Marjorie Beeghly

Marjorie Beeghly

Associate Professor


313-577-7636 (fax)

Rm. 8306.3


Marjorie Beeghly

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

  • My research evaluates how biologic and social risk and resilience factors alter trajectories of communicative and socio-emotional development in groups of infants and children at risk for developmental problems due to stressors such as premature birth, poverty, intrauterine drug exposure, developmental disorders, violence exposure, child maltreatment, or maternal depression. I am especially interested in examining whether parent-child communicative, mutual emotion regulatory, and joint attentional processes observed during social interaction mediate the association between contextual factors and children’s outcomes in different at risk groups. I also study similar issues in typically developing samples of children from varying racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The primary goal in both the at-risk and normative studies is to identify specific factors from multiple ecological levels of influence (child, parental, dyadic, familial, and socio-ecological) that foster resilient outcomes for children and parents.

Awards and Grants

  • Grants

    National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD)
    Role: PI
    “Mutual regulation in very low birth weight preschoolers “ (2004-2007)

    Role: PI
    “Mutual regulatory processes in Black mother-infant dyads” (2006-2010)

    National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    Role: Co-Investigator
    RO1 EB01998 (D. Levine, PI)
    “MRI of fetal ventriculomegaly: Morphology and outcome” (2004-2009)

    Role: Co-Mentor
    KO1 (C. Trentacosta, PI)
    “Transmission mechanisms of emotion regulation and externalizing problems" (2009-2014)

    National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA)

    Role: Developmental Psychology Consultant
    RO1-DA 06532 (D.A. Frank, PI)
    “Cocaine exposure in utero: Follow up to young adulthood” (2011-2015)

    The Spencer Foundation

    Role: PI
    -Major Research Grant,“Early development of African American infants: Factors predicting cognitive competence and adaption” (1996-1999)
    -Major Research Grant, “Preschool follow-up of Black children: Factors predicting cognitive competence and adaptation” (2000-2003)

    Harvard University Mind/Brain/Behavior Interfaculty Initiative (MBB),
    Gordon and Llura Gund Research Fund

    Role: PI
    1999-2000, “Neonatal white matter disorder and infant joint attention processes”


    1974 Highest Honors in Psychology & College Honors, University of California, Santa Cruz
    1990 That's the Spirit Award, Children's Hospital, Boston MA
    1995 Outstanding Research Study Award, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC)
    1997 Award for Excellence for Outstanding Contributions in the Infant-Parent Field, Boston Institute for the Development of Infants and Parents (BIDIP)

Selected Publications

Beeghly, M., Olson, K.L., Weinberg, M.K., Pierre, S.C.*, Downey, N.*, & Tronick, E.Z. (2003). Prevalence, stability, and socio-demographic correlates of depressive symptoms in Black mothers during the first 18 months postpartum. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 7 (3), 157-168.

Messinger, D.S., Bauer, C.R., Das, A., Seifer, R., Lester, B.M., LaGasse, L.L., Wright. L.L., Shankaran, S., Bada, H.S., Smeriglio, V.L, Langer, J.C., Beeghly, M., & Poole, W.K. (2004). The Maternal Lifestyle Study (MLS): Cognitive, motor, and behavioral outcomes of cocaine-exposed and opiate-exposed infants through three years of age. Pediatrics, 113 (6), 1677-1685.

Rose-Jacobs, R., Cabral, H., Beeghly, M., Brown, E., & Frank, D.A. (2004). The Movement Assessment of Infants (MAI) as a predictor of outcome in term infants at social risk. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 16, 212-221.

Frank, D.A., Rose-Jacobs, R., Beeghly, M., Wilbur, M.A.*, Bellinger, D., & Cabral, H. (2005). Level of prenatal cocaine exposure and 48-month IQ: Importance of preschool enrichment. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 27, 15-28.

Kadlec, M.B.*, Coster, W., Tickle-Degnen, L., & Beeghly, M. (2005). Qualities of caregiver-child interaction during daily activities of children born very low birthweight with and without White Matter Disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59, 57-66.

Beeghly, M., Martin, B., Rose-Jacobs, R., Cabral, H., Heeren, T., Augustyn, M., Bellinger, D., & Frank, D.A. (2006). Prenatal cocaine exposure and language outcomes at 6 and 9.5 years: Moderating effects of age, birthweight, and gender. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31 (1), 98-115.

