Deborah B Jacobvitz

Director, School of Human Ecology, Phyllis L. Richards Endowed Professor in Child Development
School of Human Ecology, Human Dev & Family Sci

Amy Johnson McLaughlin Administrative Chair in Human Ecology | Phyllis L. Richards Endowed Professor in Child Development


Phone: 512-471-4276

Office Location
SEA 2.414

Postal Address
The University of Texas at Austin
School of Human Ecology, College of Natural Sciences
200 W. 24th St. A2700
Austin, TX 78712

Dr. Jacobvitz specializes in parent-child interactions and their transmission from one generation to the next. She draws on attachment theory to understand how parents’ reconstructions of their relationships with their own parents during childhood affect their parenting practices with their own children. Using data from a seven-year longitudinal study, Dr. Jacobvitz is studying the transmission of cycles of abuse across generations and the effects of family conflict on children’s developing friendships and emotional and behavior problems. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. An expert on the widely used Adult Attachment Interview, Dr. Jacobvitz frequently leads workshops on this important technique for psychologists in the United States, Europe and Asia. She is past president of the Southwestern Society for Research on Human Development, is on the Editorial Board of Attachment and Human Development, and has published numerous articles in Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Development and Psychopathology, and other journals.

Selected Publications
Jacobvitz, D. (in press). Reflections on the clinical applications of the Adult Attachment Interview. In H. Steele & M. Steele (Eds.), Clinical Applications of the Adult Attachment Interview. Guilford Press.

Lyons-Ruth, K. & Jacobvitz, D. (in press). Attachment Disorganization: Antecedents, correlates and outcomes. In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research and Clinical Applications. Volume II. Guilford Press

Taylor-Seehafer, M.A., Jaocbvitz, D., & Steiker, L.H. (in press). Patterns of organization, social connectedness, and substance use in a sample of older homeless adolescents: Preliminary findings. Family and Community Health

Curran, M.A., Hazen, N., Jacobvitz, D., & Sasaki, T. (2006). How representations of the parental marriage predict marital emotional attunement during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 477 – 484

Jacobvitz, D., Hazen, N., & Leon, K. (2006). Does expectant mothers' unresolved trauma predict frighening/frightened maternal behavior? Risk and protective factors. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 363-379. .

Curran, M.A., Hazen, N., Jacobvitz, D., & Feldman, A. (2005.) Representation of early family relationships predict marital maintenance during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 189-197.

Hazen, N., Jacobvitz, D, & McFarland, L. (2005). Antecedents of Boundary Disturbances in Families with Young Children: Intergenerational Transmission and Parent-Infant Caregiving Patterns. Journal of Emotional Abuse (Special issue), 5, 85-110.

Saunders, R., Manheimer, J., Bryan, A., Jacobvitz, D., & Hazen, N. (2005). Overcoming negative early experiences with parents: Pathways to Earned Security [translated into Italian]. Psychotherapia. Monograph on Attachment.

Jacobvitz, D., Hazen, N., Curran, M., & Hitchens, K. (2004). Observations of early triadic family interactions: Boundary disturbances in the family predict depressive, anxious, and ADHD symptoms in middle childhood. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 577-592.

Leon, K., Jacobvitz, D., & Hazen, N. (2004). Maternal resolution of loss and abuse: Association with adjustment to the transition to parenthood. Infant Mental Health, 25, 130 – 148.

Jacobvitz, D. (2003). Fostering resilience in children: The importance of early relationship experiences. In L. Eiklenborg (Ed.), Vision 2003: Families over the Lifecourse. New York: Allen Bacon.

Leon, K. & Jacobvitz, D. (2003). Relationships between adult attachment representations and family ritual quality: A prospective longitudinal study. Family Process, 42, 419-432.

Jacobvitz, D., Curran, M., & Moller, N. (2002). Measurement of adult attachment: The place of self-report and interview methodology. Attachment and Human Development, 4, 207-215.

