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Phyllis Zelkowitz, PhD


Phyllis Zelkowitz is Research Director in the Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. She serves as Associate Chair  and Chair of the Science Committee of the Jewish General Hospital Research Ethics Committee. Dr. Zelkowitz received a B.A. (Honours) in Psychology from McGill University, and an M.A. in Educational Psychology from the University of Toronto. She obtained her doctorate in Human Development at Harvard University.

Her research interests are in the field of perinatal mental health, incorporating individual, contextual, and cultural factors. For example, her research on parental adjustment to the birth of a very low birthweight infant examined individual characteristics of the parents (such as anxiety and feelings of competence), contextual variables (such as social support and the marital relationship), and cultural factors related to parenting attitudes and behavior.  She has also studied postpartum depression in native born and immigrant women, and risk factors for borderline pathology in mothers and children. Dr. Zelkowitz is the recipient of a CIHR Emerging Team Grant in Perinatal Mental Health. This 5 year grant funds a research program that combines multiple methods in the study of perinatal mental illness, linking adverse life circumstances, hormonal and physiological risk factors to maternal mental health problems, which in turn may affect the mother-infant relationship. This research program also investigates health services needs and utilization patterns among women from diverse sociocultural backgrounds. Other ongoing research involves an examination of the social context and psychological distress in couples seeking assisted reproductive technology services. This research included a demographic survey of patients seeking fertility treatment at two Montreal-area clinics, in order to determine whether there have been changes in the sociodemographic profile of the patient population in the wake of the extension of provincial health care coverage for in vitro fertilization.


Selected Articles

Zelkowitz, P., Looper, K. J., Mustafa, S., & Purden, M. (2013). McGill Early Arthritis Research Group, Baron, M. Parenting disability, parenting stress and child behavior in early inflammatory arthritis. Chronic Diseases and Injuries in Canada, 33(2), 81-87.

Tulandi, T., King, L., & Zelkowitz, P. (May 2013). Public funding and access to IVF. New England Journal of Medicine, 368 (20), 1948-1949.

Feeley, N., Waitzer, E., Sherrard, K., Boisvert, L., & Zelkowitz, P. (Jan. 2013). Fathers' perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to their involvement with their newborn hospitalised in the neonatal intensive care unit. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22 (3-4), 521-530.

Feeley, N., Zelkowitz, P., Shrier, I., Stremler, R., Westreich, R., Dunkley, D., Steele, R., Rosberger, Z., Lefebvre, F., & Papageorgiou, A. (June 2012). Follow-Up of the Cues and Care Trial: Mother and Infant Outcomes at 6 Months. Journal of Early Intervention, 34 (2), 65-81. 

Zelkowitz, P., & Papageorgiou, A. (2012). Easing maternal anxiety: An update. Women’s Health, 8, 205-213.

Sofronas, M., Feeley, N., Zelkowitz, P., & Sebbagh, M. (2011). Obstetric and neonatology nurses' attitudes, beliefs, and practices related to the management of symptoms of maternal depression. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 32, 735-744.

Zelkowitz, P., Feeley, N., Shrier, I., Stremler, R., Westreich, R., Dunkley, D., Steele, R., Rosberger, Z., Lefebvre, F., & Papageorgiou, A. (2011). The Cues and Care randomized controlled trial of a neonatal intensive care unit intervention: Effects on maternal psychological distress and mother-infant interaction. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32, 591-599.    

Guzder, J., Bond, S., Rabiau, M., Zelkowitz, P., & Rohar, S. (2011). The relationship between alliance, attachment and outcome in a child multi-modal treatment population: Pilot study. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 20, 196-202.

Biskin, R. S., Paris, J., Raz, A., Renaud, J., & Zelkowitz, P. (2011). Outcomes in women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in adolescence. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 20, 168-174.

Looper, K. J., Mustafa, S., Zelkowitz, P., Purden, M., & Baron, M. (2011).  History of depressive episodes as a risk factor for illness severity in early inflammatory arthritis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 71, 28-31.

Zelkowitz, P., Na, S., Wang, T., Bardin, C., & Papageorgiou, A. (2011). Early maternal anxiety predicts cognitive and behavioural outcomes of VLBW children at 24 months corrected age. Acta Paediatrica, 100, 700-704.

Feeley, N., Zelkowitz, P., Charbonneau, L., Cormier, C., Lacroix, A., & Papageorgiou, A. (2011). Post-traumatic stress among mothers of very-low-birthweight infants 6 months after discharge from the NICU. Applied Nursing Research, 24, 114-117.

Groleau, D., Zelkowitz, P., & Cabral, I. (2009). Enhancing generalizability: Moving from an intimate to a political voice. Qualitative Health Research, 19, 416-426.

Zelkowitz, P., Papageorgiou, A., Bardin,C., & Wang, T. (2009). Persistent maternal anxiety affects the interaction between mothers and their very low birthweight infants at 24 months. Early Human Development, 85, 51-58

Feeley, N., Zelkowitz, P., Charbonneau, L., Cormier, C., Lacroix, A., Ste Marie, C. & Papageorgiou, A. (2008). Promoting mothers’ ability to interact sensitively with their very-low birthweight infant: A pilot study.  Advances in Neonatal Care, 8, 276-284.

Zelkowitz, P., Feeley, N., Shrier, I., Stremler, R., Westreich, R., Dunkley, R., Steele, R., Rosberger, Z., Lefebvre, F., & Papageorgiou, A. (2008). The Cues and Care Trial: A randomized controlled trial of an intervention to reduce maternal anxiety and improve developmental outcomes in very low birthweight infants. BMC Pediatrics, 8: 38.

Zelkowitz, P., Saucier, J-F., Wang, T., Katofsky, L., Valenzuela, M., Westreich, R. (2008). Stability and change in depressive symptoms from pregnancy to two months postpartum in childbearing immigrant women. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 11, 1 -11.

Zelkowitz, P. (2007). La santé mentale des immigrantes enceintes. Psychologie Québec, 24(3), 22-23.

Zelkowitz, P., Schinazi, J., Katofsky, L., Saucier, J-F., Valenzuela, M., Westreich, R., & Dayan, J. (2004).  Factors associated with depression in pregnant immigrant women. Transcultural Psychiatry, 41,445-464