. (2019). Characterizing adverse prenatal and postnatal experience in children. Birth Defects Research, 111 (12), 848-858. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1464


Baraskewich, J.* & McMorris, C.A. (2019). Internalizing mental health issues in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders: Implications for practitioners. Current Reports on Developmental Disorders, 6(1), 1-18. doi: 10.1007/s40474-019-0154-9


McMorris, C.A., Baraskewich, J.*, Ames, M., Ncube, B., Shaikh, K., & Bebko, J.M. (2018). Mental health issues in post-secondary students with autism spectrum disorder: Experiences in accessing services. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 17 (3), 585-595. doi: 10.1007/s11469-018-9988-3


Ncube, B., Shaikh, K., Ames, M., McMorris, C. A., & Bebko, J.M. (2018). Social support in post-secondary students with autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 17 (3), 573-584. doi: 10.1007/s11479-018-9972-y





  • 2020 Werklund School of Education Early Career Research Award
  • 2017-2021 Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship (PhD Student: Jessica Baraskewich)
  • 2015-2018 Alberta Health Innovates Solutions (AIHS) Postgraduate Fellowship
  • 2012 Canadian Departments of Psychology (CCDP) – Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2011-2012 Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
  • 2010-2011 Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
  • 2009-2010 Ontario College of Graduate Students (OCGS) – Autism Scholar Doctoral Award
  • 2007-2008 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) – Canadian Graduate Scholarship (CGS)

Current Projects (selected)

1) Facing Your Fears: Improving the Mental Health Services of Children and Youth with Neurodevelopmental Disorders 
Role: Principal Investigator 
Funded by: Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation
Dates of project: 2019-2024
2) Suicidality in children and youth with autism
Role: Principal investigating
Funded by: Multiple sources
Dates of Project: 2019-2022
3) Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Caregivers and Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Effectiveness of a 6-week Virtual 
Mindfulness-Based Intervention
Role: Principal Investigator 
Funded by: Multiple sources
Dates of Project: 2020-2022
4) Anxiety and Depression in Youth with Cerebral Palsy: Role of Physiological Risk Factors (CEREBRUM)
Role: Principal Investigator
Funded by: HBI Robertson Fund for CP Research
Dates of Project: 2017-2018
5) Brain Development and Internalizing Symptoms in Youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Role: Co-Investigator
Funded by: Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)
Dates of Project: 2019-2024
6) Peer Mentorship Program Promoting Well-Being and Mental Health: Supporting University Students with Autism 
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Funded by: Multiple Sources
Dates of Project: 2019-2021


EDPS 685: Child and Adolescent Counselling 

EDPS 763: School and Clinic-Based Interventions 

Graduate Student Supervision

Dr. McMorris is currently accepting Masters and PhD students for Fall of 2021. If you are interested in working with her, it is highly recommended that you connect with Dr. McMorris prior to the application deadline

Photograph of Carly McMorris
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