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Margaret O'Brien Caughy

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Human Development and Family Science

Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Family Health Disparities

Dr. Caughy’s research combines the unique perspectives of developmental science, epidemiology, and public health in studying the contexts of risk and resilience affecting young children.


Degree Field of Study Institution Graduation
Sc.D. Maternal and Child Health Johns Hopkins School of Public Health 1992
M.Ed. Human Development University of Maryland, College Park 1989
B.S. Psychology Texas A&M 1986


I am Principal Investigator of the Dallas Project on Education Pathways (DPREP) funded by NICHD which explores the contextual, cultural, and family factors contributing to the development of self-regulation and academic achievement of African American and Latinx preschoolers experiencing poverty. We have been following this sample of over 400 children since they were 2.5 years old and are currently completing the 8th wave of data collection, when the target children are in 7th grade. I am particularly interested in how familial processes such as supportive parenting and ethnic-racial socialization support healthy development among children experiencing contextual stressors such as economic instability, racism and discrimination, and sociopolitical stress. Video recorded interactions between the study children and their mothers as well as their fathers have allowed us to identify culturally-specific ways that African American and Latinx parents support healthy development in their children.

For more information, visit my lab website: https://www.sdcdlab.com/

Prior Professional Positions

Organization Title Years of Service
University of Texas School of Public Health/Dallas Regional Campus Interim Regional Dean 1.5
University of Texas School of Public Health/Dallas Regional Campus Assistant Professor/Associate Professor/Professor 17
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health/Department of Maternal and Child Health Assistant Scientist 6


Award Name Awarded By Year Awarded
President Scholars’ Award for Teaching Excellence University of Texas Health Science Center Houston 2015
University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education University of Texas System 2015
University of Texas Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award University of Texas System 2015
Frontiers of Research on Children, Youth, and Families Initiative award National Academy of Sciences 1998

Current Classes

HDFS 8910 Graduate Study in Human Development and Family Science (Professional Seminar)

HDFS 4910/6910 Early and Middle Childhood

Current Research

Current funding:

NICHD 1R01HD100557-01A1, “The role of fathering in the language development among young, low-income African American and Latino children”, PI, 30%, Budget (total costs): $3,196,051 (2020-2025)

NICHD 2R01HD075311-04A1, “Self-regulation and the transition to middle school”, PI, 30%, Budget (total costs): $2,866,971 (2017-2022).

NICHD 1R01HD086832-01A1, “Quality of early mother-child communication and language outcome in low-income Hispanic children”, PI, 20%, Budget (total costs): $962,425 (2016-2020)

Journal Articles

Selected publications:

Yu, D., Caughy, M. O., Smith, E. P., Oshri, A., & Owen, M. T. (2020). Severe poverty and growth in behavioral self-regulation: The mediating role of parenting. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 68, 101135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2020.101135

Osborne, K.R.*, Caughy, M.O., Smith, E.P., & Oshri, A. (2020). Racism and preparation for bias within African American families. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000339

Walsdorf, A., Jordan, L. S., McGeorge, C. R., & Caughy, M. (2020). White supremacy and the web of family science: Implications of the missing spider. Journal of Family Theory and Review. 20(1), 64-79 https://doi.org/10.1111/jftr.12364

Caughy, M. O., Brinkley, D., Smith, E. P., & Owen, M. T. (2020). Fathering quality in early childhood and kindergarten achievement in low-income racial-ethnic minority children. Journal of Family Psychology, 34(2), 215–225. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000611

West, K., Oshri, A., Mitaro, E., Caughy, M. O., & Suveg, C. (2019). Maternal depression and preadolescent symptoms: An examination of dyad-level moderators in an economically-impoverished sample. Journal of Family Psychology, 34(3), 333–341.. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000610    

Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., Caughy, M. O., Rojas, R., Bakeman, R., Pacheco, D., Owen, M. T., Adamson, L. B., Suma, K., & Pace, A. (2019). Culture, parenting and language: Respeto in Latine mother-child interactions. Social Development, 29, 689-712. . https://doi.org/10.1111/sode.12430

Thomas, A., Caughy, M.O., Anderson, L. A., & Owen, M.T. (2019). Longitudinal associations between relationship quality and maternal depression among low-income African American and Hispanic mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 33(6), 722-729. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000548

Suveg, C., West, K. B., Davis, M., Caughy, M.O., Oshri, A., & Smith, E.P. (2019). Symptoms and synchrony: Mother and child internalizing problems moderate respiratory sinus arrhythmia concordance in mother-preadolescent dyads. Developmental Psychology, 55(2), 366–376. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev000064

Mills, B., Dyer, N., Pacheco, D., Brinkley, D., Owen, M. T., & Caughy, M. O. (2019). Developmental transactions between self-regulation and academic achievement among low income African American and Latino children. Child Development, 90, 1614-1631. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.1309

Van Horne, B., Caughy, M. O., Greeley, C. S., Mitchell, L. E., Morgan R. O., Canfield, M., & Case, A. P. (2018). First-time maltreatment in children ages 2 to 10 with and without specific birth defects: A population-based study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 84, 53-63. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.07.003

Caughy, M. O., Mills, B. A., Brinkley, D., & Owen, M. T. (2018). Behavioral self-regulation, early academic achievement, and the effectiveness of urban schools among low-income ethnic minority children. American Journal of Community Psychology, 61 (3-4), 372-385. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.1224

