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 recently completed the 8th wave of data collection, when the target children were 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:

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 8720 Ecological Perspectives on Individual and Family Diversity

HDFS 8950 Seminar in Family Health Disparities

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 3R01HD100557 (supplement), “Developing culturally appropriate language assessment tools for low-income African American and Hispanic young children”, PI, 10%, Budget (total costs): $548,651 (2023-2024)

NICHD 2R01HD075311-04A1, “Self-regulation and the transition to middle school”, PI, 30%, Budget (total costs): $4,544,840 (2013-2024).

Journal Articles

Selected publications:

Morton, L.*†, Osborne, K., Anderson, L., Owen, M., & Caughy, M. (2023). “At the end of the day, someone done lost their child”: A mixed methods analysis of Black families’ experiences of the sociopolitical climate. Family Process, in press [† = shared first authorship]

Walsdorf, A. A., Caughy, M. O., Osborne, K. R., Valdez, C. R., King, V. A., & Owen, M. T. (2023). Acculturation stress magnifies child depression effect of stressful life events for Latinx youth three years later. Journal of Latinx Psychology. (in press)

Owen, M.T., Pacheco, D., Dyer, N., Barnes, J.C., Von Hatten, L., & Caughy, M.O. (2023). Stability of parenting profiles in early childhood among African American mothers experiencing poverty. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. (in press)

Morton, L.,* Anderson, L., Caughy, M., Odejimi, L., Osborne, K., Suma, K.,* & Little, T. (2023). Changes in ethnic identity in middle childhood: Family and neighborhood determinants. Journal of Early Adolescence. Advance Online Publication.

Caughy, M.O., Anderson, L., & Contreras, M. (2023). Message received: Concordance between parents and children in perceptions of messages about race and ethnic identity development. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. (in press)

Osborne, K., & Caughy, M.O. (2023). Patterns of observed dyadic ethnic-racial socialization among Black and Latinx families in response to a hypothetical experience of discrimination at school. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. (in press)

Osborne, K. R., Smith-Bynum, M. A., Anderson, L. A., Walsdorf, A. A., Owen, M. T., & Caughy, M. O. (2023). Preparing Black and Latinx children for police encounters: Caregiver response profiles and child self-regulation. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 33, 547–563. 

Brinkley, D. Y., Caughy, M. O., & Owen, M. T. (2023). Mothers’ school readiness beliefs and literacy involvement and children’s academic outcomes in ethnic minority families. Early Education and Development, 34(5), 1093-1108

Osborne, K., Smith-Bynum, M., Walsdorf, A., Anderson, L., & Caughy, M. O. (2022). Preparing Black and Latinx children for police encounters: Observing ethnic-racial socialization in action and the fit between caregiver response profiles and child self-regulation. Journal of Research on Adolescence (in press).

Osborne, K. R., Smith-Bynum, M., Redig, S.*, Brinkley, D., Owen, M.T., & Caughy, M. O. (2022). Responding to racism at school: Ethnic-racial socialization and the academic engagement of Black and Latinx youth. Child Development, 94(1), 219-236.

Caughy, M., Brinkley, D., Pacheco, D., Rojas, R., Miao, A., Contreras, M., Owen, M. T., Easterbooks, M. A., & McClelland, M. (2022). Self-regulation development among young Spanish dual language learners. Early Childhood Research Quarterly (in press).

Brinkley, D. Y., Caughy, M. O., & Owen, M. T. (2022). Mothers’ school readiness beliefs and literacy involvement and children’s academic outcomes in ethnic minority families. Early Education and Development. Advance online publication.

Pace, A., Rojas, R., Bakeman, R., Adamson, L.B., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S., Caughy, M.O., Owen, M.T., & Suma, K.* (2022). A longitudinal study of language use during early mother-child interactions in Spanish-speaking families experiencing low income. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 65, 303-319.

Contreras, M., Caughy, M. O., & Owen, M. T. (2022). Emergence of ethnic-racial socialization for African American and Latinx families: Evidence for factorial validity and measurement invariance across early childhood. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Advance online publication.

Walsdorf, A. A., Roche, K. M., Caughy, M. O., & McGeorge, C. R. (2021). Latinx parents’ perceptions of how the changing immigration climate has affected their adolescent children. Journal of Latinx Psychology, 10(1), 54-70.

Contreras, M., Osborne, K., Walsdorf, A., Anderson, L. A., Caughy, M.O., Owen, M.T., &. (2021). Holding both truths: Early dynamics of ethnic-racial socialization and children's behavior adjustment in African American and Latinx families. Journal of Social Issues (Special Issue on Ethnic-Racial Socialization Among Children and Adolescents), 77 (4), 987-1013.

Anderson, L., Caughy, M.O., & Owen, M. T. (2021). “The Talk” and parenting while Black in America: Centering race, resistance, and refuge. Journal of Black Psychology, Advance online publication.

Oshri, A., Liu, S., Caughy, M. O., Suveg, C., & Goodgame-Huffman. (2021). Biological sensitivity to context as a dyadic construct: An investigation of child-parent RSA synchrony among low-SES youth. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication.

Caughy, M. O. (2021). Toward a strengths-based model of Latinx child development: Invited commentary on Davis, Carlo and Maiya. Human Development, 65, 217-220.

Osborne, K. R.*, Duprey, E., Caughy, M. O., & Oshri, A. (2021). Parents’ maltreatment history, dimensions of emotion regulation, and connections to offspring self-regulation: A sex-specific transmission pathway. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. Advance online publication.

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.

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.

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

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.

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..    

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. .

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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. [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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