Photo of Margaret J. Briggs-Gowan, Ph.D.

Margaret J. Briggs-Gowan, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychiatry
Chief, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Academic Office Location:
UConn Health
65 Kane Street
West Hartford, CT
Phone: 860-523-3720

Collaborative research with Northwestern University

One of our recent papers about temper tantrums in preschool children

Child FIRST intervention program website

Margaret Briggs-Gowan, Ph.D., is the Interim Division Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She is a developmental psychologist by training with particular expertise in developmental psychopathology, and additional training in epidemiology and public health. In addition to this role, Dr. Briggs-Gowan chairs a mock study section for behavioral and social sciences at UConn Health and leads the Family Adversity and Resilience Program, a research lab focused on improving our understanding of how exposure to trauma, stress, and other forms of adversity affects children and their families.

A.B.Brown UniversityPsychology
M.S.Yale UniversityDevelopmental Psychology
M.Phil.Yale UniversityDevelopmental Psychology
Ph.D.Yale UniversityDevelopmental Psychology

Post-Graduate Training
Professional TrainingYale University School of Epidemiology and Public HealthNIMH Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Mental Health Services

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Lockean Distinguished Chair in Mental Health Education, Research, and Clinical ImprovementLockean Foundation
First 100 Plus AwardConnecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Child Mental Health Research, Scholarly and Academic ActivitiesChild Fellowship, Department of Psychiatry, UConn Health
Jane C. Bourns Award for Excellence, Recognizing Significant Contributions to the Field of Infant/Early Childhood Mental HealthConnecticut Association for Infant Mental Health
Solnit Fellowship Award, Leadership Development InitiativeZERO TO THREE

Teaching experiences center on integrating developmental psychopathology principles into medical student and psychiatry training. 

Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
UCONN Health Mock Study Section in Behavioral and Social SciencesOtherChairUConn HealthUniversity2017
NIMH Risk Prevention and Health Behavior Integrated Review Group: Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)Study SectionMemberExternalNational20122018

Dr. Briggs-Gowan’s current research broadly centers on mental health problems in young children, including identifying risk factors, and pinpointing underlying genetic, stress-response, and neurocognitive factors involved in these processes. She has expertise in psychometric assessment and early identification of young children who are beginning to manifest problems. In this area, she has devoted a significant portion of her career to developing tools for identifying very early problems, including the Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (ITSEA) and Brief ITSEA (BITSEA). Her research has helped to demonstrate that standardized assessment tools are essential to improving our ability to identify those young children and families who may benefit from early intervention. Another focus of Dr. Briggs-Gowan’s research has been the investigation of how exposure to interpersonal trauma (e.g., domestic violence) affects young children’s development. In collaboration with Dr. Damion Grasso, she is currently leading the Adaptation and Resilience in Childhood Study (ARCS), an NIMH-funded study of a high-risk cohort of young children many of whom have experienced domestic violence. The ARCS study is investigating the hypothesis that differences in children’s biological and behavioral responses to stimuli will help to explain why some children develop emotional and behavioral problems whereas others are resilient following trauma. An ultimate goal of this research is to inform the development of innovative interventions to build resilience in highly vulnerable young children.

The Family Adversity and Resilience Program (FARR Program) currently has three active NIH-funded studies centered on understanding how exposure to stress, trauma and other adversity affects children and families.  We have many research opportunities for individuals from all levels of training (undergraduate, doctoral, and medical students, as well as residents and fellows). 

