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Kimberly Yonkers, MD

Professor Adjunct of Psychiatry

Contact Information

Kimberly Yonkers, MD

Research Summary

Through research, I am committed to servicing women who suffer from mood and anxiety disorders. My specific interests have included sex differences in these conditions as well as the relationship and treatment of mood, anxiety and substance use disorder occurring during the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy and parturition. My research foci are several and include determining the efficacy and effectiveness of pharmacological treatments of perinatal mood disorders substance use disorders and PMDD, determine the degree of health care utilization among women with PMDD and perinatal depression and investigating the impact of perinatal depressive, anxiety and substance use disorders on birth outcomes.

Extensive Research Description

My longstanding interest has been investigations into the clinical course, etiopathology and treatment of psychiatric disorders as they occur in women. A major component of this work includes investigations into the occurrence and treatment of illnesses in pregnancy and the postpartum period, and across the menstrual cycle. This area, by its nature, cuts across disciplines and requires psychiatric expertise, as well as knowledge in neuroscience and reproductive biology.

Reciprocally, I have been involved in the assessment of the effects that psychiatric illnesses and their treatments, have on perinatal outcomes. In a cohort study funded by NICHD, we recruited approximately 2800 women and interviewed them three times during pregnancy. We are assessing whether depression is a risk factor for preterm delivery, independent of antidepressant treatment. This large prospective cohort study includes information on maternal psychiatric illness, antidepressant treatment and other obstetrical risk factors.

Ongoing NIDA studies are assessing the comorbidity, course, consequences and treatment of hazardous substance use in pregnancy and the immediate postpartum time. This study entails following a large cohort of pregnant women who used drugs or alcohol in pregnancy and testing a behavioral treatment for drug and alcohol use. This rich, longitudinal data set also provides information on the clinical course of substance use disorders in pregnancy and after delivery.

  • Symptom onset study for premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Screening and referral for women with substance misuse
  • Progesterone as a treatment for postpartum cocaine use
  • Implementation of motivational interviewing in the general hospital setting


Research Interests

Anxiety Disorders; Health Care Quality, Access, and Evaluation; Mood Disorders; Substance-Related Disorders; Sexual and Gender Disorders

Selected Publications