I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2003 from SUNY Stony Brook, where I worked with Dan Klein. During my time as a graduate student, I developed an interest in the relationship between temperament and mood, particularly in terms of how individual differences in emotional experience confer risk for the development of mood disorders. My training ingrained in me the value of approaching this question from a variety of perspectives; thus, my research has included child and adult samples, as well as patient and community populations. I also developed an appreciation of the importance of multi-method assessments of complex constructs and the use of longitudinal methods within a developmental psychopathology framework.

Temperamental risk for mood disorders undoubtedly derives some basis from underlying genetic processes, and for my postdoctoral training, I was eager to increase my understanding of molecular genetics. Therefore, after receiving my Ph.D., I completed a two year postdoctoral fellowship at Indiana University School of Medicine, where I worked with John Nurnberger , Jr. My postdoctoral training emphasized the role of genetic mechanisms in temperamental differences in emotions and affective disorders risk.

I have worked at Western since joining the Psychology Department in 2005. I joined the Brain and Mind Institute as a Principal Investigator in 2012, and as of July 2015, I am a full professor in psychology. My current research continues to aim at characterizing the mechanisms by which temperament confers risk for mood disturbances, taking a perspective informed by developmental processes.

Administrative Support

Penni Pring (Office: WH 326)


Research Group

Research Interest Area 

Mental health and behavioural disorders
Children's health

Research Overview

Depression, an often chronic and devastating disorder, arises from complex and dynamic causal influences.  To better understand this complexity, Elizabeth P. Hayden (University of Western Ontario) studies the early origins of depression by testing integrated models of biological and environmental vulnerabilities, and by studying the interplay between these risks over time. More specifically, Dr. Hayden’s work has two goals: (1) identifying factors that predispose young children to be vulnerable to adversity, especially hormonal, genetic, and emotional stress reactivity, and (2) understanding how these influences work together during early development to place children on high-risk pathways to depression.