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Caregiver Report Measures of Early Childhood Social-Emotional Functioning
    Godoy L, Davis A, Heberle A, Briggs-Gowan M & Carter AS Handbook of Infant Mental Health, 4rd edition 2018 Dec;259-278
  • Preschool Children Exposed to Potentially-Traumatic Events: Clinical Phenomena and Treatment Options
    Briggs-Gowan, M.J., & Mian, N. Mental Health Issues of Child Maltreatment
Title or AbstractTypeSponsor/EventDate/YearLocation
Azab L, Lewin M, Lamberg L, Grasso D, Briggs-Gowan M (May 2022) Motherhood during COVID-19: The Impact of the Pandemic on Mother-Infant Bonding and Mental Health Symptoms in Perinatal Women. American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.PosterAmerican Psychiatric Association2022New Orleans, LA
Lewin M, Grasso D, & Briggs-Gowan M (Nov. 2021). Having a Baby during COVID-19: Associations between Adverse Pandemic-Related Perinatal Experiences and Maternal Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms. International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) 37th Meeting, Virtual Format.PosterInternational Society for Research on Traumatic Stress2021Virtual
Kessler C, Estabrook R, Sabol R, Norton E, Heard-Garris N, Briggs-Gowan M & Wakschlag L (2019, March). The Effects of Early Life Stress on Children’s Disruptive Behaviors: Perceptions Matter, Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Baltimore, MD.Poster2019Baltimore, MD
Wiggins JL, Hernandez B, Palumbo D, Briggs-Gowan MJ, Brotman MA, Leibenluft E, & Wakschlag LS (2019, Sept). Don’t miss the boat: Towards a developmental nosology for disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) in early childhood, 3rd Congress on Pediatric Irritability and Dysregulation, Burlington, VT.Poster2019Burlington, VT
Wiggins JL, Hernandez B, Palumbo D, Briggs-Gowan MJ, Brotman MA, Leibenluft E, & Wakschlag LS (2019, Sept). Don’t miss the boat: Towards a developmental nosology for disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) in early childhood, 3rd Congress on Pediatric Irritability and Dysregulation, Burlington, VT.Poster2019Burlington, VT
Krogh-Jespersen S, Estabrook R, Petitclerc A, Burns J, Briggs-Gowan M & Wakschlag L (2019, March). Developmental Patterning in Children’s Low Concern for Others: Novel Insights Using a Developmentally-Specified Approach, Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Baltimore, MD.Poster2019Baltimore, MD
Briggs-Gowan M, Greene C, Ford J, McCarthy K, Carter A (2019, March). Trauma Symptoms in Very Young Children Following Repeated Loss or Separation From Caregivers, Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Baltimore, MD.Poster2019Baltimore, MD
Clauther E, Grasso DJ, Briggs-Gowan M, McCarthy K, & Scranton V (2018, October). Do differences in threat reactivity help explain the link between violence exposure and psychopathology in young children?PosterInternational Society for Traumatic Stress201834th Annual Meeting, Washington DC
Briggs-Gowan MJ (April, 2018). Early Emergent Symptoms of Anxiety and Irritability Relate to Disruptions in Face Processing in Young Children. In Brotman, M. (Chair). Unique and Overlapping Neural and Behavioral Correlates in Anxiety and Irritability.TalkAnxiety and Depression Conference2018Washington DC
Deveney CM, Pagliaccio D, Estabrook R, Burns J, Voss J, Zobel E, Brotman M, Briggs-Gowan M, & Wakschlag L (May, 2017). Temporally sensitive neural measures of inhibition in preschool children with varying irritability symptoms. In Leibenluft E & Tseng WL (Chairs). Childhood Irritability: Insights from Multiple Brain-Based Modalities.Talk72nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry2018San Diego, CA
Lighten A, Greene C, McCarthy K, Wakschlag LS, & Briggs-Gowan MJ (2016, October). Maternal emotion socialization: A novel observational measure.PosterAmerican Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry2016New York, NY
Gray S, Forbes D, Briggs-Gowan M, & Carter AS. How does caregiver insightfulness relate to child outcomes among violence-exposed and non-exposed young children?TalkSociety for Research in Child Development2015Philadelphia, PA
Grasso DJ, Wakschlag LS & Briggs-Gowan MJ. Constellations of child-directed and partner violence among families with preschoolers and associated risk.Talk27th Annual Convention for the Association for Psychological Science2015New York, NY
Greene C, Chan G, Grasso DJ, Ford JD, McCarthy K, Wakschlag L, Briggs-Gowan MJ. Maternal risk and protective factors in the relationship between mothers’ maltreatment history and their preschool children’s functioning.Talk27th Annual Convention for the Association for Psychological Science2015New York, NY
Shah A, Grasso D J, Wakschlag LS, Anderson E, Ford JD, & Briggs-Gowan MJ (2014, October). Childhood exposure to potentially traumatic events: Effects on PTSD symptoms and sex differences.PosterAmerican Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry2014San Francisco, CA
Curtis P, O’Brien TC, Berman G, Merrick J, Wakschlag L, Briggs-Gowan M. Emotion understanding partially meditates the relationship between language and preschooler’s socially competent behavior.PosterAssociation for Psychological Science2014San Franscisco, CA
Nichols et al. (2013). Developmental Components of Low Concern as Facets of Preschool Disruptive Behavior: Disregard for Others’ Distress and Resistance to DisciplineTalkSociety for Research in Child Development2013Seattle, Washington