Kretchmar, M.D., & Jacobvitz, D. (2002). Mother-child observations across three generations: Attachment, boundary patterns, and the intergenerational transmission of caregiving. Family Process, 41, 351-374.

Riggs, S. A., & Jacobvitz, D. (2002). Expectant parents' representations of early attachment relationships: Associations with mental health and family history. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 195-204.

Riggs, S., Jacobvitz, D., & Hazen, N. (2002). Internal working models of attachment and previous therapy-seeking behavior among middle-class expectant couples. Psychotherapy: Theory and Research, 39, 283-296.

Jacobvitz, D., Hazen, N., & Thalhuber, K. (2001). The origins of attachment disorganization in infancy: Links with mothers’ history of trauma and current mental health (pp. 125-156). In G. Suess, H. Scheuerer-Englisch, & W. P. Pfeifer (Eds.), Bindungundstheorie und Familiendynamik [Attachment and Family Dynamics], Munich:Psychosozial-Verlag.

Thalhuber, K., & Jacobvitz, D. (2000). Intergenerational attachment disorganization: Processes underlying its origins and outcomes. Prospettive Psicoanalitiche nel Lavoro Instituzionale [Psychoanalytic Prospectives on Work Institutions], 17, 239 - 266.

Jacobvitz, D., & Hazen, N. (1999). Developmental pathways from infant disorganization to childhood peer relationships (pp. 127–159). In J. Solomon & C. George (Eds.), Attachment Disorganization. Guilford Press.

Jacobvitz, D., & Riggs, S., & Johnson, E.M. (1999). Cross-sex and same-sex family alliances: Immediate and long-term effects on daughters and sons (pp. 34–55). In N.D. Chase (Ed.), Burdened Children: Theory, Research and Treatment of Parentification. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Lyons-Ruth, K. & Jacobvitz, D. (1999). Attachment Disorganization: Unresolved loss, relational violence, and lapses in behavioral and attentional strategies (pp. 520 - 554). In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research and Clinical Applications. Guilford Press.

Jacobvitz, D., & Bush, N. (1996). Reconstructions of family relationships: Parent-child alliances, personal distress and self-esteem. Developmental Psychology, 32, 732-743.

Carlson, E. A., Jacobvitz, D. & Sroufe, L.A. (1995). A developmental investigation of inattentiveness and hyperactivity. Child Development, 66, 37-54.Fullinwider-Bush, N. & Jacobvitz, D. B. (1993). The transition to young adulthood: Generational boundary dissolution and female identity development. Family Process, 32, 87-103.

Jacobvitz, D. B., Morgan, E., Kretchmar, M., & Morgan, Y. (1991). The transmission of boundary disturbances across three generations, Development and Psychopathology. 3, 513-527.

Jacobvitz, D., Sroufe, L.A., Stewart, M., & Leffert, N. (1990). Treatment of attentional and hyperactive problems in children with sympathomimetic drugs: A follow up review. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 29, 677 688.

Sroufe, L. A. & Jacobvitz, D. (1989). Diverging pathways, developmental transformations, multiple etiologies and the problem of continuity in development. Human Development, 32, 196 204.

Egeland, B., Jacobvitz, D., & Sroufe, L.A. (1988). Breaking the cycle of abuse. Child Development, 59, 1080 1088.

Egeland, B., Jacobvitz, D., & Papatola, K. (1987). Intergenerational continuity of parental abuse. In J. Lancaster & R. Gelles (Eds.), Biosocial aspects of child abuse (pp. 255 - 278). New York: Jossey Bass.

Jacobvitz, D., & Sroufe, L.A. (1987). The early caregiver child relationship and Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity in kindergarten: A prospective study. Child Development, 58, 1488 1495.

Sroufe, L.A., Jacobvitz, D., Mangelsdorf, S., DeAngelo, E., & Ward, M.J. (1985). Generational boundary dissolution between mothers and their preschool children: A relationship systems approach. Child Development, 56, 316 325.