Suzanne King, PhD

Dr. King is a Full Professor (retired – January 2023) in the McGill Department of Psychiatry, and a Principal Investigator at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre. Although retired, she is still working actively on completing her multiple projects. The primary objective of her research is to increase understanding of the effects of prenatal maternal stress on perinatal outcomes and on the cognitive, behavioral, physical, and motor development of the unborn child. Her work is unique in the use of five natural disasters (ice storm, floods, wildfire) and the COVID-19 pandemic as quasi-random stressors, approximating the experimental method used in animal research. Her unique psychosocial methods assess objective, subjective, and cognitive aspects of women’s stress experience. Working with numerous collaborators, she investigates genetic, epigenetic, cardio-metabolic, and neurological mediators and moderators of the effects of prenatal stress on child development. Information on these studies, and links to publications, can be found at:

Dr. King is open to supervising students at all levels, however her post-retirement appointment only allows her to co-supervise students with other professors.

suzanne.king [at] (Email) | Institut Douglas

Selected recent publications:

Scopus Author ID: 7403002810

Lipschutz, R., et al. Maternal Posttraumatic Stress Mediates the Effect of Prenatal Maternal Hardship on Infant Temperament at 6 months: The Harvey Mom Study. (In Press) Development and Psychopathology.

Ambeskovic, M., Laplante, D.P., Kenney, T., Elgbeili, G., Beaumier, P., Azat, N., Simcock, G., Kildea, S., King, S., & Metz, G.A.S.. (2022) Elemental analysis of hair provides biomarkers of maternal hardship linked to adverse behavioural outcomes in 4-year-old children: The QF2011 Queensland Flood. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 73(2022) 127036.

Di Paolo, A.L., King, S., McLean M.A., Lequertier, Elgbeili, G., Kildea, S., & Dahlen, H. G. (2022). Prenatal stress from the COVID-19 pandemic predicts maternal postpartum anxiety as moderated by psychological factors: The Australian BITTOC Study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 314, 68-77.

Paquin V, Elgbeili G, Munden J, Ciampi A, King S. (2022) Conditional associations between childhood cat ownership and psychotic experiences in adulthood: a retrospective study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 148, 197-203.

Ahmed, A., King, S., Elgbeil1, G. Laplant1, D.P., & Yang, S. (2021) Effects of maternal exposure to acute stress on birth outcomes: A quasi-experiment study. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease 1-12.

Lafortune, S., Laplante, D.P., Elgbeili, G., Li, X., Lebel, S., Dagenais, C., & King, S. (2021) Effect of natural disaster-related prenatal maternal stress on child development and health: A meta-analytic review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 18(6) 8332. Special issue on Prenatal Stress, Health Behaviors and Child Development.

Cao-Lei5, L., Yogendran3, S., Dufoix, R., Elgbeili1, G., Laplante1, D.P. & King, S. (2021) Prenatal maternal stress from a natural disaster and hippocampal volumes: Gene-by-Environment Interactions in young adolescents from Project Ice Storm. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (special issue on Gene and Environment Interactions in Neurodevelopmental Disorders). 15, 706660 doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2021.706660

Hyde, A., Verstraeten, B.S.E., Olson, J.K., King, S., Brémault-Phillips, S., Olson, D.M. (2021) The Fort McMurray Mommy Baby Study: A protocol to reduce maternal stress due to the 2016 Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, Alberta, Canada wildfires. Frontiers in Public Health.

Paquin5, V., Lapierre4, M., Veru, F. & King, S. (2021) Early upheaval and the risk for schizophrenia. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 17:285-311. Online February 5, 2021.
doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-081219-103805

Pruessner, M., King, S., Veru, F., Schalinski, I., Vracotas, N., Jordan, G., Lepage, M., Iyer, S., Malla, A., Shah, J., Joober, R. (2021). Impact of childhood trauma on positive and negative symptom remission in first episode psychosis. Schizophrenia Research, 231: 82-89.

Paquin, V., Bick, J., Lipschutz, R., Elgbeili, G., Laplante, D.P., Biekman, B., Brunet, A., King S., Olson, D., (2021). Unexpected effects of expressive writing on post-disaster distress in the Hurricane Harvey Study: a randomized controlled trial in perinatal women. Psychological Medicine. DOI:

Paquin, V., Elgbeili, G., Laplante, D.P., Kildea, S., & King, S. (2021). Positive cognitive appraisal “buffers” the long-term effect of peritraumatic distress on maternal anxiety: The QF2011 Queensland Flood Study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 278, 5-12.

Verstraeten, B.S.E, Elgbeili1, G., Hyde, A., King, S., and Olson, D.M. (2020) Maternal mental health after a wildfire: Effects of social support in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Study. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 66(8)

McLean, M.A., Cobham, V.E., Simcock, G., Lequertier, B., Kildea, S., & King, S. (2020). Childhood anxiety: Prenatal maternal stress and parenting in the QF2011 cohort. Child Psychiatry and Human Development.

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