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

Margaret J. Briggs-Gowan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychiatry
Academic Office Location:
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-1935
Phone: 860-679-3872
Fax: 860-679-1246

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 a developmental psychologist with special expertise in the social-emotional development of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. She has additional training in epidemiology and public health, as well as early childhood mental health. Her early childhood research centers on enhancing our understanding of the nature of mental health problems in young children, identifying risk factors, and pinpointing underlying genetic, stress-response, and neurocognitive factors involved in these processes.

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

Post-Graduate Training
FellowshipNIMHPostdoctoral Fellow, Mental Health Services Research

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
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
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
NIMH Risk Prevention and Health Behavior Integrated Review Group: Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)Study SectionMemberExternalNational20122018
National Institute of Mental Health: ZRG1 RPHB-P Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review GroupStudy SectionAd Hoc ReviewerExternalNational20112011
Workshop on Child Maltreatment and Trauma: Integrating Biological, Cognitive, and Social Trajectories of Development: National Institute of Mental HealthOtherPresenter and Co-OrganizerExternalNational20102010
ZMHI-ERB-C (A3) NIMH Grand Opportunities (GO): Neurodevelopmental Genomics: National Institute of Mental HealthStudy SectionAd hoc reviewerExternalNational20092009
Connecticut Infant Mental Health AssociationCommunity ServiceVice PresidentOtherState20062011
National Institute of Mental Health Task Force on Functional Impairment in Children: National Institute of Mental HealthOtherLead Team Member and Workshop ParticipantExternalNational20042006
Young Child Assessment Roundtable: Approaches and Future Directions in Mental Health: National Institute of Mental HealthOtherMemberExternalNational20032003

Much of Dr. Briggs-Gowan's research has focused on improving how we understand and identify social-emotional and behavioral problems in young children. She is co-author, with Alice S. Carter, Ph.D., of the Infant-Toddler Social & Emotional Assessment (ITSEA) and Brief-ITSEA (BITSEA), nationally normed tools for assessing social-emotional/behavioral problems and delays in competencies in infants and toddlers. Dr. Briggs-Gowan also studies how environmental factors, such as stress, violence, and exposure to traumatic events, affect the development and well-being of young children. She is currently Principal Investigator of an NIMH-funded study of the roles of stress and conflict on preschool children's development (in collaboration with Dr. Lauren Wakschlag at Northwestern University in Chicago). This study will provide important new insights into how exposure to stress and conflict in early life may influence children's development both in terms of their ability to identify different emotions and how their brain's respond to emotional stimuli. She also collaborates with Dr. Wakschlag on research focused on disruptive behavior in preschool children, including a recent paper that shed light on the nature of temper tantrums in 3- to 5-year-olds. Locally, Dr. Briggs-Gowan leads the research team of Child FIRST, a comprehensive, home-based intervention for high risk families with young children, developed by Darcy Lowell, M.D. This evidence-based intervention model is being dissemintated at a number of sites throughout Connecticut.

There may be volunteer opportunities available. Interested individuals may contact Dr. Briggs-Gowan by email.

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
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
Briggs-Gowan MJ (2015, September). Measurement and definition of irritability.Talk1st Annual Congress on Pediatric Irritability and Dysregulation,2015Burlington, VT
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
Petitclerc A, White S, Feng B, Blair RJ, Briggs-Gowan M, Wakschlag L, Boivin M. Callous-unemotional behavior and emotion discrimination in young children: Differential associations and gene-environment etiology.TalkSociety for Research in Child Development2015Philadelphia, PA
Greene C, Chan G, Grasso D, McCarthy K, Wakschlag LS, Briggs-Gowan MJ. Emotional and physical intimate partner violence and young children’s mental health. .Talk31st Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studi2015New Orleans, NO
Grasso DJ, Briggs-Gowan MJ, Johnson A & Covault J (2015, November).Effects of maternal history of interpersonal violence, psychopathology, perceived stress and genetic risk on pregnancy and birth outcomes. Paper presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.Talk2015New Orleans, NO
Kharitonova M, Voss J, O’Neil J, Briggs-Gowan M, Wakschlag L. Low anterior cingulate thickness associated with irritability in 4-7 year old children.PosterCognitive Neuroscience Society2015San Francisco, CA
Kathawalla U, Mian ND, Carter AS, Berman G, Wakschlag L, & Briggs-Gowan MJ (2015). Reliability and Validity of the Anxiety Diagnostic Observation Schedule: A novel tool for assessing anxiety in young children.PosterSociety for Research in Child Development2015Philadelphia, PA
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
Briggs-Gowan et al. (2012). Preschool Psychopathology: Exploring the Roles of Violence-Exposure and Emotion-ProcessingTalkAnxiety Disorders Association of America2012Crystal Park, Virginia
Grasso et al. (2012). Early Trauma Exposure and Stress Sensitization in Young ChildrenTalkInternational Society for Traumatic Stress Studies2012Los Angeles, California
Family Violence Effects in Early Childhood: Early-Emerging Sex Differences in Conduct and Anxiety SymptomsTalkSociety for Research in Child Development2011Quebec, Canada
Family Violence Effects in Early Childhood: Early-Emerging Sex Differences in AnxietyTalkAnxiety Disorders Association of America2011New Orleans, Louisiana
The Effects of Different Types of Trauma Exposure on Cognitive and Language Functioning in ToddlersPosterAmerican Psychological Association2011Washington D.C.
The Effects of Trauma on Young Children: A Webinar Facilitating Awareness of Young Children’s Mental HealthTalkPearson Assessments2010San Antonio, Texas