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Douglas M. Teti
Distinguished Professor of HDFS
Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics
Department Head
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
  • Administration
  • Research
  • Family Development
  • Child Development
  • Intervention and Prevention
  • Graduate Program
  • At-Large Representatives
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  • 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
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Office Address
105 Health and Human Development Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802

Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center

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

Grants and Research Projects

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 and undergraduate students, and my students draw from the projects 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:

1) 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. 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). The study was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (R01HD052809).

2) Project SIESTA-K (Study InvEstigating Sleep TrAjectories in Kindergarten) The transition to kindergarten is one of the most impactful transitions in the life of a young child, requiring new social, emotional, and cognitive competencies across a variety of domains and an emphasis on formal instruction and evaluation never experienced before. For many children in full-time kindergarten, kindergarten now functions as the new first grade, and the social and academic competencies observed during this time set the stage for later school success. Unfortunately, although many children make successful transitions to school, some do not. School adjustment is multi-faceted and, not surprisingly, multiply determined. However, one particular determinant, child sleep, is largely understudied as a predictor of early school success, despite growing evidence that sleep problems in children and adults predict externalizing and internalizing behavior problems, emotion dysregulation, sleepiness, and attentional difficulties during daytime hours. Project SIESTA-K draws upon work by the PI and others in his investigative team and focuses on the unique role of sleep in young children in predicting children’s adjustment across the kindergarten year, and the role of parenting in shaping good sleep habits in young children during this transition. We make use of an innovative measurement-burst design to assess child sleep (quality, duration, and lability), parenting, and coparenting and personal distress as predictors of child sleep characteristics, with assessments obtained before kindergarten begins (pre-K), early in the transition year (late September-early October), mid-transition (November), and late-transition (April). Children’s learning engagement, academic progress, socio-emotional functioning, executive functioning, and literacy skills are assessed at early-, mid-, and late-transition timepoints. Analyses focus on trajectories of child sleep as predictors of school adjustment, and parenting and couple distress as predictors of child sleep across the kindergarten year. This research will provide an important foundation for understanding the role of children’s sleep in predicting children’s transition to K across the full year of school, and the role of parenting and parental distress in shaping children’s sleep during this pivotal time. This study is also funded by NICHD (R01HD087266).

3) Project SIESTA-FF (Study of Infants' Emergent Sleep TrAjectories- Family Foundations), Estimates of sleep problems among infants and preschoolers range between 25%-33%. Dysregulated infant sleep is predictive of poor parent sleep, and chronic sleep disruption can place families in turmoil, with consequences for the marital and coparenting relationship. Further, mothers reporting early coparenting distress are at risk for personal distress and poor bedtime and nighttime parenting, which in turn predicts infant sleep problems and insecure infant attachment. This study is a randomized clinical trial (RCT) that evaluates the effects of a sleep-enhanced adaptation of an evidence-based transition-to-parenting coparenting intervention program [Family Foundations - FF). The rationale for this study is twofold. First, recent findings from the PI’s Project SIESTA (described above) indicate that poor coparenting at one month post-partum predicts persistent infant-parent co-sleeping across the first year, elevated maternal depressive symptoms, emotionally unavailable bedtime parenting, and insecure infant-mother attachments. Second, whereas FF as originally developed has been successful in improving coparenting, marital adjustment, and overall parenting quality, it gives little specific attention to coparenting in infant sleep contexts, which SIESTA findings identify as critically important to parent and infant outcomes later in the first year. This 3-arm RCT responds to these concerns. In one arm, families experience FF as originally formulated; in the second, families receive an adapted FF that emphasizes coparenting in infant sleep contexts; the third arm serves as a control. Assessments of coparenting and parenting in infant sleep contexts, parental adjustment to infant sleep behavior, choices about sleep arrangements, infant and parent sleep quality, and infant socio-emotional functioning, serve as outcomes. The central hypotheses are: (1) Compared to controls, parents in both FF groups will report improved overall coparenting and reduced overall distress, but parents in the adapted FF group will show greater improvements in coparenting and individual parenting in infant sleep contexts, better infant and parent sleep, and better child adjustment; (2) early coparenting around infant sleep will be a central mechanism by which both interventions exert their effects. This research is foundational to a broader understanding of coparenting processes that underlie successful family transitions and contributes to the refinement of a successful coparenting program. Study results will be of immediate use to obstetric and pediatric services interested in augmenting childbirth education material with information on coparenting practices in infant sleep contexts. This study is also funded by NICHD (R01HD088566).

