Esther M. Leerkes, Ph.D.
Human Development and Family Studies
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Research Interests & Goals:
Esther Leerkes is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her interests include early parent-child interaction, social and emotional development during infancy and early childhood, and the intergenerational transmission of emotion-related beliefs and behaviors. Dr. Leerkes is currently conducting 3 longitudinal studies funded by NICHD. The goal of the first is to identify predictors of maternal sensitivity to infant distress in a sample of primiparous mothers and to determine if sensitivity to infant distress is more predictive of early social emotional adjustment than is sensitivity to other infant cues. The goal of the second study is to examine the effect of maternal employment in jobs with a non-standard schedule (anything other than 9 to 5 type arrangement) on maternal well-being, parenting, and infant development in an impoverished sample. The goal of the third study is to examine the joint influence of early emotional and cognitive skills, as well and parenting practices, on children’s adjustment to school.