Stephanie Begun

Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work; MSW, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work; B.A., University of Virginia; RSW (Registered Social Worker)
Research Interests: 
  • Family Planning Access and Policy Advocacy
  • Social and Structural Influences on Pregnancy and Family Planning Attitudes and Decision-Making
  • Health and Wellness of Marginalized Youth and Young Adults
  • Innovation and Cultural Humility in Health Care Service Delivery


  • Social Network Analysis
  • Critical Qualitative Health Research
  • Arts-Based and Community-based Participatory Research
  • Human-Centered Design Thinking

Stephanie Begun is an Assistant Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. Dr. Begun’s scholarship focuses on improving reproductive and sexual health access, education, and outcomes among marginalized youth and young adults. Her practice-based experiences in family planning policy and community organizing inspired her career in social work research and teaching. She is the PI/Co-PI on numerous externally funded projects that are investigating ways by which prevention science, policy, participatory action research, and technology may work in tandem to facilitate youths’ opportunities to make self-determined, safe, and medically accurate decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Dr. Begun teaches social welfare policy, community and organizational social work practice, and social justice research methods, with emphasis placed on community-based participatory and arts-based research. Dr. Begun also serves as Cross-Appointed Affiliated Faculty with the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto, and is an Instructor with the University of Toronto Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research:

Book Chapters: 
  1. McQueen, J., & Begun, S. (2019). Advocate policy change: Fact sheet and online mock testimony. In L. Hitchcock, M. Sage, & N. Smyth (Eds.), Teaching social work with digital technology. Alexandria, VA: CSWE Press.
  2. Thompson, S. J., Begun, S., & Bender, K. A. (2016). Pregnancy and parenting among runaway and homeless young women. In S. J. Morewitz & C. Sturdy-Colls (Eds.), Handbook of Missing Persons, An Interdisciplinary Study of Missing Persons.
  3. Thompson, S. J., Ferguson, K., Bender, K. A., Begun, S., & Kim, Y. (2015). Homeless emerging adults: A developmental perspective. In J. J. Arnett (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Emerging Adulthood. New York: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199795574.013.33



Publications In Refereed Journals: 

