Tina Malti

Tina Malti
Associate Professor
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First Year Employed at UTM/U of T: 
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UTM is like my home. It’s protective, but it allows my team and me to develop in creative ways and make a meaningful contribution.

Tina Malti

Tina Malti is passionate about her research, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by funding agencies and professional organizations. Malti, an associate professor of psychology at U of T Mississauga, has received a number of young investigator awards, including a five-year grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to study the psychological and biological mechanisms underlying childhood aggression and devise interventions.

Given that she is a trained child and adolescent psychologist, it’s no surprise to learn that Malti’s research focuses on issues related to child development and mental health. She is exploring three interrelated themes in her work: how empathy develops; what causes and triggers put children at risk for bullying and violence; and how to prevent children from moving along these negative pathways by promoting prosocial behaviour. As the director of UTM’s Social-Emotional Development and Intervention Laboratory, she conducts her research in laboratory, community, and clinical settings.

“Youth are our future and we need positive solutions,” said Malti, who is cross-appointed to the Division of Child and Youth Mental Health within the Department of Psychiatry at U of T.

“I want to promote a caring outlook for children and adolescents. This is essential in a world full of disagreement, conflict, and violence.”

Malti also hopes to emulate her colleagues in medicine by exploring the possibility of a cure for bullying and violence and the development of personalized “treatments”: strategies and practices that promote development in a sensitive way that is tailored to the individual’s age, needs, and strengths.

“I want to discover how much of our developmental knowledge can be applied universally and what needs to be adapted to the local context,” she said.

UTM provides a new local context for Malti, who grew up in Germany and earned her PhD in Switzerland. Afterward, she was “very open to going anywhere” and is happy to have landed in Canada.

“It’s a perfect mix of the United States and Europe,” she said. “UTM is an incredibly supportive, creative, and kind community.”


Selected Awards:

Fellow, American Psychological Association (Division 7, Developmental Psychology), 2015. An honour bestowed upon APA members who have shown evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology.

New Investigator Award, 2012, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, supports researchers throughout the early stages of their career who have shown promise as independent investigators in developing and demonstrating their independence in initiating and conducting health research.

Early Career Research Award, 2010, Society for Research on Adolescence, recognizes a young scholar who has made a significant contribution to understanding adolescent development and behaviour and whose scholarly contributions are distinguished through publications, grants, and visibility in the field.


Selected Publications:

Malti, T., & Averdijk, M. (Eds.) (2017). Severe youth violence: Developmental perspectives. Child Development, 88, 5-15.  Drawing on their developmental science research, the authors discuss how theory informs the creation of innovative approaches to screening and assessing risk of severe youth violence, (SYV), as well as novel, developmentally sensitive practices and policies that contribute to SYV prevention.

Malti, T., Noam, G.G., Beelmann, A., & Sommer, S. (2016). Toward dynamic adaptation of psychological interventions for child and adolescent development and mental health. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 45(6), 827-836.  The authors examine essential challenges and successes for developing, implementing, and disseminating models for effective psychological interventions to promote child and adolescent development and mental health.

Malti, T., Gummerum, M., Keller, M., & Buchmann, M. (2009). Children’s moral motivation, sympathy, and prosocial behavior. Child Development, 80, 442-460. The authors conducted two studies to show how empathy, feelings of guilt, and moral reasoning affect children’s prosocial behaviour over time.