Additional Center Affiliation

Child Study Center


Buxton, O. M., Adams, E., Bai, L., & Teti, D. M. (2022). Chapter 8 - The family’s role in sleep health, Editor(s): F. Javier Nieto, Donna J. Petersen, Foundations of Sleep Health, San Diego Academic Press, 2022, Pages 149-172.

Teti DM, Fronberg KM, Fanton H, Crosby B. (2022).Infant sleep arrangements, infant-parent sleep, and parenting during the first six months post-partum. Infant Behav Dev. 23;69:101756. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2022.101756. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36027627.

Teti DM, Whitesell CJ, Mogle JA, Crosby B, Buxton OM, Bierman KL, Almeida DM. (2022). Sleep duration and kindergarten adjustment. Pediatrics. 150(2):e2021054362. doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-054362. PMID: 35815417.

Bai, L., Kim, C. Y., Crosby, B., & Teti, D. M. (2022). Maternal Nighttime Sleep and Infant–Mother Attachment Security: The Mediating Role of Maternal Parenting Quality during Bedtime and Free Play. Developmental Psychology, 58(5), 923-934.

Fronberg, K. M., Bai, S. & Teti, D. M. (2022). Household chaos mediates the link between family resources and poor child sleep. Sleep Health, 8(1), 121-129.

Chimed-Ochir, U., Bai, L., & Teti, M.D., (2022) The Role of Household Chaos on Levels and Trajectories Socio-Emotional Behavior in the second year. Developmental Psychology, 58(2),311-324.

Bai, L., Crosby, B., & Teti, D. M. (2022). Socioeconomic status and infant nighttime sleep across the second year of life: The moderating role of infant attachment security. Child Development, 93(3), 845-861. doi:

Teti, D. M., & Fosco, G. M. (2021). New conceptualizations and directions in the study of family context. Journal of Family Psychology, 35(2), 123-127. doi:

Kim, C.Y., Fredman, S.J., & Teti, D.M. (2021). Quality of coparenting and infant-mother attachment: the mediating role of maternal emotional availability. Journal of Family Psychology, 35(7), 961-971.

Teti, D. M. (2020). Determinants of infant sleep: a call for precise measurement and mechanisms of influence. Jornal de Pediatria (online publication).

Bai, L., Whitesell, C. J., & Teti, D. M. (2020). Maternal sleep patterns and parenting quality during infants’ first 6 months. Journal of Family Psychology, 34(3), 291-300. doi:

Camerota, M., Propper, C. B., & Teti, D. M. (2019). Intrinsic and extrinsic factors predicting infant sleep: Moving beyond main effects. Developmental Review, 53, 20 (online publication). doi:

Teti, D. M. (2019). Parenting at risk and contemporary family systems. In B. H. Fiese, M. Celano, K. Deater-Deckard, E. N. Jouriles & M. A. Whisman (Eds.), APA handbook of contemporary family psychology: Foundations, methods, and contemporary issues across the lifespan (vol. 1); APA handbook of contemporary family psychology: Foundations, methods, and contemporary issues across the lifespan (vol. 1) (pp. 503-519, Chapter xxvi) American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

Voltaire, S. T., & Teti, D. M. (2018). Early nighttime parental interventions and infant sleep regulation across the first year. Sleep Medicine, 52, 107-115.

McDaniel, B. T., Teti, D. M., & Feinberg, M. E. (2018). Predicting coparenting quality in daily life in mothers and fathers. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(7), 904-914.

