Dr. Holtrop picture
Holtrop, Kendal Ph.D.


Associate Professor

Phone Number



  • Ph.D. Human Development and Family Studies (Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization), Michigan State University
  • M.S. Marriage and Family Therapy, Michigan State University
  • B.S. Psychology, Michigan State University

Areas of Interest

  • Parenting
  • Evidence-based parenting interventions
  • Community-based research
  • Underserved families


Dr. Kendal Holtrop is an associate professor of human development and family studies. She obtained her PhD from Michigan State University in 2011, served on the faculty at Florida State University for six years, and then returned to MSU in 2017. Dr. Holtrop’s program of research focuses on parenting and parenting interventions, with the goal of addressing mental health disparities by expanding the reach of evidence-based parenting interventions among underserved populations. Her research activities include adapting and implementing evidence-based interventions in community settings as well as examining how parenting interventions achieve positive change. 

Dr. Holtrop completed a Child Intervention, Prevention, and Services (CHIPS) training fellowship, funded by the National Institute for Mental Health, from 2015-2016. She is currently the principal investigator on grants funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. Dr. Holtrop is an editorial board member for the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, an advisory editor for Family Process, and was appointed by Governor Whitmer in 2019 to the Michigan Board of Marriage and Family Therapy. She is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.

Dr. Holtrop is accepting doctoral students for 2021-2022. Applications due December 1.


Research Projects

The EPIC Study (Evidence-based Parenting Intervention Components)
Grant Funding: National Institutes of Health (R03HD091640)

Although several evidence-based interventions exist to enhance parenting practices and improve child behavior, little is known about the specific intervention components that bring about these positive outcomes. The goal of the EPIC study is to determine the components most functional in achieving positive change in the GenerationPMTO parenting intervention. To do this, we developed an observational coding system capable of measuring fidelity to specific GenerationPMTO components. We are now using these data to examine associations between different intervention components and long-term changes in parenting practices and child outcomes. Study findings will improve our understanding of active treatment ingredients and help to enable evidence-based parenting interventions to be delivered more efficiently in everyday practice settings. 

You can read more about this study in Family Therapy Magazine (page 7).

EPIC study picture

MI Parenting Resource
Grant Funding: Michigan Health Endowment Fund (R-1712-142490)

The goal of this study is to develop and evaluate a free, online parenting program for families in Michigan. This program, called MI Parenting Resource, features a collection of brief videos in which real caregivers introduce and demonstrate research-supported parenting strategies. MI Parenting Resource launched in May of 2020 and we are currently collecting data on program engagement, user satisfaction, and caregiver and child outcomes. Through this program, we are seeking to expand the reach of evidence-based parenting tools to more families, improve child mental health, and decrease the stigma associated with parenting interventions. 

You can access MI Parenting Resource at

MI parenting picture

Michigan PMTO Public-Academic Partnership

In support of the land grant mission of Michigan State University and its commitment to outreach and engagement, I have worked together with Michigan PMTO to establish an informal public-academic partnership. In this capacity, my research team seeks to support Michigan PMTO in their efforts to assess, evaluate, and disseminate information about the model. PMTO has been implemented by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services through the public mental health system for over 15 years. Through this partnership, we also look for opportunities to conduct collaborative and participatory research that benefits Michigan PMTO and the families served by the program while also adding to the broader base of knowledge on evidence-based parenting interventions.