Selected Publications

  1. Begun, S., Combs, K. M., Schwan, K., Torrie, M., & Bender, K. (in press). “I know they would kill me”: Abortion attitudes and experiences among youth experiencing homelessness. Youth & Society. doi: 1177/0044118X18820661
  2. Combs, K. M., Barman-Adhikari, A., Begun, S., & Rice, E. (in press). The relationship between having a child and substance use among homeless youth. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.
  3. Anyon, Y., Roscoe, J., Bender, K., Kennedy, H., DeChants, J., Begun, S., & Gallager, C. (2019). Reconciling adaptation and fidelity: Implications for scaling up high quality youth programs. Journal of Primary Prevention, 40, 35-49. doi: 10.1007/s10935-019-00535-6
  4. Begun, S., Frey, C., Combs, K. M., & Torrie, M. (2019). “I guess it would be a good shock”: A qualitative examination of homeless youths’ diverse pregnancy attitudes. Children and Youth Services Review, 99, 87-96. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.01.029
  5. Begun, S., Combs, K. M., Torrie, M., & Bender, K. (2019). “It seems kinda like a different language to us”: Homeless youths’ attitudes and experiences pertaining to condoms and contraceptives. Social Work in Health Care, 58(3), 237-257. doi: 1080/00981389.2018.1544961
  6. Combs, K. M., Brown, S., Begun, S., & Taussig, H. (2018). Pregnancy attitudes and contraceptive use among young adults with histories of foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 94, 284-289. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.10.017
  7. Begun, S., Bender, K. A., Brown, S. M., Barman-Adhikari, A., & Ferguson, K. (2018). Social connectedness, self-efficacy, and mental health outcomes among homeless youth: Prioritizing approaches to service provision in a time of limited agency resources. Youth & Society, 50(7), 989-1014. doi: 10.1177/0044118X16650459
  8. Bender, K. A., DePrince, A., Begun, S., Hathaway, J., Haffejee, B., & Schau, N. (2018). Enhancing risk detection among homeless youth: A randomized clinical trial of a promising pilot intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(19), p. 2945-2967 doi: 10.1177/0886260516633208
  9. Kim, Y., Bender, K., Ferguson, K., Begun, S., & DiNitto, D. (2018). Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder among homeless young adults: The importance of victimization experiences in childhood and once homeless. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 26(3), p. 131- 142. doi: 10.1177/1063426617710239
  10. Bird, M., Begun, S., & McKay, K. (2018). Religiosity and personal beliefs regarding abortion: Results from a survey of social work students in the United States. Women’s Reproductive Health, 5(2), 117-131. doi: 1080/23293691.2018.1463742
  11. Bender, K. A., Begun, S., Durbahn, R., Ferguson, K., & Schau, N. (2018). My own best friend: Homeless youths’ hesitance to seek help and strategies for coping independently after distressing and traumatic experiences. Social Work in Public Health, 33(3), 149-162. doi: 1080/19371918.2018.1424062
  12. Bender, K., Begun, S., Dunn, K., DeChants, J., & Mackay, E. (2018). Homeless youths’ interests in social action via Photovoice. Journal of Community Practice, 26(1), 107-120. doi: 1080/10705422.2017.1413027
  13. Combs, K. M., Begun, S., Rinehart, D., & Taussig, H. (2018). Pregnancy and childbearing among young adults who experienced foster care. Child Maltreatment, 23(2), 166-174. doi: 10.1177/1077559517733816
  14. Bender, K., Barman-Adhikari, A., DeChants, J., Haffejee, B., Anyon, Y., Begun, S., Portillo, A., & Dunn, K. (2017). Asking for Change: Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of a manualized Photovoice intervention with youth experiencing homelessness. Children and Youth Services Review, 81(1), 379-389. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.08.028
  15. Begun, S., Kattari, S. K., McKay, K., Ramseyer Winter, V., & O’Neill, E. (2017). Exploring U.S. social work students’ sexual attitudes and abortion viewpoints. Journal of Sex Research, 54(6), 752-763. doi: 1080/00224499.2016.1186586
  16. Traube, D. E., Begun, S., Okpych, N., & Choy-Brown, M. (2017). Catalyzing innovation in social work practice. Research on Social Work Practice, 27(2), 134-138. doi: 10.1177/1049731516659140
  17. Traube, D. E., Begun, S., Petering, R., & Flynn, M. (2017). Beta testing in social work. Research on Social Work Practice, 27(2), 163-168. doi: 10.1177/1049731516659142
  18. Kattari, S. K., & Begun, S. (2017). On the margins of the marginalized: Transgender homelessness and survival sex. AFFILIA: Journal of Women and Social Work, 32(1), 92-103. doi: 10.1177/0886109916651904
  19. Barman-Adhikari, A., Hsu, H., Begun, S., & Portillo, A. P. (2017). Condomless sex among homeless youth: The role of multidimensional social norms and gender. AIDS & Behavior, 21(3), 688-702. doi: 10.1007/s10461-016-1624-2
  20. Barman-Adhikari, A., Al-Tayyib, A., Begun, S., Bowen, E., & Rice, E. (2017). Descriptive and injunctive network norms associated with nonmedical use of prescription drugs among homeless youth. Addictive Behaviors, 64, 70-77. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.08.015
  21. Ramseyer Winter, V., Kattari, S. K., Begun, S., & McKay, K. (2016). Personal and professional values: Relationships between social workers’ reproductive health knowledge, attitudes, and ethical decision-making. Journal of Social Work Values & Ethics, 13(2), 35-46. Retrieved from:
  22. Bender, K. A., Brown, S. M., Begun, S., Barman-Adhikari, A., & Ferguson, K. (2016). Coping styles associated with victimization profiles among homeless youth. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 97(3), 171-180. doi: 10.1606/1044-3894.2016.97.20
  23. Beltrán, R., Hacker, A., & Begun, S. (2016). Environmental justice is a social justice issue: Incorporating environmental justice into social work practice curricula. Journal of Social Work Education, 52(4), 493-502. doi: 1080/10437797.2016.1215277
  24. Begun, S., Bird, M., Ramseyer Winter, V., Combs, K. M., & McKay, K. (2016). Correlates of social work students’ abortion knowledge and attitudes: Implications for education and research. Social Work in Public Health, 31(4), 276-287. doi: 1080/19371918.2015.1137510
  25. Begun, S., & Kattari, S. K. (2016). Conforming for survival: Associations between transgender visual conformity/passing and homelessness experiences. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 28(1), 54-66. doi: 1080/10538720.2016.1125821
  26. Ramseyer Winter, V., O’Neill, E., Begun, S., Kattari, S. K., & McKay, K. (2016). MSW student perceptions of sexual health as relevant to the profession: Do social work educational experiences matter? Social Work in Health Care, 55(8), 614-634. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2016.1189476
  27. Lee, M. S., Begun, S., DePrince, A. P., & Chu, A. (2016). Acceptability of dating violence and expectations of relationship harm among adolescent girls exposed to domestic violence. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 8(4), 487-494. doi: 10.1037/tra0000130
  28. Barman-Adhikari, A., Begun, S., Rice, E., Yoshioka-Maxwell, A., & Portillo, A. P. (2016). Sociometric network structure and its association with methamphetamine use norms among homeless youth. Social Science Research, 58, 292-308. doi: 1016/j.ssresearch.2016.01.004
  29. Bender, K. A., Begun, S., DePrince, A. P., Haffejee, B., Brown, S., Hathaway, J., & Schau, N. (2015). Mindfulness intervention with homeless youth. Journal of the Society for Social Work Research, 6(4), 491-513. doi: 10.1086/684107
  30. Begun, S. (2015). The paradox of homeless youth pregnancy: A review of challenges and opportunities. Social Work in Health Care, 54(5), 444-460. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2015.1030058
  31. Begun, S., & Walls, N. E. (2015). Pedestal or gutter: Exploring ambivalent sexism’s relationship with abortion attitudes. AFFILIA: Journal of Women and Social Work, 30(2), 200-215. doi: 10.1177/0886109914555216
  32. Bender, K. A., Schau, N., Begun, S., Haffejee, B., Barman-Adhikari, A., & Hathaway, J. (2015). Electronic case management with homeless youth. Evaluation and Program Planning, 50, 36-42. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2015.02.002
  33. Brown, S. M., Begun, S., Bender, K., Ferguson, K., & Thompson, S. (2015). An exploratory factor analysis of coping styles and relationship to depression among a sample of homeless youth. Community Mental Health Journal, 51(7), 818-827. doi: 10.1007/s10597-015-9870-8
  34. Lechuga Peña, S., Klawetter, S., Begun, S., & Brown, S. M. (2015). MSW student understanding of social location: The development of a positionality measure. Perspectives on Social Work, 11(2), 32-41. Retrieved from:
  35. Begun, S. (2014). Investing in what works: How social workers can influence policy to reduce pregnancies among homeless youth. Perspectives on Social Work, 10(1), 14-23. Retrieved from:
  36. Beltrán, R., & Begun, S. (2014). ‘It is medicine’: Narratives of healing from the Aotearoa Digital Storytelling as Indigenous Media Project (ADSIMP). Psychology & Developing Societies, 26(1), 155-179. doi: 10.1177/0971333614549137
  37. Bender, K. A., Begun, S., DePrince, A., Haffejee, B., & Kaufmann, S. (2014). Utilizing technology for longitudinal communication with homeless youth. Social Work in Health Care, 53(9), 865-882. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2014.925532
Other Selected Publications: 

