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Flourishing Communities

Instead of focusing solely on repairing difficulties and disorders in individuals and communities, what if we work alongside them in identifying and cultivating the strengths and projects that make their lives worth living?

This is what our research group aims to achieve  using well-being promotion as a catalyst for social change, without denying the challenges people and communities are experiencing.

Our research group seeks to understand, systematize and promote the conditions that foster an optimal state of health and well-being (i.e. flourishing) at the individual and community levels. We mainly focus on diverse, marginalized or underprivileged groups of the population whose well-being is challenged by several forms of adversity and injustice, for example: LGBTQ+ individuals, people living with mental health issues or physical disabilities, and public housing communities.

From an environmental psychology perspective, we also have a unique expertise related to the creation of physical spaces in diverse life settings (housing, workplace, community) to support the satisfaction of psycho-environmental needs and human well-being in general.


Our objectives are three-fold:

  • Contribute to the development of a global and actionable empirical knowledge base and theoretical framework on individual and community well-being.
  • Better understand and reduce the well-being inequities faced by underprivileged individuals and communities through identifying and leveraging the social ecological conditions that promote their well-being.
    • For example, we have a special interest in the role of housing, neighbourhood and urban planning, as well as peer support and community mental health services and policies.
  • Support the empowerment and well-being promotion process of individuals and communities, assisting them in reclaiming power over their personal and social conditions, and in achieving greater well-being and social change.

Theories, Concepts and Approaches

To pursue those objectives, we rely on the integration of innovative theories, concepts and approaches from positive psychology (flourishing, strengths, life projects) and environmental psychology (optimal person-environment transactions, ecological models) within a community perspective (focus on underprivileged communities, community asset mapping). A wide array of different methods are integrated in a pragmatic way in the research we are doing:

  • observational research
  • intervention/evaluation research
  • qualitative design (thematic/content analysis, Photovoice method)
  • quantitative designs (survey and scale development, structural equation modelling, latent profile analysis)

Through peer-research strategies and community-based participatory research, we greatly value working in active partnership with local and national communities and their organizations, with the goal of supporting them in building and capitalizing on their strengths, projects and knowledge.

Our Team

  • Simon Coulombe, PhD, research group director
  • Alicia Piruchta, research assistant, undergraduate student, Sociology
  • Amandeep Singh, reading course student, PhD student, Community Psychology
  • Charlie Davis, research project coordinator and data storage and quality control manager, PhD student, Community Psychology
  • Christine Khalil, research assistant, undergraduate thesis student, Psychology
  • David Krzesni, research project coordinator, PhD student, Community Psychology
  • Drew Burchell, research assistant, MA student, Community Psychology
  • Dylan Methner, research assistant, undergraduate student, Psychology
  • Emily Cox, research assistant, MA student, Community Psychology
  • Emily Harper, research project coordinator, MA student, Community Psychology
  • Emily Schmid, MA student, Community Psychology
  • Jamal Lewis, research assistant, undergraduate student, Sociology
  • Jérémie Latreille, PhD student, Community Psychology
  • Kari-Anne Eby, research assistant, MSW student
  • Kendra Hardy, research project coordinator and lab events’ coordinator, MA student, Community Psychology
  • Kevin Bonnell, research project coordinator, MA student, Community Psychology
  • Kevin Gunawan, undergraduate thesis student, Psychology
  • Kirstie Taylor, MA student, Community Psychology
  • Kyle Smilovsky, lab manager and research project coordinator, MA student, Community Psychology
  • Paige Obright, research volunteer/assistant, undergraduate student, Health Sciences
  • Raha Moradhasel, research volunteer/assistant, undergraduate student, Psychology
  • Sarah Ranco, research assistant, PhD student, Community Psychology
  • Shiva Sharma, research assistant, undergraduate student, Communications

Contact Us:

Simon Coulombe, PhD, Research Group Director

T: 519.884.0710 x3082
Office Location: Science Building, N2023

Communities and organizations interested in positive and strength-based approaches to action, research and evaluation are invited to contact us for collaborative projects.