Teacher Stress Study

Holly Brophy-Herb, PI; Claire Vallotton, Ann Stacks, Patricia Jennings, Ahnalee Brincks, Russel Carson; Michigan State University, Wayne State University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Northern Colorado. 

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Teacher Stress studies examines ongoing stress and coping in Early Head Start infant/toddler teachers.  Teaching is a highly stressful profession and toddler teachers report substantially higher stress levels than teachers of older children, resulting in teacher turnover rates 4 times higher than those of elementary staff and jeopardizing their abilities to foster children’s early development. Despite this, virtually no research has examined stress in toddler teachers and subsequent implications for developing responsive professional development efforts to promote quality caregiving. This R21 addresses uses a novel ecological momentary assessment approach to examine stress over the school year and to test coping, sources of stress, prior exposure to trauma and PD intervention as accounting for variability in toddler teacher stress.

Simply Dinner Study



Holly Brophy-Herb, PI; Julie Lumeng, Mildred Horodynski, Laurie VanEgeren, Dawn Contreras, Jean Kerver, Niko Kaciroti, Co-I’s, Michigan State University & the University of Michigan


Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goals of the Simply Dinner study is to test the effectiveness of differing levels of support in increasing the frequency of healthy family meals, improving children’s dietary quality and reducing obesity risks.  In collaboration with the Jackson Community Action Agency Head Start, the Capitol Area Community Services Head Start, and MSU Extension, the SD study seeks to promote healthy family meals at home.  Areas of interest also include the family mealtime climate, including the affective climate, and family processes.

MSU Sustainable Community Partnerships: Building Emotional Skills (MSUSCP:BEES) 

 Kendra Moyses, PI; Holly Brophy-Herb, Carrie Shirer, Co-PI’s. The MSUE SCP: BEES, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides parent education to Michigan parents of children ages 0-3 years through traditional face to face group educational sessions, on-line “virtual” classes and social media sites such as closed/private Facebook groups. Through these venues participants learn key parenting skills and early childhood development information, as well as find friendships and grow critical community supports designed to encourage discussion of real life situations, moderated by a trained Extension Educator.  The Building Early Emotion Skills (BEES) curriculum, developed by Dr. Brophy-Herb and colleagues via prior U.S. Administration for Children and Families funding, is being utilized in the project.

Hearts and Minds on Babies


Ann Stacks, PI, Claire Vallotton & Maria Musik, Co-PIs; Holly Brophy-Herb & Kate Rosenblum, Co-Is

Hearts and Minds on Babies (HMB), funded by the Administation for Children and Family (US Department of Health and Human Services) is a multi-university collaboration between Wayne State University, Michigan State University & the University of Michigan and between Early Head Start programs in the Lansing and greater Detroit areas. HMB is a professional development and parenting intervention housed in an attachment framework.  HMB also incorportates mindfulness-based techniques to enhance caregiver well-being. 

Evaluation of Infant Mental Health Home Visiting

With the leadership of Drs. Maria Musik and Kate Rosemblum at the University of Michigan, BEES lab members Holly Brophy-Herb, Laurie VanEgeren, Hi Fitzgerald and Danielle Merckling are collaborating with colleagues from Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Michigan in the first evaluation of home-based infant mental health services.  Currently, Holly Brophy-Herb and colleagues are investigating parental mind-mindedness in this study. 

Families and Children’s Emotions Study (FACES)


Holly Brophy-Herb, PI
The FACES study focuses on parenting and family processes related to toddlers’ delay of gratification and inhibitory control skills in a sample of families with toddlers 24 to 36 months of age with a particular emphasis on fathers’ emotion socialization practices and supports for toddlers’ self-regulation. This study was funded, in part, by MSU’s AgBioResearch program with support from the US Dept of Agriculture. 

Toddler-5 (T-5) Study



Holly Brophy-Herb, PI; Claire Vallotton, Nicole Talge, Erika   Bocknek, Co-I’s


Self-regulation is often described as a multi-dimensional construct hypothesized to become increasingly cohesive over time.  The T-5 study is designed to examine relations between the following five domains of self-regulation in toddlers 16 to 36 months of age: (1) regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) function, (2) emotion regulation (ER), (3) inhibitory control, (4) autonomic nervous system regulation, and (5) sustained attention. The study also focuses on mothers’ emotion socialization strategies and supports for toddlers’ self-regulatory behaviors. 

Ethnoracial Variations in Parent-Child Internal State Language and Mentalization-Related Behaviors



 Holly Brophy-Herb, PI; Claire Vallotton, Erika Bocknek, Deborah Johnson, Fantasy Lozada, Co-Is

 In this study, we are examining parents’ and children’s use of internal   

state language during conversation and during conflict-resolution discussions to determine if patterns of ISL differ between parents varying in race and ethnicity.  We are interested in the ways that the use of internal state language may hold different value and different meanings according to race and/or ethnicity.