INRICH Member Profile Card

Jennifer McGrath

Jennifer McGrath

Concordia University

Jennifer J. McGrath, Ph.D., M.P.H. received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Dual Specialization: Child Clinical and Behavioral Medicine) from Bowling Green State University, Ohio and her M.P.H. in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Training Program of the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at Concordia University, Montreal and the Director of the Pediatric Public Health Psychology laboratory. Dr. McGrath is a CIHR New Investigator (2009-2014), the 2009 Concordia University Research Award Fellow, and the 2009 Canadian Psychological Association Mentor of the Year. Dr. McGrath is the principal investigator of 7 grants with funding totaling over $3.6 million from CIHR, FQRSC, and CTCRI, among others. Additionally, she is a co-investigator on 5 additional grants with funding totaling over $3 million.

Type of member: Regular

Telephone: (514) 848-2424 x5207

Email Address:

Mailing Address: Concordia University, Department of Psychology, PY139.3, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, QC H4B 1R6 Canada

Collaborative Projects

I am a co-investigator on the ELDEQ-Sante Longitudinal Cohort project led by Dr. Louise Seguin.

Current research interests
My research broadly focuses on the pathogenesis of subclinical cardiovascular disease markers across childhood and adolescence as mediated by potential behavioral, environmental, and psychological mechanisms that influence these markers, and possibly confer susceptibility to developing cardiovascular disease. The overarching aims of my research program have been threefold. First, I am examining socioeconomic position and stress exposure as possible determinants of health inequalities in children and adolescents. Disease is not equitably distributed across the population; rather, individuals of lower socioeconomic status (measured by education, occupation, or wealth) or who experience more stressful events have higher rates of disease. Reducing health disparities is an important public health priority; however, the means by which the social environment becomes translated into physiological and psychological processes that influence health remains unclear. Of particular interest is how contextual effects (at the neighborhood level) contribute to the disease process. Second, I am investigating the initiation, establishment, and maintenance of lifestyle behaviors in childhood and adolescence associated with later cardiovascular disease. Specifically, I am interested in learning how children acquire healthy and unhealthy habits related to smoking, physical activity and sedentary behavior, diet, and sleep. Third, I am attempting to elucidate whether autonomic and neuroendocrine responses to stress are pathogenic mechanisms associated with cardiovascular risk factors, such as metabolic syndrome and obesity, in children and adolescents. These three overarching research aims are being addressed through four longitudinal cohort projects: The Healthy Heart Project, QUALITY Cohort, ELDEQ, and AdoQuest.

Research priorities
Pathways and mechanisms: Cumulative and additive social risk exposures (e.g. transient v. persistent poverty). Stress and allostatic load. Social into the biological and epigenetic. | Methodological issues: Methods for examining change over time including longitudinal effects studies. Need to define poverty. Need to study social gradients as well as poverty. Multi-level studies - Society, Family & Individual. Regional studies (within countries). Which indicators? for example, perception of health vs. objective measures of health (these may be more reliable in studying mechanisms). | Other:

Pathophysiological mechanisms by which stress and socioeconomic inequalities get "under the skin"

Selected publications

Chaiton, M., Sabiston, C., Oloughlin, J., Mcgrath, J. J., Maximova, K., & Lambert, M. (2009). A structural equation model relating adiposity, psychosocial indicators of body image and depressive symptoms among adolescents. International Journal of Obesity, 33(5), 588-596. doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.43

Maximova, K., Mcgrath, J. J., Barnett, T., Oloughlin, J., Paradis, G., & Lambert, M. (2008). Do you see what I see? Weight status misperception and exposure to obesity among children and adolescents. International Journal of Obesity, 32(6), 1008-1015. doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.15