Rebecca Purc-Stephenson, PhD

Professor, Augustana - Social Sciences


Professor, Augustana - Social Sciences
(780) 679-1664
3-26 AG01 Founders Hall
4901-46 Ave
Camrose AB
T4V 2R3




I am an Applied Social Psychologist who focuses on health psychology and organizational psychology, and often, the interaction of the two. Broadly, my research focuses on ways to improve the work lives of people living with a chronic illness/disability and how to improve efficiency, flow and communication in healthcare organizations. 


  • Ph.D., Applied Social Psychology, University of Windsor
  • M.A., Applied Social Psychology, University of Windsor
  • Post-graduate Diploma, Human Resource Management, Conestoga College
  • B.A. (Honours), Psychology, University of Guelph


To investigate my broad research interests, I conduct studies in three specific areas: 

Studying occupational health, creating inclusive workplaces and work cultures, and understanding how individuals with an undisclosed/hidden chronic illness or disability adapt at work. My studies in this area examine perceived employment barriers, identifying disability-friendly organizational cultures, and work sustainability strategies employees (e.g., MS, arthritis) use to remain employed. Example papers/presentations:

  • Purc-Stephenson, R.J., Dostie, J., & Smith, H. (2018). Swimming against the current: A qualitative review of the work experiences and adaptations made by employees with arthritis. Arthritis Care & Research, 75, 1-20. 
  • Purc-Stephenson, R., Dostie, J., & Smith, H. (2017, October). Employee decision-making about disclosing a concealable disability at work. Paper presented at the annual Qualitative Health Research Conference, Quebec City, QC. 
  • Purc-Stephenson, R. J., Ferguson, C, & Jones, S. (2017). Breaking out of the Glass Box: A Meta-ethnography of disability and employment Research. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 46(1), 49-65.

Adapting to chronic illnesses and/or disabilities and the interactions with healthcare providers. My studies in this area have included post-traumatic growth and sense-making of illness, breast cancer screening, and the diagnosis experiences of women with premenstrual dysphoria disorder. Example papers/presentations:  

  • Purc-Stephenson, R. J. & Lyseng, A. (2016). How are the Kids Holding up? A systematic review and meta-analysis on the psycho-social impact of maternal breast cancer on children. Cancer Treatment Reviews, 49, 45-56.
  • Purc-Stephenson, R.J., Bowlby, D. & Qaqish, S. T. (2015). Positive and negative life changes following the diagnosis of a chronic illness. Quality of Life Research, 24, 1197-1205.
  • Purc-Stephenson, R., Dostie, J., & Yung, C, (in progress). Gradual versus sudden illness onset and the link to patients’ quality of life. Manuscript to be submitted to Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Evaluating alternative models of healthcare delivery and healthcare reforms. My studies in this area evaluate integrating Nurse Practitioners into hospital and community settings, telephone triage and advice services, and adapting Lean methodology to remove waste and improve flow and efficiency. Example papers/presentations:

  • Purc-Stephenson, R. & Qaqish, S. T. (under review). Can we Lean healthcare? Developing and evaluating a lean assessment tool in healthcare settings. Manuscript to be submitted to Journal of Rural Health.
  • Throndson, J., Tritten, C., Kupka, J., King, C. & Purc-Stephenson, R. (2015, September). Atrial Fibrillation screening of Emergency Department patients. Poster presented at the Canadian Stroke Congress, Toronto, ON.
  • Purc-Stephenson, R. & Thrasher, C. (2012). Patient compliance with medical advice given by telephone triage nurses: A meta-analytic review. Patient Education and Counseling, 87, 135-142.


Teaching Philosophy

“There is nothing so practical as a good theory.” ~ Kurt Lewin

Courses Taught

I teach several applied social psychology and methods courses for the Psychology program. Below is the list of courses I currently teach at our campus:

  • AUPSY 213 Statistical Methods for Psychological Research
  • AUPSY 220 Personality
  • AUPSY 342 Health Psychology
  • AUPSY 346 Community Psychology
  • AUPSY 348 Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • AUPSY 414 Program Evaluation
  • AUPSY 488 Forensic Psychology

Student Supervision

I typically supervise several students each year in an Independent Study Project and/or a Directed Readings Course. Below is a sample of some of those topics:

  • Hailey Smith - Getting it done: Evaluating Community-Based Child Programs. Independent Study Project.
  • Wesdyne Amyotte - Making Sense of Multiple Sclerosis through Art Therapy. Master's Candidate, St. Stephen's College.
  • Ashli Lindholm - The long-term outcomes of a community-based teen pregnancy program. Independent Study Project. 
  • Larissa Brosinsky - Determining how social media can enhance a community-based prevention program. Independent Study Project. 
  • Candace Yung - The impact of illness onset on psychological and physical well-being in chronically ill patients. Independent Study Project.
  • Kaitlyn Ganser - Exploring the possible causes and consequences of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS) for the perpetrator and victim. Independent Study Project. 


AUIDS 101 - Topics in Liberal Studies

Selected topics that highlight the interdisciplinary nature of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. This seminar-style class is a key aspect of the Augustana First Year Experience. The focus and content of each course are determined by faculty interests, and vary from year to year.

Fall Term 2021
AUPSY 220 - Personality

Introductory survey including representative theoretical points of view and research relevant to the major problems of the study of personality. Prerequisite: AUPSY 103.

Fall Term 2021
AUPSY 313 - Advanced Research Design

In this course, students will continue to build upon their existing knowledge of quantitative research design. Some topics include: The role of theory in psychological research, critical thinking, advanced topics in quantitative design, including the analysis of variance. Prerequisites: AUPSY 213 (2020) or AUSTA 213.

Fall Term 2021
AUPSY 342 - Health Psychology

An overview of theory, research and practice of health psychology and behavioural medicine. Prerequisite: AUPSY 220 or 240.

Winter Term 2022
AUPSY 414 - Program Evaluation in Psychology

An introduction to program evaluation in psychology. Topics include: goals of program evaluation, evaluation strategies, evaluation methods and designs, using logic models for program evaluation, and case studies in program evaluation. Prerequisites: AUPSY 213 (2020) or AUSTA 213.

Winter Term 2022
AUPSY 488 - Forensic Psychology

Examination of the psychology of criminal behaviour and the legal system. Topics include theories of criminal behaviour, jury selection and decision-making, police interrogations and confessions, eyewitness testimony, and risk assessment and offender intervention programs. Prerequisite: AUPSY 240. Note: Credit may be obtained for only one of AUPSY 488 and AUCRI 488 (2020).

Winter Term 2022
AUPSY 497 - Individual Study I

Literature review and proposal (including an oral report) for fourth-year thesis. Prerequisites: AUPSY 313, fourth-year standing, and consent of the Instructor. Notes: Admission to AUPSY 497 normally requires a grade point average of at least 3.5. An Application for Individual Study must be completed and approved before registration in the course. The course is intended for a student planning to pursue graduate studies in Psychology. AUPSY 497 is to be followed by AUPSY 499.

Fall Term 2021
AUPSY 499 - Individual Study II

Fourth-year thesis research, report, and oral presentation. Prerequisite: AUPSY 497. Note: Admission to AUPSY 499 normally requires a grade point average of at least 3.5. An Application for Individual Study must be completed and approved before registration in the course.

Winter Term 2022

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