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Elizabeth T Gershoff

Professor, Director, Academic Center
Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, Population Research Center

Amy Johnson McLaughlin Centennial Professorship in Home Economics


Phone: 512-471-4800

Office Location
SEA 2.448A

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin (1998)
M.A., University of Texas at Austin (1995)
B.A., University of Virginia (1992)

Research Interests

I am not accepting graduate students for Fall 2022.

My current research interests center on four topics: (1) how parental discipline affects child and youth development; (2) how contexts of poverty, neighborhoods, schools, and cultures affect children, youth, and families; (3) how exposure to various forms of violence (from parents, communities, and terrorism) affect child and youth development; and (4) how enriched early childhood educational environments can improve the lives of low income children and their families. 

Statement on Contributions to Diversity

I am committed to encouraging and celebrating diversity and promoting social justice both at the university and in society at large. In my teaching, I make every effort to cover all key issues from multiple cultural perspectives. I am co-author on one of the leading textbooks about child development (How Children Develop) in which we infuse attention to both cultural differences and cultural similarities throughout. I enjoy mentoring graduate students from a range of backgrounds and have chaired the dissertations of three Latina women, two women of African heritage, and two international students. I have participated in a number of university-level committees dedicated to promoting diversity, including the Council for Racial Ethnic Equity and Diversity, the University Faculty Gender Equity Council, the Task Force on Difficult Dialogues and Trauma-Informed Pedagogy, and the Recruitment & Retention Committee. I approach my research on children and families from a social justice and human rights perspective, with a focus on the principle that all children deserve protection from violence (a right adults already enjoy). My work on disparities in school corporal punishment by race, sex, and disability status was cited by U.S. Secretary John King in his 2016 statement calling for an end to corporal punishment in schools (https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-discipline/files/corporal-punishment-dcl-11-22-2016.pdf).







Total Award


Training Program in Population Sciences

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2T32HD007081-41)

M. D. Hayward & E. T. Gershoff




Development Core (Population Research Center)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2P2CHD042849-16-6513)

E. T. Gershoff, D. Umberson




Building the Foundation for Austin Connects

Episcopal Health Foundation

C. Osborne & E. T. Gershoff




Identifying the Optimal Levels and Timing of Family and School Influences on Children and Youth

National Science Foundation          (1519686)

E. T. Gershoff & R. L. Crosnoe




Training Program in Population Sciences

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2T32HD007081-36)

R. K. Raley & E. T. Gershoff




* indicates current or former student;  ‡ indicates a current or former post-doctoral fellow

Cuartas, J.*, McCoy, D., Grogan-Kaylor, A., & Gershoff, E T. (2020, in press). Physical punishment as a predictor of early cognitive development: Evidence from econometric approaches. Developmental Psychology.

Font, S. A., & Gershoff, E. T. (2020). Foster care and best interests of the child: Integrating research, policy and practice. Advances in Child and Family Policy and Practice (pp. 1-130). eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-41146-6

Scott, J. K.*, & Gershoff, E. T. (2020, in press). Trust in expert vs. lay comments in online articles about spanking and car seat safety. Journal of Family Psychology.

Siegler, R. S., Saffran, J., Gershoff, E. T, & Eisenberg, N. (2020). How Children Develop (6th Edition). New York: Macmillan Education. ISBN-10: 1319184561; ISBN-13: 978-1319184568.

Gershoff, E. T., & Lee, S. J. (Eds.). (2019). Ending the Physical Punishment of Children: A Guide for Clinicians and Practitioners. American Psychological Association Press.

Gershoff, E. T., Goodman, G. S., Miller-Perrin, C., Holden, G. W., Jackson, Y., & Kazdin, A. E. (2019). There is still no evidence that physical punishment is effective or beneficial: Reply to Larzelere, Gunnoe, Ferguson & Roberts (2019) and Melendez-Rhodes & Rohner (2019). American Psychologist, 74, 503-505. doi:10.1037/amp0000474

Gershoff, E. T., Sattler, K. M. P.*, & Holden, G. W. (2019). School corporal punishment and its associations with achievement and adjustment. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 63, 1-8. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2019.05.004

Ansari, A.*, Pivnick, L.*, Gershoff, E. T., Crosnoe, R. L., & Orozco-Lapray, D.* (2018). The experiences of low-income Latino/a immigrant families in a state-funded preschool program. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.08.007

