Dr. Nisha Gottfredson

Nisha C. Gottfredson O'Shea, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Health Behavior


Dr. Gottfredson is a quantitative methodologist who uses methods such as factor analysis, mixture models, longitudinal growth modeling, and causal models to operationalize complex hypotheses about the development of, and mechanisms underlying, human health behaviors. Her primary interest is in prevention science as it relates to substance use in adolescents and young adults, optimizing just-in-time adaptive mHealth interventions, and understanding patterns of co-occurring behaviors or mental health outcomes.

Nisha Gottfredson O'Shea in the Gillings News

Representative Courses

HBEH 761: General Linear Models, Mediation, and Moderation with Applications to Health Behavior

HBEH 762: Multilevel Modeling with Applications to Health Behavior

Research Activities

Dr. Gottfredson is currently leading two research projects:
 - R21 with the goal of developing a tool for researchers to implement reinforcement learning methods to adapt just-in-time interventions through machine learning.
 - R34 to develop and pilot an intervention to prevent early onset substance use by leveraging well-child checkups as a time to reach and influence parental behavior.

In addition, Dr. Gottfredson is co-lead of the Data Core on a P01 program project to improve HPV vaccination, led by Dr. Noel Brewer. 
Dr. Gottfredson also collaborates frequently on research projects with colleagues from Health Behavior, Maternal and Child Health, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Journalism.

Key Publications

Effects of tobacco on affect and craving during opioid addiction and recovery: An ecological momentary assessment study. Rhodes, B.E.* & Gottfredson, N.C. Addictive Behaviors, [* indicates student author].

Developmental premorbid body mass index trajectories of adolescents with eating disorders. Yilmaz, Z., Gottfredson, N.C., Zerwas, S., Bulik, C., & Micali, N. (2019). Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 58( ), 191-99, [First two authors contributed equally].

A straightforward approach for coping with unreliability of person means when parsing within-person and between-person effects in longitudinal studies. Gottfredson NC (2019). Addict Behav, 94( ), 156-61, PMCID: PMC6435441.


  • PhD, Psychology (Quantitative), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011
  • MA, Psychology (Quantitative), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2008
  • BA, Psychology and Mathematics, Pitzer College, Claremont Colleges, CA, 2006