About Us

We are a research lab at the Department of Psychology at Toronto Metropolitan University led by Dr. Sarah Dermody. In the Clinical Addictions Research and Equity (CARE) Lab, we examine addiction risk from a multidisciplinary perspective—integrating psychological, behavioral, interpersonal, and biological risk factors to better understand the “how, when, why, and who” pertaining addiction risk and risk for other negative health behaviors.


The CARE Lab is working on ways to help individuals improve their health by tackling addictions to substances. Much of our research focuses on problematic usage patterns of substances, particularly alcohol, nicotine, and cannabis. We are interested in understanding risk and protective factors that can impact the use of each of these substances alone and in combination. Importantly, when these substances are used together, which is often the case, the health-related harms can be magnified. Ultimately, our research aims to inform and evaluate psychological, behavioural and pharmacological intervention approaches to help reduce the harms of using these substances. 


An important aspect of our research is understanding why substance use and addiction can disproportionately impact some sexual and gender minority individuals. We are examining how minority stress experiences (e.g., being victimized due to one’s minoritized identity) can impact substance use and related harms. We are also collecting data to investigate barriers that sexual and gender minority individuals face when seeking treatment for their substance-related concerns.

Recent Publications

Transgender and gender diverse (TGD) adults may be at increased risk for alcohol use due to gender minority stress (GMS) and specific drinking motives. This study examines the relations between GMS and resilience, drinking motives, and alcohol outcomes among TGD adults.

Experiencing higher rates of gender minority stress (e.g., stigma, marginalization, and discrimination) places transgender individuals at risk for alcohol use and related harms. This study assess the relevancy of current harmful drinking measures among trans and gender diverse populations.

College is a vital time to address mental health and substance use, especially amongst at-risk groups like LGBTQ+ students. This study compares patterns of mental health symptoms and substance use between LGBTQ+ and heterosexual/cisgender students.

Land Acknowledgement