Brophy-Herb, Holly E. Ph.D.

Associate Professor

552 W. Circle Drive, 3F Human Ecology, East Lansing, MI 48824



Ph.D., Child Development, Syracuse University; M.A., Child and Family Studies, Syracuse University.


Holly E. Brophy-Herb, Ph.D., Professor, Co-Director, Interdepartmental Graduate Certification in Infancy and Early Childhood program, completed her graduate work at Syracuse University where she focused on infant development in at-risk populations. At MSU, Dr. Brophy-Herb conducts research on early social-emotional development in infancy and early childhood. She is particularly interested in the acquisition of a repertoire of social and emotional competencies that promote infants', toddlers' and preschoolers' abilities to regulate their behaviors and engage in positive interactions with their parents, caregivers and peers. Dr. Brophy-Herb's work focuses on the contributions of parenting, parental emotion socialization, the parent-child relationship, family interactions including meal time environments as opportunities to build feeding and behavioral self regulation, and early childhood environments to the acquisition of these skills, particularly among at-risk children and children from low income families.

Much of Dr. Brophy-Herb's work is informed by key theoretical and conceptual models including the Infant Mental Health model, which emphasizes relationships as key contexts for infant development and healthy parenting as well as the importance of reflective functioning among parents, caregivers and practitioners in support of healthy infant and toddler development. Other theoretical models particularly relevant to Dr. Brophy-Herb's work include sociocultural models of development, ecological models and models of behavior change.

Dr. Brophy-Herb's research program on building early emotion skills in infants, toddlers, and young children includes a large research team comprised of students and faculty from University Outreach and Engagement, the College of Nursing, and Psychology, as well as colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Arkansas. Research team members utilize basic and community-based research studies as vehicles to further knowledge about early emotional development and to inform best practices in early childcare settings and in parenting education and family support programs. Dr. Brophy-Herb's team has been fortunate to collaborate with community partners in Early Head Start and Head Start and with MSU Extension programs across the state.

Dr. Brophy-Herb's research has been funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services- Administration for Children and Families, USDA, the State of Michigan and various Michigan organizations and agencies. Dr. Brophy-Herb is an affiliated faculty member with the University Outreach and Engagement, Community Evaluation Research Center, holds a research appointment with the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, and is affiliated with the College of Social Sciences' Human Development Initiative. She is also a member of the National Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Study Research Consortium, studying the long term impacts of Early Head Start on positive child and family development. Dr. Brophy-Herb serves on the state board of the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health and is an Associate Editor for the Infant Mental Health Journal.

A past Lilly Teaching Scholar recipient, Dr. Brophy-Herb regularly teaches undergraduate courses on parenting and infant development and program planning. At the graduate level, Dr. Brophy-Herb teaches advanced courses on infant development and theories of human development.

Be sure to visit Dr. Brophy-Herb's research site.

Focus Area

Child Development

Areas of Interest

  • Self regulation skills in infants, toddlers, and very young children
  • Associations between parent/caregiver emotional socialization and early social-emotional development, including self-regulation
  • Applied research on promoting parenting/family strengths via Infant Mental Health-based prevention and intervention models