Danijela Maras

Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

Dr. Danijela Maras is a Clinical and Health Psychologist who currently works for the Behavioural Neurosciences Consultation-Liaison team (BNCL). Dr. Maras completed her PhD/C.Psych at the University of Ottawa. She also has a Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology, a BA (Hons) in Psychology, and a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry. She has worked and trained in the field of psychology for over 15 years, and values the seamless integration of research into clinical practice.

Dr. Maras is passionate about the intersection of physical and mental health, both from the clinical and research perspectives. By incorporating principles from psychology and medicine, Dr. Maras strives to understand how behavioural, emotional, psychological, family, social, and lifestyle factors influence the treatment process and health outcomes.

Throughout her career, Dr. Maras has contributed to clinical and community-based research projects involving various health populations (e.g., eating disorders, obesity, HIV, cystic fibrosis, physical rehabilitation, chronic illness, acute pain, etc.). Dr. Maras values and welcomes interdisciplinary clinical and research collaborations, recognizing that the cross-pollination of knowledge across disciplines enriches the research landscape and fosters a deeper understanding of complex issues.

Research Projects

  1. Virtual psychoeducation for improvement of pain catastrophizing in pediatric presurgical patients and caregivers: A proof-of-concept study


    Youth (n = 43) and caregivers (n = 41) attended a virtual, group-based single-session intervention (SSI). Single-session intervention content addressed pain neuroscience, PC, and adaptive coping strategies for managing pain and PC drawn from cognitive-behavioural, acceptance and commitment, and dialectical behaviour therapy approaches. Participants completed questionnaires assessing PC at preintervention, postintervention, and two weeks postsurgery. Youth mood and anxiety were assessed at preintervention.

  2. Attachment insecurity predicts outcomes in an ACT-CBT group therapy for adults in a physical rehabilitation centre


    Chronic illnesses and disabilities (CID) are defined as illnesses or health conditions of long duration that can interfere with overall functioning and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The global disease, injury, and disability burden has long been high at the individual and societal levels (Haagsma et al., 2016; Vos et al., 2015), and is projected to increase (World Health Organization, 2014). Global trends including a rising life expectancy, an increase in non-communicable diseases, and most recently the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated the growth of CID-related morbidity and mortality rates worldwide, leading to the highest prevalence of people living with functional impairment, disability, and decreased HRQoL than ever before (de Oliveira Almeida et al., 2022; Hacker, Briss, Richardson, Wright, & Petersen, 2021; Stucki, Bickenbach, Gutenbrunner, & Melvin, 2018). Effective, accessible, and cost-effective interventions are needed to help improve functioning and HRQoL in individuals living with CID.

  3. Attachment avoidance and health-related quality of life: Mediating effects of avoidant coping and health self-efficacy in a rehabilitation sample.


    Participants in this study included adults referred for psychological services at a tertiary care physical rehabilitation center between 2016 and 2020. Ninety adults completed measures of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance, coping, health self-efficacy, and HRQoL at one time point. Results: Path analysis indicated that the proposed model fits the data well. Higher attachment avoidance was significantly related to lower HRQoL, as mediated by higher avoidant coping and lower health self-efficacy. Conclusions/Implications: Results suggest that individuals high on attachment avoidance may require additional support to move toward psychosocial adaptation. Further research examining the role of attachment insecurity dimensions in adaptation to CID is warranted and should include longitudinal designs to replicate these findings. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)