Margaret OBrien Caughy, Sc.D.

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Human Development and Family Science

Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Family Health Disparities

108 Family Science Center II (House D)
405 Sanford Dr.
Athens, GA 30602


workOffice Phone: 706-542-4899


Curriculum Vitae


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


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. She is particularly interested in race/ethnic disparities in health and development and how these disparities can be understood within the unique ecological niches of ethnic minority families. Dr. Caughy has been the principal investigator of several studies focused on how inequities in family and community processes affect the cognitive development, socioemotional functioning, and early academic achievement of young children in diverse race/ethnic groups. Another theme of her research has been methodological, specifically methods related to measuring neighborhood context and the utilization of these measures in models explaining child developmental competence using multilevel and structural equations modeling methods. 

Current Research

I am currently Principal Investigator of the Dallas Preschool Readiness Project (DPReP) funded by NICHD which explores the contextual, cultural, and family factors contributing to the development of self-regulation in low income African American and Latino preschoolers and how these processes facilitate school readiness in these children. The study includes over 400 children and their families followed over four waves of data collection (age 2.5 years, age 3.5 years, kindergarten, and first grade) so far. Measures include a comprehensive set of assessments of child functioning and family context including repeated measures of child self-regulation/executive function, video-recorded mother-child and father-child interaction, and child academic achievement. I am also Principal Investigator of an NICHD-funded study utilizing video-recorded mother-child interaction data from DPReP to examine the quality of the communication foundation among the Spanish-speaking children and mothers in the DPReP sample in relation to language development and early academic achievement. This project is being conducted in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Texas at Dallas, Georgia State University, Temple University, the University of Delaware, New York University, and the University of Washington. Recently, DPReP has been funded for another five years to follow our participating families as the study children move from elementary school into middle school.

Prior Professional Positions

Organization / Department 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

Journal Articles

Selected publications:

●    Loria, H. & Caughy, M.O. (2017). Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences in low-income Latino immigrant and non-immigrant children. Journal of Pediatrics (in press).

●    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 (in press).

●    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]

●    Duncan, A.F., & Caughy, M.O.  (2009). Parenting style and vulnerable child syndrome.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 22 (4), 228-234. [PMCID 19930304]

●    Huang, K.Y, Caughy, M.O., Lee, L., Miller, T. & Genevro, J.  (2009). Stability of maternal discipline and the quality of mother-child interaction during toddlerhood.  Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(4), 431-441.  (PMCID:PMC3582366) 

●    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.