Heather Sears




Keirstead Hall 217


1 506 458 7122

Other titles

Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies

My research focuses on various aspects of adolescents' development. My primary interest is adolescents' help-seeking behavior, particularly how adolescents' gender and individual and relational characteristics combine to predict this behaviour, and how parents, siblings, and peers socialize adolescents to use help seeking to manage problems. I am also interested in families with adolescents, particularly how parents and youths work through normative events (e.g., talking about sexual health) and non-normative events (e.g., a parent's illness with cancer).


  • BSc (Hons), Acadia University;
  • MA & PhD, University of Victoria;
  • Licensed Psychologist, New Brunswick

Selected publications

Byers, E.S., Sears, H.A., & Hughes, K. (2017, early view). Predicting mother-adolescent sexual communication using the integrative model of behavioral prediction. Journal of Family Issues. DOI: 10.1177/0192513X17698183

Sears, H.A., & McAfee, S.M. (2017, early view). Seeking help from a female friend: Girls' competencies, friendship features, and intentions. Personal Relationships. DOI:10.1111/pere.12180

Byers, E.S., Sears, H.A., & Foster, L.R. (2013). Factors associated with middle school students’ perceptions of the quality of school-based sexual health education. Sex Education, 13, 214-227.

Byers, E.S., & Sears, H.A. (2012). Mothers who do and do not intend to discuss sexual health with their young adolescents. Family Relations, 61, 851-863.

Sears, H.A., (2011). Canada. In J. J. Arnett (Ed.), Adolescent psychology around the world (pp. 165-179). New York: Psychology Press.

Sears, H.A., Graham, J., & Campbell, A. (2009). Adolescent boys’ intentions of seeking help from male friends and female friends. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30, 738-748.


Halamay, T., Robinson, B., & Sears, H.A. (2016, March). Social-cognitive, affective-motivational, and environmental factors predicting youths’ help seeking from their father and mother. Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD.

Sears, H.A. & Halamay, T. (2016, March). Which positive and negative relationship features predict adolescent girls’ help seeking from their mother and a female friend? Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD.

Robinson, B.S., & Sears, H.A. (2015, June). Predictors of adolescent boys seeking help from their father and their mother. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Ottawa, ON.

Byers, E.S., & Sears, H.A. (2014, June). Factors affecting young adolescents’ willingness to be responsive to sexual communication with their mothers. In H. De Graaf (Chair), Childhood sexuality. Symposium presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research, Dubrovnik, Croatia.


  • Undergraduate courses: Adolescent Development, Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, Social Development
  • Graduate courses: Lifespan Psychopathology; Clinical and Developmental Issues in Families