Pacheco, D., Owen, M. T., & Caughy, M. O. (2018). Growth in inhibitory control among low-income ethnic minority preschoolers: A group-based trajectory modeling approach. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 42, 247-255. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2017.10.010

Loria, H. & Caughy, M.O. (2017). Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in low-income Latino immigrant and non-immigrant children. Journal of Pediatrics, 192, 209-215. https://doi.org10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.09.056

Caughy, M.O., Mills, B., Owen, M.T., Dyer, N., & Oshri, A. (2017). Ethnic differences in mothering qualities and relations to academic achievement. Journal of Family Psychology, 31 (7), 855-866. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000334 [PMCID PMC28627911]

Caughy, M.O., Peredo, T., Owen, M.T., & Mills, B. (2016). Gender differences in the relation between mothering behaviors and child behavior problems among Hispanic preschoolers. Developmental Psychology, 52, (4), 596-598. [PMCID PMC28627911]

Peredo, T., Owen, M.T., Rojas, R., & Caughy, M.O. (2015). Child vocabulary, maternal behavior, and inhibitory control development among Spanish-speaking children. Early Education and Development, 26 (5-6), 749-769. [PMCID PMC4543291]

Caughy, M. O., & Owen, M. T. (2015). Cultural socialization and school readiness of African American and Latino preschoolers. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21, 391-399. doi: 10.1037/a0037928. [PMCID PMC4476942]

Dyer, N., Owen, M. T., & Caughy, M. O. (2014). Ethnic differences in profiles of mother-child interactions and relations to emerging school readiness in African American and Latin American children. Parenting:  Science and Practice, 14, 175-194. doi: 10.1080/15295192.2014.972756.  [PMCID PMC4477830]

Caughy, M.O. (2014). Observing social interactions in neighborhoods: Advancing methods of systematic social observation. Invited commentary. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 8 (2), 70-73.

Caughy, M.O., Mills, B., Owen, M.T., & Hurst, J.R. (2013). Emergent self-regulation skills among very young ethnic minority children: A confirmatory factor model. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116 (4), 839-855. [PMCID PMC3839096]

Caughy, M.O., Leonard, T., Beron, K., & Murdoch, J. (2013). Defining neighborhood boundaries in studies of spatial dependence in child behavior problems. International Journal of Health Geographics, 12: 24.

Owen, M.T., Caughy, M.O., Hurst, J.R., Amos, M., Hasanizadeh, N. (2013). Contributions of fathering and mothering to emerging self regulation in low-income ethnic minority preschoolers. Early Child Development and Care, 183 (3-4), 464-482. [PMCID PMC3739427]

Caughy, M.O., Franzini, L., Windle, M., Dittus, P., Cuccaro, P., Elliott, M.N., & Schuster, M.A.  (2012). Social competence in late elementary school: Relations to parenting and neighborhood context.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41, 1613-1627.

Leonard, T.C.M., Caughy, M.O., Mays, J.K., & Murdoch, J.C. (2011). Systematic neighborhood observations at high spatial resolution:  Methodology and assessment of potential benefits.  PLoS ONE 6 (6), e20225.

Caughy, M.O., Nettles, S.M., & Lima, J.  (2011). Profiles of racial socialization among African American parents: Correlates, context, and outcome.  Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20, 491-502.

Lima, J., Caughy, M.O., Nettles, S.M., & O’Campo, P.J.  (2010). Effects of cumulative risk on behavioral adjustment in first grade: Moderation by neighborhood context. Social Science & Medicine, 71, 1447-1454. [PMCID 20732735]

O’Campo, P., Caughy, M.O., Lohrfink, K., & Nettles, S.  (2010). Partner abuse or violence, parenting and neighborhood influences on children’s behavior problems.  Social Science & Medicine, 70, 1404-1415. [PMCID 20163906]

Schaefer-McDaniel, N., Caughy, M.O., O’Campo, P., & Gearey, W. (2010). Examining methodological details of neighborhood observations and the relationship to health: A literature review.  Social Science & Medicine, 20, 277-292. [PMCID 19883966]

Caughy, M.O., Huang, K.Y., Lima, J.  (2009). Patterns of conflict interaction in mother-toddler dyads:  Differences between depressed and non-depressed mothers.  Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18(1), 10-20. (PMCID:PMC3582363) 

Emory, R., Caughy, M.O., Harris, T.R., & Franzini, L. (2008).  Neighborhood social processes and academic achievement in elementary school.  Journal of Community Psychology, 36 (7), 885-898.

Franzini, L., Caughy, M.O., O’Campo, P.J., & Nettles, S.M.  (2008). Perceptions of disorder:  Contributions of neighborhood population characteristics to subjective perceptions of physical disorder.  Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28 (1), 83-93.

Caughy, M.O., O’Campo, P.J, & Nettles, S.M. (2008). The effect of residential neighborhood on child behavior problems in first grade.  American Journal of Community Psychology, 42 (1-2), 39-50. [PMCID 18607720]

Nettles, S.M., Caughy, M.O., & O’Campo, P.J. (2008). School adjustment in the early elementary years:  Toward an integrated model of neighborhood, parental, and child processes.  Review of Educational Research, 78, 3-32.

Owen, M.T., Klausli, J., Mata-Otero, A.M., & Caughy, M.O.  (2008). Relationship-focused child care practices:  Quality of care and child outcomes for children in poverty.  Early Education and Development, 19 (2), 302-329.

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