O’Leary, C.C.*, Frank, D.A., Grant-Knight, W., Beeghly, M., Augustyn, M., Rose-Jacobs, R., Cabral, H., & Gannon, K. (2006). Suicidal ideation among urban 9 and 10-year-olds. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 27 (1), 33-39.

Weinberg, M.K., Olson, K.L., Beeghly, M., Tronick, E.Z. (2006). Making up is hard to do especially for mothers with high levels of depressive symptoms and their infant sons. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 47(7), 670-683.

Beeghly, M. (2006). Translational research in early language development: Current challenges and future directions. Development and Psychopathology, 18 (3), 737-757.

Fuertes, M.D.*, Lopes-dos-Santos, P., Beeghly, M., & Tronick, E.Z. (2006). More than maternal sensitivity shapes attachment: Infant coping and temperament. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1094, 292-296.

Weinberg, M.K., Olson, K.L., Beeghly, M., & Tronick, E.Z. (2008). Effects of maternal depression and panic disorder on mother-infant interaction in the Face-to-Face Still-face paradigm. Infant Mental Health Journal, 29 (5), 472-491.

MacDonald, H.Z.*, Beeghly, M., Knight, W.G., Augustyn, M., Woods, R.W., Cabral, H., Rose-Jacobs, R., Saxe, G.N., & Frank, D.A. (2008). Longitudinal association between infant disorganized attachment and childhood posttraumatic stress symptoms. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 493-508.

Weinberg, M.K., Beeghly, M., Olson, K.L., & Tronick, E. (2008). A still-face paradigm for young children: 2½-year-olds’ reactions to maternal unavailability during the still-face. Journal of Developmental Processes, 3 (1), 4-20. Note: Lead author position is equally shared by Drs. Weinberg and Beeghly.

Rose-Jacobs, R., Waber, D., Beeghly, M., Cabral, H., Appugleise, D., Heeren, T., & Marani, J* (2009). Intrauterine cocaine exposure and executive functioning in middle childhood. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 31, 159-168.

Fuertes, M.D.*, Lopes-dos-Santos, P., Beeghly, M., & Tronick, E. (2009). Infant coping and maternal interactive behavior predict attachment in a Portuguese sample of healthypreterm infants. European Psychologist, 14(4), 320-331.

Beeghly, M., Ware, J., Soul, J., du Plessis, A., Khwaja, O., Malik, G.*, Robson, C.,Robertson, R., Poussaint, T., Barnewolt, C., Feldman, H., Estroff, J., & Levine, D. (2010). Neurodevelopmental outcomes of fetuses referred for ventriculomegaly. Ultrasound, Obstetrics, & Gynecology, 35, 405-416.

Tronick, E. & Beeghly, M. (2011). Infants’ meaning-making and the development of mental health problems. American Psychologist, 66 (2), 107-119,doi:10.1037/a0021631

Beeghly M., & Tronick, E. (2011, in press). Early resilience in the context of parent-infant relationships: A social development perspective. Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care, doi 10.1016/j.cppeds.2011.02.005

DeSantis, A.*, Harkins, D.A., Tronick, E., Kaplan, E., & Beeghly M. (2011, in press). Exploring an integrative model of infant behavior: What is the relationship among temperament, sensory processing, and neurobehavioral measures? Infant Behavior & Development, doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.01.003

Beeghly, M., Fuentes, M.*, Liu, C.H.*, Delonis, M.S.*, & Tronick, E. (2011). Maternal sensitivity in dyadic context: Mutual regulation, meaning-making, and reparation. In D.W. Davis & M.C. Logsdon (Eds.), Maternal sensitivity: A scientific foundation for practice (pp. 45-69). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Currently Teaching

  • Undergraduate Courses:
    PSY 2400 - Developmental Psychology across the Lifespan
    PSY 3440 - Child Behavior and Development
    PSY 3480 - Parent-Child Relationships across the Lifespan

    Graduate Courses:
    PSY 7425 - Infant Behavior and Development
    PSY 7450 - Social Development Across the Lifespan
    PSY 8400 - New Topics in Developmental Psychology: Culture, Ethnicity, and Development