Andrea Gonzalez

  • Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences
  • Associate Member, Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics
  • Member of McMaster Neuroscience Graduate Program

Dr. Gonzalez’ research program focuses on the developmental consequences of early life adversity; the impact of traumatic experience on brain development, behavioural outcomes and health; the intergenerational transmission of risk; and developing and evaluating evidence-based preventive interventions. Her previous training encompasses psychology, neuroscience and epidemiology with specific emphasis on assessing preventive interventions, stress physiology, parenting, and statistical modelling including structural equation modelling and hierarchical linear modelling. She holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Family Health and Preventive Interventions, and has been funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Behavioral Brain Foundation.  She is the co-Principal Investigator on four randomized controlled trials assessing the effectiveness of preventive interventions with high risk populations of young families, the Nurse Family Partnership, the Family Check Up, SafeCare, and the Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) where she collects both behavioural and biological measures from mothers and their children (ages 0-6 years) within the context of evidence-based interventions.

Current Activities

  • MEPP (Maternal Executive Processes & Parenting) Study – a longitudinal study examining the impact of maternal cognitive function on parenting processes and infant cognitive and emotional development (funded by SSHRC)
  • Healthy Foundations Study – an adjunct study of the British Columbia Healthy Connections Project (BCHCP), examining the impact of a preventive home visitation intervention – the Nurse Family Partnership, on biological outcomes in infants across the first two years of life (funded by CIHR)
  • Postpartum Depression Biological Study (PPD – BioStudy) – examining biological factors (immune and stress system markers and oxytocin) in relation to postpartum depression and parenting processes in new mothers (funded by NARSAD)


  • Gonzalez A, Catherine N, Boyle M, Jack SM, Atkinson L, Kobor M, Sheehan D, Tonmyr L, Waddell C, MacMillan HL. Healthy Foundations Study: a randomised controlled trial to evaluate biological embedding of early-life experiences. BMJ Open. 2018 Jan 26;8(1):e018915. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018915. PubMed PMID: 29374668; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5829768.
  • Nofech-Mozes, J., Pereira, J., Gonzalez, A., & Atkinson, L. (2018). Cortisol secretion moderates the association between mother-infant attachment at 17 months and child behavior at age 5 years. Developmental Psychobiology, 61, 239-253. doi: 10.1002/dev.21799
  • Riederm A. D., Roth, S. L., Musyimi, C., Ndetei, D., Sassi, R. B., Mutiso, V.,... Gonzalez, A. (2019). Impact of maternal adverse childhood experiences on child socioemotonal function in rural Kenya: Mediating role of maternal mental health. Developmental Science. doi: 10.11111/desc.12833
  • Andrews, K., & Gonzalez, A. (2018). Contextual risk factors impacting the colonization and development of the intestinal microbiota: Implications for children in low- and middle-income countries. (2018). Developmental Psychobiology. doi: 10.1002/dev.21823
  • England-Mason, G., Casey, R., Ferro, M., MacMillan, H. L., Tonmyr, L., & Gonzalez, A. (2018). Child maltreatment and adult multimorbidity: results from the canadian community health survey. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 109, 561-572. doi:
  • Atkinson, L., Gonzalez, A., Basile, V., Maselis, M., Pereira, J., Chisholm, V.C. & Levitan, R. (2013). Maternal sensitivity and infant and mother adrenocortical function across challenges. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38, 2943-2951 doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.08.001.
  • Gonzalez, A., Boyle, M., Khu, H.H., Georgiades, K., Duncan, L., & MacMillan, H.L. (2012). Childhood influences on depression, chronic conditions and their comorbidity: findings from the Ontario Child Health Study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 46(11), 1475-1482.
  • Gonzalez, A., Jenkins, J., Steiner, M., & Fleming, A.S. (2012). Neuropsychology and physiology as intervening variables between early life adversity and current maternal functioning. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(7), 673-682.

For further publications click here.

Contact Andrea


Research Interests

  • Parenting processes and child developmental outcomes
  • Biological and executive functioning
  • Preventive interventions

Education, Memberships & Certifications

  • M.A., University of Toronto
  • Ph.D., University of Toronto