Overview

I am a psychologist at BC Children’s Hospital with a broad clinical focus on improving social and emotional functioning in children with chronic illness. Psychological and social factors often interfere with children receiving the most effective health care. For example, anxiety around medical procedures or non-compliance with treatment plans can lead to incomplete or delayed care which can adversely affect a child’s health. Moreover, these issues create stress and waste time for families and health care providers.

Generally, my research has four overarching themes:

Improving social-emotional functioning in children with chronic illness.

Mitigating the impact and improving adjustment to serious illness for the child and family unit.

Measuring the efficacy of interventions that improve compliance with medical treatment.

Measuring the effectiveness of delivering psychological intervention via various modalities to increase the cost effectiveness and efficiency with which patients receive services.

Publications

Response Letter to ‘Optimising physiology for adolescents with dysautonomia’
Acta Paediatrica
KR Armstrong, AM De Souza, PL Sneddon, JE Potts, VE Claydon, S Sanatani
DOI: 10.1111/apa.14058
09/2017

Exercise and the multidisciplinary holistic approach to adolescent dysautonomia
Acta Paediatrica
KR Armstrong, AM De Souza, PL Sneddon, JE Potts, VE Claydon, S Sanatani
DOI: 10.1111/apa.13750
02/2017

Does An 8-week Lower Body Exercise Program Improve Quality Of Life In Teenagers With Dysautonomia?3378 Board #139 May 30, 8
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Kathryn Armstrong, Astrid M. De Souza, Penny Sneddon, James E. Potts, Victoria Claydon, Elizabeth Sherwin, Shubhayan Sanatani
DOI: 10.1249/01.mss.0000479201.75816.1c
05/2015

Assessment of Sleep Problems in Preschool Aged Children: An Adaptation of the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire
Behavioral Sleep Medicine
Penny Sneddon, Gretchen Gimpel Peacock, Susan L. Crowley
DOI: 10.1080/15402002.2012.707158
09/2013

The Centre for Healthy Weights—Shapedown BC: A Family-Centered, Multidisciplinary Program that Reduces Weight Gain in Obese Children over the Short-Term
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Constadina Panagiotopoulos, Rebecca Ronsley, Mohammed Al-Dubayee, Rollin Brant, Boris Kuzeljevic, Erin Rurak, Arlene Cristall, Glynis Marks, Penny Sneddon, Mary Hinchliffe, Jean-Pierre Chanoine, Louise C. Mâsse
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph8124662
2011

Centre for Healthy Weights: Shapedown BC: preliminary psychological outcomes of obese youth presenting for hospital-based weight management treatment
Canadian Journal of Diabetes
Glynis N. Marks, Penny Sneddon, Rebecca J. Ronsley, Constadina Panagiotopoulos
DOI: 10.1016/s1499-2671(08)24298-x
01/2008

Effects of Stimulant Medication on Cognitive Performance of Children with ADHD
Clinical Pediatrics
Gretchen A. Gimpel, Brent R. Collett, Marietta A. Veeder, Julie A. Gifford, Penny Sneddon, Bryan Bushman, Kelly Hughes, J. Dennis Odell
DOI: 10.1177/000992280504400504
06/2005

Research

Pre-Operative Identification of Patients with High Needle Fear/Phobia in a Pediatric Surgical Day Care Setting
In the BC Children’s Hospital Surgical Day Care Unit (BCCH SDCU), there is no standard system for identifying children with high needle fear/needle phobia before the day of surgery. The aims of this project are to: 1) describe the prevalence of high needle fear/phobia in BCCH SDCU patients, 2) examine the feasibility and effectiveness of a new screening tool for identifying children with high needle fear/phobia, and 3) examine the relationship between child needle fear/phobia and family satisfaction with care.

Pain 101
Cognitive Behavioral Group Treatment for Adolescents with Chronic and Recurrent Pain: Cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) is an effective intervention for various types of pain. Patients with chronic and recurring pain at BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) typically receive individual CBT to teach strategies to manage pain symptoms. This project will assess the efficacy of 4 week group CBT intervention (i.e., Pain 101), which was developed from a successful 8 session group intervention in Alberta. During Pain 101, patients and at least one of their parents will complete a battery of psychological measures. This data will be used to explore the effectiveness of the 4 session group program when compared to the 8 session program in Alberta.

Diabetes Intervention for Adolescents with Persistent High A1C
Despite effective treatments, some adolescents with type 1 diabetes persistently exhibit compromised diabetes control, putting them at risk for significant complications. Oftentimes, the reasons for poor diabetes management are psychosocial as opposed to medical. Based on a unpublished manualized protocol from Alberta Children’s Hospital we are implementing a group therapy intervention for eligible teens with consistently high A1C, which is indicative of poorly controlled diabetes. This study will assess the efficacy of the group intervention for adolescents with type 1 diabetes and compromised metabolic control, compared to a control group receiving standard care. Analysis will determine whether participants in the intervention show improved diabetes control, as measured by A1C levels. Additionally, adolescent and parental reports on psychological measures (e.g., quality-of-life, mental health, etc.) might suggest roles for known barriers to metabolic control.