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Margaret KerrAssistant Professor

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.

Recent press

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Week with Kasey KeelerWORT Radio, October 16, 2020
Badgering: Kasey Keeler ‘05Wisconsin Alumni Association, March 24, 2020
Uprooted: The 1950’s plan to erase Indian CountryMinnesota Public Radio, November 4, 2019
Uprooted: The 1950’s plan to erase Indian CountryAPM Reports (American Public Media), November 1, 2019


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.

Classes Taught

  • Course number: HDFS 818: Course title: Attachment and Relationships Across the Lifespan
  • Course number: HDFS 865: Course title: Family Theory
Margaret Burkhart Kerr


  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • Human Development & Family Studies
  • Human Development and Family Studies Graduate Program



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


Office: 4109

Phone: 818-890-4654



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