Maggie Kerr headshot

Margaret Kerr

Assistant Professor
Human Development and Family Studies Department and Major
Office 4109
If we value our children, we must cherish their parents.
–John Bowlby

My work focuses on examining emotional experiences in the context of parenthood. More specifically, I explore factors that influence how adults perceive and experience parenting, including attachment, relationship quality, and socioeconomic status. I am particularly interested in understanding in-the-moment emotional experiences of parents and the impact those experiences have on children. I also work on brief interventions, such as relational savoring, that support parents’ well-being by helping them to identify and relish moments of positive connection with their children. My ultimate goal is to promote family resiliency through developing and implementing parent-focused interventions that improve parents’ experiences and parent-child relationships.

Download CV button

PhD, Positive Developmental Psychology, Claremont Graduate University
MA, Positive Developmental Psychology, Claremont Graduate University
BS, Psychology, Michigan State University

Social Media

Twitter: @DrMaggieKerr


State Specialist in Vulnerable and Underserved Children, UW Division of Extension Institute of Human Development & Relationships
Affiliate, Institute for Research on Poverty
Affiliate, UW Center for Child & Family Well-Being

Recent press

Women unequally impacted by coronavirus pandemic, Channel 3000 News, December 4, 2020
Being at work during the pandemic, Healthy Minds Innovations, October 28, 2020
The highs and lows of parenting in a pandemic, Wisconsin Public Radio, October 1, 2020

(For a full list of publications, see Dr. Kerr’s CV. Below are selected highlights.)

Kerr, M. L., Rasmussen, H. F., Smiley, P. A., Fanning, K. A.*, Buttitta, K. V., Benson, L. & Borelli, J. L. (in press). Within- and between-family differences in mothers’ guilt and shame: Caregiving, coparenting, and attachment. Journal of Family Psychology.

Kerr, M. L., Rasmussen, H. F., Borelli, J. L., Buttitta, K. V., & Smiley, P. A. (2020). Exploring the complexity of mothers’ real-time emotions while caregiving. Emotion. Advance online publication.

Kerr, M. L., Buttitta, K. V., Smiley, P. A., Rasmussen, H. F., & Borelli, J. L. (2019). Mothers’ real-time emotion as a function of attachment and proximity to their children.  Journal of Family Psychology. Advance online publication.

  • Attachment and Relationships Across the Lifespan (HDFS 818)
  • Family Theory (HDFS 865)