Psychology – Gil Sherman Memorial Lecture
Mary Dozier, Ph.D.
Unidel Amy Elizabeth du Pont Chair & Francis Alison Professor
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of Delaware
The Role of Contingently Responsive Interactions in Supporting Young Children’s Development
In this talk honoring the work of Professor Gil Sherman, I will make a case for the importance of parents behaving in contingently responsive ways to their young children’s cues. Parents serve as co-regulators for their infants and young children. Contingently responsive interactions help children gradually acquire capacities for regulating physiology, behavior, and emotions themselves. I will describe a parenting program, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up, designed in our lab to help parents learn to interact in contingently responsive ways. An overview of the efficacy of the intervention in enhancing child outcomes will be described.
Mary Dozier is Unidel Amy E. duPont Chair and Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Delaware. She has studied the development of young children in foster care and young children living with neglecting birth parents, examining challenges in attachment and regulatory capabilities. Along with her graduate students and research team, she developed an intervention, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC), for parents of vulnerable infants. Through randomized clinical trials, ABC has been demonstrated to be effective in enhancing parental sensitivity and children’s behavioral and biological functioning. In 2016 she was named the Francis Alison Professor, the university’s highest faculty honor. In 2018 she received the International Society for Infancy Studies Translational Research Aware and was the 2019 recipient of the APA Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution in Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society.