Published Graduate Thesis/Dissertation:

Begun, S. (2017). A mixed methods examination of pregnancy attitudes and HIV risk behaviors among homeless youth: The role of social network norms and social support. Electronic Theses and Dissertations: ProQuest.

Dissertation Committee: Kimberly Bender, PhD (Chair); Jeffrey Jenson, PhD; Anamika Barman-Adhikari, PhD

External Research Grants: 
  1. Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Grant, 2019-present
    Title: The Canadian Surgical and Medical Abortion Provider Survey (CAPS)
    (Role: Co-Investigator) (PIs: Renner, Wagner)
  2. Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Partnership Engage Grant, 2019-present
    Title: “This is my Regent Park”: Perspectives from Young People
    (Role: Co-Investigator) (PI: Fang)
  3. Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Partnership Engage Grant, 2018-present
    Title: Exploring the Potential Benefits of Engaging Homeless Youth in Group-Based Improv Training
    (Role: Principal Investigator) (Co-Is: Fallon, Sakamoto, Schwan) (Collaborator: Kipang) (Partner Organization: Covenant House Toronto; Consulting Organization: The Second City Toronto)
  4. Connaught New Researcher Award, University of Toronto, 2018-present
    Title: Pregnancy and Family Planning among Young Women Experiencing Homelessness in Canada: Exploring Youths’ Attitudes, Experiences, and Needs for Reproductive and Sexual Health Information and Services
    (Role: Principal Investigator)
  5. Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, Insight Grant, 2018-present
    Title: Promoting Attachment and Mitigating the Risk of Future Maltreatment among Young Expectant Mothers Involved in the Child Welfare System
    (Role: Co-Investigator) (PI: King)
  6. Women’s Xchange $15K Challenge Grant, Women’s College Research Institute, 2018-present
    Title: Collaborative Knowledge Sharing: Developing and Disseminating a Visual Representation of Standards of Care for Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents in GTA
    (Role: Co-Investigator) (PI: Vandermorris)
  7. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy & U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Adolescent Health Grant TP2AH000023-01-00
    Title: Innovation Next Accelerator Grant and Phase 2 Implementation Grant
    (Role: Co-Principal Investigator; with Romer, Butts)
  8. S. Department of Health & Human Services, Family & Youth Services Bureau, Personal Responsibility Education Program Innovative Strategies (PREIS) Grant, 2016-2021
    (Role: Consultant) (PIs: Clark, Desai)
  9. Society of Family Planning Research Fund, Small Research Grant, 2016-2017
    Title: Family Planning among Homeless Youth: The Role of Social Network Norms and Social Support
    (Role: Principal Investigator)
  10. NASW Foundation & CSWE Social Work HEALS Doctoral Fellowship, 2016-2017