Catherine de Boer


”I am delighted to be part of an inquiry that is bringing recognition and funding to the needs of work-disabled individuals. I am attracted to the emphasis placed on making the research relevant to the needs of Canadians and to helping work-disabled individuals “thrive and survive”. That this project has a dual focus, work-disabled individuals and disability policy systems makes it a particularly good fit for me as a social worker, as the hallmark of  my profession is the emphasis placed on the whole person functioning in his or her environment.  I look forward to furthering my own research on identity transitions as changes in work, health and able-bodiedness have both personal and social identity implications. Lastly, I am looking forward to being part of a transdisciplinary team, the composition of which offers richness, breadth and the opportunity to model what can be achieved when we listen to one another and share a commitment to understanding and change.”

Key Appointments

  • Currently an Assistant Professor (tenure track Appointment) at the School of Social Work, Memorial University
  • Taught in the School of Social Work at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo (2005-2008) and also served as their Acting Field Education Coordinator (2007-2008)


  • PhD in Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2007
  • Master of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, 1998
  • Master of Arts, University of Toronto, 1993
  • Master of Theological Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, 1992
  • BSW, King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, 1988

Areas of expertise

I have over twelve years of practice experience working in the areas of children’s mental health, homelessness, and medical social work. My primary research interests are in the areas of identity development and transformation, children’s mental health, narrative studies. My doctoral research was a study of the impact of social group disengagement (for example, leaving a religious, cultural, professional, or gender group, or “coming out” experiences) on one’s sense of self and the associated identity transition processes.

Research Activities

I continue to conduct identity research with a focus on forced identity transitions, such as those predicated by unemployment, injury, and illness. I have also done writing and research in the areas of online and blended course development and delivery, teaching social work practice, and field education. My teaching interests are in the areas of micro practice, social work theory, and qualitative analysis.

For contact and additional information, please visit: Catherine de Boer