Stephanie Begun

Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work; M.S.W, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work; B.A., University of Virginia
Research Interests: 
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health; Family Planning Policy and Advocacy
  • Pregnancy Prevention and Parenting Interventions with Marginalized Youth
  • Community-based Participatory Research; Youth Empowerment and Organizing
  • Human-Centered Design Thinking and Innovation in Social Work

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 homeless and other marginalized youth. 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 several 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 policy, community and organizational social work practice, and research methods, with emphasis placed on community-based participatory and arts-based research. Dr. Begun also serves as an Instructor with the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research:

Book Chapters: 

McQueen, J., & Begun, S. (in press; 2018 release). 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.

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.

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. Bird, M., Begun, S., & McKay, K. (in press). Religiosity and personal beliefs regarding abortion: Results from a survey of social work students in the United States. Women’s Reproductive Health.
  2. 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: 10.1080/19371918.2018.1424062
  3. 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: 10.1080/10705422.2017.1413027
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1186586
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Kim, Y., Bender, K., Ferguson, K., Begun, S., & DiNitto, D. (2017). 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. [Advanced online edition]. doi: 10.1177/1063426617710239
  11. Barman-Adhikari, A., Hsu, H., Begun, S., & Portillo, A. P. (2017). Condomless sex among homeless youth: The role of multidimensional social norms. AIDS & Behavior, 21(3), 688-702. doi: 10.1007/s10461-016-1624-2
  12. 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:
  13. 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
  14. Barman-Adhikari, A., Al-Tayyib, A., Begun, S., Bowen, E., & Rice, E. (2016). Social norms of prescription drug misuse among homeless youth. Addictive Behaviors, 64, 70-77. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.08.015
  15. 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. [Advanced online edition]. doi: 10.1080/10437797.2016.1215277
  16. Begun, S., Bender, K. A., Brown, S. M., Barman-Adhikari, A., & Ferguson, K. (2016). 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. [Advanced online edition]. doi: 10.1177/0044118X16650459
  17. 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: 10.1080/19371918.2015.1137510
  18. 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: 10.1080/10538720.2016.1125821
  19. 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
  20. 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. [Advanced online edition]: doi: 10.1037/tra0000130
  21. Bender, K. A., DePrince, A., Begun, S., Hathaway, J., Haffejee, B., & Schau, N. (2016). Enhancing risk detection among homeless youth: A randomized clinical trial of a promising pilot intervention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. [Advanced online edition]: doi: 10.1177/0886260516633208
  22. 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: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.01.004
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. Lechuga Peña, S., Klawetter, S., Begun, S., & Brown, S. M. (2015). MSW students’          understanding of social location: The development of a positionality measure. Perspectives on Social Work, 11(2), 32-41. Retrieved from:
  29. 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:
  30. 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
  31. 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: 

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
$35,000 (Role: PI)


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
$91,601 (Role: Co-I) (PI: King)


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
$14,926.25 (Role: Co-I) (PI: Vandermorris)


National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy & U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Adolescent Health Grant TP2AH000023-01-00, 2016-present

  • Innovation Next Accelerator Grant, $80,000
  • Phase-2 Implementation Grant, $325,000

(Role: Co-PI, with Romer, Butts)


U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Family & Youth Services Bureau, Personal Responsibility Education Program Innovative Strategies (PREIS) Grant, 2016-2021
$960,000 (Role: Consultant) (PIs: Clark, Desai)


Society of Family Planning Research Fund, Small Research Grant, 2016-2017, $14,477.17 (Role: PI)


NASW Foundation & CSWE Social Work HEALS Doctoral Fellowship, 2016-2017, $17,900 (Role: PI)