Whitesell, C. J., Crosby, B., Anders, T. F., & Teti, D. M. (2018). Household chaos and family sleep during infants’ first year. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(5), 622-631.

Shimizu, M., & Teti, D. M. (2018). Infant sleep arrangements, social criticism, and maternal distress in the first year. Infant and Child Development, 1-16.

Teti, D. M., Cole, P., Cabrera, N., Goodman, S., & McLoyd, V. (2017). Supporting parents: How six decades of parenting research can inform policy and best practice. Social Policy Reports: Society for Research in Child Development. Research-Practice Partnerships: Building Two-Way Streets of Engagement, 30 (5), 1-33.

McDaniel, B. T., Teti, D. M., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). "Assessing coparenting relationships in daily life: The daily coparenting scale (D-cop)" Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(9), 2396-2411.

Teti, D. M. (2017) Infant sleep and the family context: Bidirectional influences. In S. M. McHale, V. King, & O. M. Buxton (Eds.). Sleep across the life course: Family influences and impacts. (pp. 3 – 23). New York: Springer

Kim, B.-R., Chow, S.-M., Bray. B., & Teti, D. M. (2017). Trajectories of mothers’ emotional availability: Relations with infant temperament in predicting attachment security. Attachment and Human Development, 19(1), 38-57.

Reader, J. M., Teti, D. M., & Cleveland, M. J. (2017). Cognitions about infant sleep: Interparental differences, trajectories across the first year, and coparenting quality. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(4), 453-463. doi:

Erich K. Batra, E. K., Teti, D. M., Schaefer, E. W., Moon, R. Y., Neumann, B. A., Meek, E. A., & Paul, I. M. (2016). Nocturnal video assessment of infant sleep environments. Pediatrics, 138(3), (e-pub). doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-1533.

Philbrook, L., & Teti, D. M. (2016). Associations between bedtime and nighttime parenting and infant cortisol in the first year. Developmental Psychobiology, 58(8), 1087-1101. doi: 10.1002/dev.21442.

Jian, N., & Teti, D. M. (2016). Infant temperament, maternal emotional availability at bedtime, and infant sleep development from 1 to 6 months. Sleep Medicine, 23, 49-58.

Teti, D. M., Shimizu, M., Crosby, B. & Kim, B.-R. (2016). Sleep arrangements, parent-infant sleep during the first year, and family functioning. Developmental Psychology, 52(8), 1169-1181.

Philbrook, L., & Teti, D. M. (2016). Bidirectional associations between bedtime parenting and infant sleep: Parenting quality, parenting practices, and their interaction. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(4), 431-441.

Teti, D. M., Philbrook, L., Shimizu, M., Reader, J., Rhee, H.-Y., McDaniel, B., Crosby, B., Kim, B.-K., & Jian, N. (2015). 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 biopsychosocial development (pp. 359-391). New York: Guilford Press.

Whitesell, C., Teti, D. M., Crosby, B., & Kim, B.- R. (2015). Household chaos, socio-demographic risk, coparenting, and parent-infant relations during infants’ first year. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(2), 211-220.

Teti, D. M., Crosby, B., McDaniel, B., Shimizu, M., & Whitesell, C. (2015) Maternal and emotional adjustment in mothers and infant sleep arrangements during the first six months. In M. El-Sheikh & A. Sadeh (Eds.), Sleep and child development. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 80(1), 160-176.

Kim, B.-R., Stifter, C. A., Philbrook, L. E., & Teti, D. M. (2014). Toddler emotion regulation: Relations to bedtime emotional availability, attachment security, and temperament. Infant Behavior and Development, 37(4), 480-490.

Philbrook, L. E., Hozella, A. C., Kim, B.-R., Jian, N., Shimizu, M., & Teti, D. M. (2014). Maternal emotional availability at bedtime and infant cortisol at 1 and 3 Months. Early Human Development, 90(100, 595-605.

In the Media

Child and Family Blog: What do sleep arrangements mean for families?

Additional Information

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.