Chuck Cunningham

  • Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences
  • Jack Laidlaw Chair in Patient-Centred Health Care
  • Psychologist, McMaster Children’s Hospital

Dr. Cunningham’s research focuses on the design of accessible, cost-effective, children’s mental health services. The studies that he is involved in use methods from marketing research and economics to engage youth, parents, educators, and professionals in the design and evaluation of a new generation of user-informed prevention and treatment programs. Quantitative user-preference modelling methods (discrete choice conjoint experiments) estimate the value of different components of these services, identify latent segments with different preferences, and model the response of different segments to varying program options. Randomized trials evaluate the effectiveness of innovative options. This work is supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Jack Laidlaw Chair in Patient-Centered Health Care.

Current Activities

  • Using qualitative methods and quantitative consumer preference modeling methods (discrete choice conjoint experiments) to model parental preferences regarding the design of programs to improve parenting skills.
  • Modelling the interim service preferences of parents waiting for children’s mental health treatment.
  • Evaluating the outcome of internet-based coached-supported programs for parents of young oppositional children.
  • Modeling the bullying prevention program design preferences of students and teachers.


  • Cunningham, C.E., Chen, Y., Deal, K., Rimas, H., McGrath, P., Reid, G., Lipman, E., Corkum, P. (2013). The interim dervice preferences of parents waiting for children's mental health treatment: A discrete choice conjoint experiment. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41(6), 865-877.
  • Cunningham. C. E., Vaillancourt, T., Cunningham, L. J., Chen, Y., & Ratcliffe, J. (2011). Modeling the bullying prevention preferences of grade 5 to 8 students: A discrete choice conjoint experiment. Aggressive Behavior, 37, 521-537.
  • McGrath, P., Sourander, A., Lingley-Pottie, P., Ristkari, T., Cunningham, C.E., Huttunen, J., Filbert, K., Aromaa, M., Corkum, P., Hinkka-Yli-Salomaki, S., Kinnunen, M., Lampi, K., Penttinen, A., Sinokki, A., Unruh, A., Vuorio, J., Watters, C. (2013). Remote population-based intervention for disruptive behavior at age four: study protocol for a randomized trial of Internet-assisted parent training (Strongest Families Finland-Canada). BMC Public Health, 13:985. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-985.

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Research Interests

  • The influence of design preferences on the utilization and outcome of children’s mental health services
  • Quantitative consumer preference modeling (Discrete Choice Conjoint Experiments)
  • Services for parents of children with externalizing problems
  • School-based bullying prevention programs

Education, Memberships & Certifications

  • M.A., San Diego State
  • Ph.D., the American University