Odgers honoured for achievement by Royal Society

June 09, 2005, vol. 33, no. 4
By Diane Luckow

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The Royal Society of Canada recently honoured SFU alumna and postdoctoral researcher Candice Odgers with the Alice Wilson award.

The $1,000 award and medal recognizes a woman of outstanding academic qualifications who is entering a career in scholarship or research at the postdoctoral level.

Odgers, who holds a postdoctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and a trainee award from the Michael Smith foundation for health research, is currently co-investigator on a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) new emerging team focused on gender and aggression.

Her research, conducted through SFU's department of psychology with Marlene Moretti, focuses on refining the measurement of anti-social and aggressive behaviour among girls and mapping trajectories of development within high-risk contexts.

"We have been following samples of high-risk kids within Canada and the U.S. over time in order to gain a better understanding of pathways to stop anti-social behaviour, as well as the factors that lead to negative social, mental and physical health outcomes among youth within juvenile justice and mental health populations" says Odgers.

Initial findings from this research, she says, indicate that instruments designed for male populations intended to measure psychopathic behaviour and predict future violent behaviour, do not work for girls.

"The lack of attention to girls in high-risk contexts in the past means that there is little empirical data to support policy development and practice," says Odgers. "We are still not certain what works for girls and instead have been using what is available in systems that are designed largely for males."

With these limitations in mind, Odgers and Moretti have been challenging the type of one-size-fits-all approach to responding to girls within the juvenile justice system by applying advanced data analytic techniques to identify unique subgroups of girls, both in terms of their behaviour characteristics and how they develop over time.

Odgers says adolescent girls are one of the only sub-groups of offenders who have shown increasing rates of violent offences and now represent an important, yet largely understudied, population in violence-related research.

Odgers, who received her bachelor of arts and master of arts in criminology at SFU and a PhD in psychology from the University of Virginia, already has an impressive publication record and has received a number of awards in both the U.S. and Canada for her scholarship and teaching.

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