Sylvana Côté , Ph.D.
    Sylvana Côté
    Research Axis
    Brain and Child Development Axis
    Research Theme
    Development of psychopathologies

    514 343-6963

    514 343-6962



    • Axis Head Deputy, Brain and Child Development, CHU Sainte-Justine
    • Full Professor, Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal


    • Postdoctorate, Developmental Psychology, Carnegie Mellon, United States, 2001-2003
    • PhD, Psychology, University of Montreal, 1997-2001
    • Masters, Psychology, Université Laval, 1994-1996
    • Bachelor, Psychology, McGill University, 1991-1994

    Research Interests

    I adopt a life-span and intergenerational perspective to examine the associations between family risks and the development of mental health problems in the next generation. I am particularly interested in the interplay between biological (e.g. genetic) and social (e.g. poverty, lifestyle) factors which together increase or reduce risk of mental health problems. An important part of my work is devoted to studying the role of social or experimental programs that could reduce the associations between family risks and mental health problems in the offspring. For instance, I have been leading a research program on the impact of child care services on children’s long-term mental and physical health. Specifically, I examine the conditions under which child care services early in life can reduce risk for mental and physical health problems for disadvantaged children.

    In a series of papers, my colleagues and I showed that children who evolve in high risk family environments (e.g. poverty, stress, conflicts, low education) and who receive child care services have reduced risk for behavioural problems as compared to those who remain in maternal care, and that the impact is more important if child care services are initiated earlier. We show a similar protective effect of child care services for disadvantaged children with regard to cognitive performance and school readiness. My publications also include a paper reporting on the results of a Québec RCT nested in a longitudinal study, showing the impact of social skills training on the reduction of risks for high-level trajectories of antisocial behaviours. In relation to my work on child care and early environmental determinants of health and social outcomes, I am leading the post-natal follow-up of a sample of 500 women recruited during pregnancy. The study involves extensive assessment of the child care and family experiences of the participants.

    Awards and Distinctions

    • Senior researcher award, Fond de Recherche en Santé du Québec, 2011-2016
    • New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), 2006-2011
    • Belle van Zuylen Chair, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, 2006
    • Mary C. Early Fellowship Award, Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation (CPRF), 2005
    • Postdoctoral Award, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), 2001-2003
    • Doctoral Award, National Consortium on Violence Research (NCOVR), National Science Foundation (NSF), 1999-2001
    • McConnell/SSHRC Award for Excellence in Public Communication of Research, 1999
    • Doctoral Award, SSHRC, 1998-2001

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