University of Calgary

Sheri Madigan

  • TIER II CRC - Determinants of Child Development
  • Professor

General Interests

Parent and child mental health

Intergenerational transmission

Adversity and resilience

Developmental psychopathology

Determinants of child development


Research Background, Interests, and Outputs

Dr. Madigan is a clinical psychologist, Professor, Canada Research Chair (Tier II), and Director of the Determinants of Child Development Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Her research is primarily focused on understanding how children’s early social experiences and relationships can influence their learning and mental health trajectories. Embedded within this work is the examination of the transmission of intergenerational risks (i.e., from parent to child), particularly the identification of mechanisms that contribute to risk, as well as resiliency factors that mitigate them. Ultimately, she seeks to create and mobilize knowledge that advances the field of developmental science and impacts the lives of children and their families. 

In collaboration with trainees, colleagues, and community partners, Dr. Madigan’s research draws on multiple research strategies including cohort studies, behavioral observational data, clinical intervention research, case file reviews, and meta-analytic data to examine the complex environments and contexts that shape familial relations and children’s development. Her research initiatives have sought to bring together interdisciplinary teams to be responsive to real-world issues, identify pressing research questions, bridge research-to-practice gaps, and address clinical concerns or community needs.

Trainee mentorship is one of her highest priorities. Her research team currently includes 3 postdoctoral fellows, 4 graduate students in Clinical Psychology, as well as research assistants, undergraduate students, and volunteers. She takes pride in having cultivated a highly supportive and productive lab environment characterized by strong teamwork, intellectual curiosity, and personal accountability.

Dr. Madigan’s research program is supported by federal and international grants ($>2.5M to date). She also has an excellent track record of publishing, with over >150 publications in journals such as Lancet Psychiatry, Psychological Bulletin, JAMA Pediatrics, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Child Development, and Child Abuse & Neglect, all premier outlets for new and innovative research across various disciplines. Her research has been widely covered in the media with >1000 known media reports worldwide on studies emerging from her lab. Dr. Madigan is the recipient of the World Association for Infant Mental Health Early Career Award, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Danieli Young Professional Award, and an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Dr. Madigan engages in extensive knowledge translation to the public, including >25 opinion-editorials for The Conversation Canada on child health and development (see, which have been viewed >1M times globally, making her the most read author at the University of Calgary and one of the top 5 most read Canadian academics on this platform. She has also participated in >150 media interviews for print, radio, and television outlets (e.g., Good Morning America, The Nature of Things, The New York Times, TIME, Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, CBC, CTV, The Guardian, and The Globe and Mail, etc.). Dr. Madigan is also passionate about disseminating research to those interacting with children and youth, and regularly gives presentations to parents, caregivers, educators, clinicians, and health practitioners on child development and mental health. Dr. Madigan’s efforts in knowledge mobilization were recently recognized via receipt of a Public Engagement Award from the University of Calgary.

Overall, Dr. Madigan’s research endeavours have integrated novel methodological approaches to advancing theory in child development and psychopathology, demonstrated the value of continued community partnerships and applied research, and have influenced policy to improve children’s health outcomes.

Current Research Support as Principal Investigator

Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation - Allied Health Grant (2020-2023)

Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), including:

     -        CIHR Project Grant (2022-2028)

     -        CIHR Operating Grant: Understanding and mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on

            children, youth and families (2022-2023)

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), including:

     - Insight Grant (2020-2025)

     - Insight Development Grant (2021-2023)

     - Partnership Development Grant (2021-2024)

     - Partnership Engage Grant (2022-2023)

Selected Television and Media Outputs

-        The Nature of Things: Kids vs Screens

-        CTV News National. Child and Adolescent Mental Distress during COVID-19.

-      ABC’s Good Morning America. Sexting Among Teens is on the Rise.

-        Global News (March 2021). Babies, socialization, and COVID-19.


Selected Media Interviews Based on Study Publications and Content Expertise

-        CNN.

-      Wall Street Journal

-        CBC Sunday Magazine:

-      The Globe and Mail:

-      BBC:

-      The Guardian:

-        Reuters:

-        TIME Magazine:

-        The New York Times:

-        El Pais:

Selected Recent Publications

For a full listing, see

Trainees underlined; + denotes senior author

Racine, N., Hetherington, E., McArthur, B.A., McDonald, S., Edwards, S., Tough, S., & Madigan, S.+ (2021). Maternal Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms before and during COVID-19: Longitudinal Findings from the All Our Families Cohort, Canada. The Lancet Psychiatry, 8, 405-415.

McArthur, B.A., Racine, N., McDonald, S., Tough, S., & Madigan, S. (2021). Child and Family Factors Associated with Child Mental Health during COVID-19. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Racine, N., McArthur, B.A., Cooke, J., Eirich, R., Zhu, Jennifer, & Madigan, S. (2021). A Meta-Analysis of the Prevalence of Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Children and Adolescents during COVID-19. JAMA Pediatrics.