Bichteler A.*, & Gershoff, E. T. (2018). Identification of children’s BMI trajectories and prediction from early weight gain. Obesity, 26, 1050-1056. doi:10.1002/oby.22177 

Font, S. A., Sattler, K. M.*, & Gershoff, E T. (2018a). Measurement and correlates of foster care placement moves. Children and Youth Services Review, 91, 248-258. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.06.019

Font, S. A., Sattler, K. M.*, & Gershoff, E. T. (2018b). When home is still not safe: From reunification to reentry into foster care. Journal of Marriage and Family, 80, 1333-1343. doi:10.1111/jomf.12499

Gershoff, E. T., Font, S. A., Taylor, C. A., Garza, A. B., Olson-Dorff, D., & Foster, R. H. (2018). A short-term evaluation of a hospital No Hit Zone policy to increase bystander intervention in cases of parent-to-child violence. Children and Youth Services Review, 94, 155-162. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.09.040

Gershoff, E. T., Goodman, G. S., Miller-Perrin, C., Holden, G. W., Jackson, Y., & Kazdin, A. (2018). The strength of the evidence against physical punishment of children and its implications for parents, psychologists, and policymakers. American Psychologist, 73, 626-638. doi: 10.1037/amp0000327

Gershoff, E. T., Sattler, K. M.*, & Ansari, A.* (2018). Strengthening causal estimates for links between spanking and children’s externalizing behavior problems. Psychological Science, 29, 110-120. doi: 10.1177/0956797617729816

Jenkins, J. M., Watts, T. W., Magnuson, K., Gershoff, E. T., Clements, D., Sarama, J., & Duncan, G. J. (2018). Do high quality kindergarten and first grade classrooms mitigate preschool fadeout? Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 11, 339-374. doi: 10.1080/19345747.2018.1441347

Kuhfeld, M., Gershoff, E. T., & Paschall, K. W. (2018). The development of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic achievement gaps during the school years. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 57, 62-73. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2018.07.001

Paschall, K. W., Gershoff, E. T., & Kuhfeld, M. (2018). A two-decade examination of historical racial/ethnic disparities in academic achievement by poverty status. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47, 1164-1177. doi:10.1007/s10964-017-0800-7

Sattler, K. M.*, Font, S. A., & Gershoff, E. T. (2018). Age-specific risk factors associated with placement instability among foster children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 84, 157-169. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.07.024

Sattler, K. M.*, & Gershoff, E. T. (2018). Thresholds of resilience and within- and cross-domain academic achievement among children in poverty. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 46, 87-96. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.04.003

2019                   Elected Fellow, American Psychological Association (Division 7)

2019                   Nicholas Hobbs Award, Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37),                                         American Psychological Association (awarded annually to a psychologist who exemplifies                                   commitment to child advocacy and policy) 

2019                   2017 Article of the Year in Child Abuse & Neglect (Afifi, Ford, Gershoff, Merrick, Grogan-                                     Kaylor et al., 2017: Spanking and adult mental health impairment: The case for the                                               designation of spanking as an Adverse Childhood Experience.)

2015                    Nominated by the University of Texas at Austin for the University of Texas System Regents’                                Outstanding Teaching Award (not awarded)

2014                    Lifetime Legacy Achievement Award, Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola                                        University Chicago

2014                   Outstanding Graduate Advisor Award, Graduate School, University of Texas at Austin

2014                   Social Policy Award for Best-Edited Book, Society for Research on Adolescence

2013                   Elected Fellow, Association for Psychological Science

2013                   College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award

2010                   Appreciation Award for Work with Students with Disabilities, Services for Students with                                       Disabilities, University of Texas at Austin

1996-1997          University Graduate Continuing Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin

1996                    Summer Public Policy Fellowship, Center for Young Children and Families, Teacher’s College, Columbia University

1992-1994          University Graduate Recruitment Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin

1988-1992           Echols Scholar, University of Virginia (top 10% of incoming class)

Undergraduate Courses

HDF 313, Child Development

HDF 362, Children and Public Policy

UGS 303, Modern Family

Graduate Courses

HDF 380K.4, Advanced Regression and Structural Equation Modeling

HDF 394, Grant Writing for the Social Sciences

HDF 394, Prevention, Intervention and Evaluation

HDF 395, Contextual Influences on Indivdiual and Family Development