Douglas M. Teti

 Douglas Teti

Department Head, Human Development and Family Studies, and Professor of HDFS, Psychology, and Pediatrics

Contact Information

105 Health and Human Development Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802



NIMH Post-Doctoral Fellow, 1984 - 1986, Developmental Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
B.S., 1976, Psychology, St. Joseph's College, Philadelphia, PA
M.S., 1980, General Experimental Psychology, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Ph.D., 1984, General Psychology (Developmental Psychology), University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Research Interests

I am a developmental scientist whose research is focused on infant and early child development. I have had a long-standing interest in socio-emotional development in early childhood (e.g., quality of attachment to parents), parenting competence and parenting at risk, how parenting is affected by parental mental health and contextual factors, and how parenting affects infant and child functioning. All of my current projects examine the joint, interactive effects of biological/medical and environmental/parenting factors on child development and parenting during the early years of life. All of them are interdisciplinary and involve graduate students, and my students draw from the project they work on in developing their own areas of expertise. It is important to me that students working with me develop into productive scholars in their own fields of expertise, and thus my students are actively involved in all phases of research, from data collection and coding and data analysis, to being co-authors and lead authors on presentations and peer-reviewed papers.

I am principal investigator of the following active projects at present:

Project SIESTA (Study of Infants’ Emergent Sleep Trajectories) draws from previous research demonstrating linkages between sleep disruption in childhood and developmental delays in cognitive development and behavior problems in children. Although these linkages are well-established for children in the preschool years and beyond, very few studies have examined these links in infancy, nor are the reasons for these relations well-understood. Project SIESTA is a longitudinal study of (1) linkages between infant sleep quality during the first two years and infant socioemotional development (e.g., quality of infant-parent attachments, infant behavior problems and behavioral competencies); (2) how parenting of infants at bedtime and night time (from video-recordings), beginning at1 month of age through 24 months, affects the development of infant sleep quality over time; (3) the intersection of parenting practices, parenting quality, and infant sleep in predicting infant developmental outcomes and stress reactivity (diurnal cortisol activity) across the first two years of life. Project SIESTA also examines how parental behavior at bedtime and night time predicts infant functioning during the day. SIESTA is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Project SIESTA has several co-investigators from Penn State’s departments of HDFS (Cindy Stifter, Mike Rovine) and Psychology (Pamela Cole), Hershey Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics (Ian Paul), and one investigator from the University of California, David (Thomas Anders).

2) Minds of Mothers Study
The Minds of Mothers Study (MOMS), is a study of emotion regulation in mothers of 5-to-8 month old infants. The MOMS makes use of electroencephalographic (EEG) and event related potential (ERP) recordings from mothers in response to pre-recorded emotional events created by their own infants, and is examining patterns of EEG and ERP responding which we believe index patterns of emotion regulation in mothers in the context of parenting. We believe such patterns will inform us about how well, or poorly, mothers emotionally regulate during parenting events, and can be used to identify parents “at risk” better than more traditional, paper-and-pencil measures or “social address” measures (e.g., social class). We are relating these patterns of EEG/ERP regulation to independent assessments of mothering in the home, and to a host of other measure of maternal mental health, co-parenting, and maternal knowledge and expectations about infant development. Thus, the MOMS employs the tools of affective neuroscience to understanding parenting at risk from a process, rather than static perspective. The MOMS brings together a variety of researchers of varying backgrounds, including Mark Feinberg (Penn State’s Prevention Research Center), Pamela Cole, Sandra Azar, and William Ray (Dept. of Psychology), Joseph Stitt (Materials Research Institute), and Peter Molenaar (HDFS).

3) Families-at-Risk Research Initiative
I am also affiliated with an interdisciplinary research initiative sponsored by Penn State’s Child Study Center. I am Lead Faculty of the Families at Risk research initiative, which brings together a working group of faculty across Penn State interested in factors that influence family processes (parenting, marital relations and coparenting, sibling relations) and family well-being, and in turn how these processes affect and are affected by children’s development.

Professional Experience

July, 2014 – present, Dept. Head, Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University

Fall, 2011 – Summer, 2014, Associate Director, Social Science Research Institute, Penn State University, University Park, PA

Fall, 2005 - Summer 2011, Professor-in-Charge, Ph.D. program, Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

2003 - present, Professor of Human Development, Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

2001 - 2003, Director, Applied Developmental Psychology Ph.D. program, Dept. of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1998 - 2003, Professor of Psychology, Dept. of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1992 - 1998, Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1986-1992, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

1993 - 1996, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Utah, Department of Psychology

1987 - 1993, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Department of Psychology


Socioemotional development in infancy and early childhood; parenting in bedtime/nighttime contexts, infant sleep, and infant development; intervention strategies designed to promote early development and parent-child relations; role of sleep and parenting in the transition to kindergarten.

Selected Publications

Teti, D. M., Philbrook, L., Shimizu, M., Reader, J., Rhee, H.-Y., McDaniel, B., Crosby, B., Kim, B.-K., & Jian, N. (in press). The social ecology of infant sleep: Structural and qualitative features of bedtime and nighttime parenting and infant sleep in the first year.  In S. Calkins (Ed.), Handbook of infant development: A biopsychosocial perspective. Guilford Press.

Kim, B.-R., & Teti, D. M. (in press). Toddler emotion regulation: Relations to bedtime emotional availability, attachment security, and temperament. Infant Behavior and

Kim, B.-R. Teti, D. M., & Bray, B. (in press). Mothers’ emotional availability during infant bedtime: Relations with infant temperament in predicting attachment security.
Journal of Family Psychology.

Philbrook, L. E., Hozella, A. C., Kim, B.-R., Jian, N., Shimizu, M., & Teti, D. M. (in press). Maternal emotional availability at bedtime and infant cortisol at 1 and 3 Months. Under editorial review, Early Human Development.

Teti, D. M., Crosby, B., McDaniel, B., Shimizu, M., & Whitesell, C. (in press) Maternal and emotional adjustment in mothers and infant sleep arrangements during the first six months. (in press). In M. El-Sheikh & A. Sadeh (Eds.), Sleep and child development. Monographs of the Society for Reserch in Child Development.

Teti, D. M., & Kim, B-R. (in press). Assessments of attachment for infants and preschoolers: A review and discussion of clinical applications. In S. Farnfield & Paul P. Holmes (Eds.), Attachment theory, assessment, and interventions. United Kingdom: Routledge (Taylor & Francis.

Skowron, E. A., Cipriano-Essel, E., Gatzke-Kopp, L. M., Teti, D. M., & Ammerman, R. T. (in press). Early adversity, rsa, and inhibitory control: Evidence of children's neurobiological sensitivity to social context. Developmental Psychobiology.

Kim, B.-R., & Teti, D. M. (2014). Maternal emotional availability during infant bedtime: An ecological framework. Journal of Family Psychology, 28 (1), 1-11.

Teti, D. M., & Crosby, B. (2012). Maternal depression and infant night waking: The role of maternal nighttime behavior. Child Development, 83(3), 939-953.

Teti, D. M., & Cole, P. M. (2011). Parenting at risk: New perspectives, new approaches. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(5), 625-634.

Center Affiliations

  • Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development

Strategic Themes

  • Human Development
  • Contexts and Social Institutions