Plamondon, A, Racine, N., Tough, S., & Madigan, S. + (2021).  Disentangling Adversity Timing and Type: Contrasting Theories in the Context of Maternal Postpartum Physical and Mental Health using Formative Models. Development & Psychopathology.

Neville, R., McArthur, B.A., Eirich, R., Lakes, K.D., Madigan, S.+ (2021). Bi-directional Associations Between Screen Use and Children’s Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Cooke, J., Racine, N., Pador, P., & Madigan, S. + (2021).  Maternal Adverse Childhood Experiences and Child Behavior Problems: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 148.

Hentges, R., Graham, S., Plamondon, A., Tough, S., & Madigan, S. + (2021).  Bidirectional associations between maternal depression, hostile parenting, and early child emotional problems: Findings from the All Our Families cohort. Journal of Affective Disorders,  287, 397-404.

McArthur, B., Browne, D., McDonald, S., Tough, S., Madigan, S. + (2021). Longitudinal Associations between Screen Media Use and Reading for Preschool Children. Pediatrics, 147.

Anderson, N., Graham, S., Prime, H., Jenkins, J., & Madigan, S.+ (2021). Linking parental linguistic input to child language skills: A meta-analysis. Child Development, 92, 484-501.

Hentges, R. F., Devereux, C., Graham, S., & Madigan, S+. (2021). Child language difficulties and internalizing and externalizing symptoms: A meta-analysis. Child Development.

Madigan, S, Eirich, R., Racine, N., Cooke, J., Borland-Kerr, C., Devereux, C., Plamondon, A., Tarabulsy, G., Cyr, C., Haltigan, John D., Bohr, Y., Bronfman, E., & Lyons-Ruth, K., &. (2020). Validity of the AMBIANCE-Brief Measures of Disrupted Caregiving Behavior.  Infant Mental Health Journal.

Racine, N, Devereux, C., Cooke, J., Eirich, R., Zhu, Jennifer, Madigan, S.+ (2021). Adverse Childhood Experiences and Maternal Anxiety and Depression: A Meta-Analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 21, 1-10.

Eirich, R., Racine, N., Garfinkel, D., Dimitropoulos, G., & Madigan, S.+ (2020). Risk and protective factors for treatment dropout in a child maltreatment population. Adversity and Resilience Science, 1(3), 165-177.

Hentges, R. F., Graham, S., Fearon, R.M.P., Tough, S. C., & Madigan, S+. (2020). The chronicity and timing of prenatal and antenatal maternal depression and anxiety on child outcomes at age 5. Depression and Anxiety.

Madigan, S., McArthur, B., Anhorn, C., Eirich, R., & Christakis, D. (2020). Associations Between Screen Use and Child Language Skills: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA pediatrics.

Racine, N., Killam, T., & Madigan, S. + (2020).  Beyond the ACEs Questionnaire: Trauma Informed Care as a Universal Precaution. JAMA Pediatrics, 174, 93-95.

Madigan, S., Prime, H., Graham, S., Rodrigues, M., Anderson, N., Khoury, J., Jenkins, J. (2019). Parenting Behavior and Child Language: A Meta-Analysis. Pediatrics, 144(4).

Madigan, S., Browne, D., Racine, N., Mori, C., & Tough, S. (2019). Association between screen time and children’s performance on a developmental screening test. JAMA Pediatrics, 173, 244-250.

Mori, C., Temple, J.R., Browne, D., & Madigan, S.+ (2019). Meta-Analysis of Sexting and Associated Health Risk Behaviors Among Adolescents. JAMA Pediatrics, 173, 770-779.

Madigan, S., Cyr, C., Eirich, R., Fearon, R.M.P., Ly, A., Rash, C., Poole, J., & Alink, L. (2019). Testing the cycle of maltreatment hypothesis: Meta-analytic evidence of the intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment. Development & Psychopathology, 31, 23-51.

Jambon, M., Madigan, S+., Plamondon, A., Daniel, E., Jenkins, J. (2018). The development of empathic concern in siblings: A reciprocal influence model. Child Development, 90, 1598-1613.

Madigan, S., Oatley, H., Racine, N., Fearon, R. P., Schumacher, L., Akbari, E., ... & Tarabulsy, G. M. (2018). A Meta-Analysis of Maternal Prenatal Depression and Anxiety on Child Socio-Emotional Development. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 57, 645-657.

Madigan, S., Wade, M., Plamondon, A., McGuire, J., & Jenkins, J. (2017). Maternal adverse childhood experience and infant health: biomedical and psychosocial risks as intermediary mechanisms. Journal of Pediatrics, 187, 282-289.

Verhage, M. L., Schuengel., C., Fearon, P., Madigan, S., Oosterman, M., Cassibba, R., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M., J. & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2017). Failing the duck test: Reply to Barbaro, Boutwell, Barnes, and Shackelford. Psychological Bulletin, 143, 114-116.

Madigan, S., Brumariu, L., Villani, V., Atkinson, L., & Lyons-Ruth, K. (2016). Representational and questionnaire measures of attachment after infancy: A meta-analysis of relations to child internalizing and externalizing problems. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 367-399.



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