University of Calgary

Sheri Madigan

  • Assistant Professor
  • TIER II CRC - Determinants of Child Development

General Interests

Clinical Psychology
Child Development
Parent-Child Interactions

Research Interests

My research focuses on determinants of children's early social, emotional, and cognitive development. Child development is determined by multiple sources of influences, including those operating within the individual child (e.g., perinatal factors, genetics, temperament), within the family-context (e.g., parenting, marital conflict, parental attachment history and experiences of early adversity), as well as processes embedded in the broader social context (e.g., socio-economic status, social networks). The overarching goal of my research is to examine how and why these nested layers of influence contribute to children's healthy developmental trajectories or, alternatively, serve to undermine children's development. My research uses a variety of methods (e.g., observational assessments, survey data, structured interviews) and capitalizes on multiple statistical methods as a function of the question under consideration (e.g., meta-analyses, mediation and moderation, trajectory analyses, multilevel models, path analyses, and individual participant data reviews). 

Research Support

Canada Research Chairs (2015-2020)

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC):

- Insight Development Grant (2015-2017)

- Insight Grant (2015-2018)

- Partnership Development Grant (2017-2020)

Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation (2015-2018)


Graduate or postdoctoral student involvement underlined.

* denotes that the contributions from authors were equal.


1.    Racine, N., Madigan, S*, Plamondon, A*, McDonald, S., Tough, S. (in press). Prenatal and postnatal pathways linking maternal adverse childhood experiences to infant developmental outcomes. Pediatrics. 

2.    Korczak, D., Madigan, S., Colasanto, M., Szatmari, P., Chen, Y., Parkin, P., Maguire, J., & Birken, C. (in press). Temperament predicts physical activity in young children. Preventive Medicine.

 3.     Wade, M., Madigan, S., Rodrigues, M., Plamondon, A., Browne, D., Jenkins, J. (in press). Cumulative psychosocial risk, parental socialization, and child cognitive functioning: A longitudinal cascade model. Developmental Psychology.

4.     Jambon, M., Madigan, S., Plamondon, A., Daniel, E., Jenkins, J. (in press). The development of empathic concern in siblings: A reciprocal influence model. Child Development.

5.     Haltigan, J.D., Madigan, S., Bronfman, E., Bailey, H., Borland-Kerr, C., Mills-Koonce, R., & Lyons-Ruth, K. (in press). Refining the assessment of disrupted maternal communication: Using item response models to identify central indicators of disrupted behavior. Development & Psychopathology.

6.     Racine, N., Madigan, S*., Plamondon, A*., McDonald, S., Tough, S. (in press). Differential associations of maternal adverse childhood experiences on maternal health. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

7.     Temple, J., Choi, H.J., Reuter, T., Wolfe, D., Madigan, S., & Scott, L. (in press). Childhood corporal punishment and future perpetration of physical dating violence. Journal of Pediatrics.

8.     Smith, T., Raman, S., Madigan, S., Waldman, J., & Shouldice, M. (in press). Ano-genital findings in 3569 pediatric examinations for sexual abuse/assault. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.

9.     Plamondon, A., Browne, D., Madigan, S., & Jenkins, J. (in press). Disentangling child-specific and family-wide processes underlying negative mother-child. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

10.  Sedov, I., Cameron, E., Madigan, S., & Tomfohr-Madsen. (in press). Sleep quality during pregnancy: A meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews.


11.  Granqvits, P., Sroufe, A., Dozier, M., Hesse, E., Steele, M., van IJzendoorn, M., Solomon, J., Schuengel, C., Fearon, P., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M., Steele, H., Cassidy, J., Carlson, E., Madigan, S, Jacobitz, D., Foster, S., Behrens, K., Rifkin-Graboi, A., Gribneau, N., Spangler, G., Ward, M.J., True, M., Spieker, S., Reijman, S., Reisz, S., Tharner, A., Nkara, F., Goldwyn, R., Sroufe, J., Pederson, D., Pederson, D., Weigand, R., Siegel, D., Dazzi, N., Bernard, K., Fonagy, P., Waters, E., Toth, S., Cicchetti, D., Zeanah, C., Lyons-Ruth, K., Main, M., Duschinsky, R. (accepted). Disorganized attachment in infancy: A review of the phenomenon and its implications for clinicians and policy-makers. Attachment and Human Development, 19, 534-558.

12.  Madigan, S., Wade, M., Plamondon, A., McGuire, J., & Jenkins, J. (2017). Maternal histories of adversity and children's health outcomes: The mediating role of cumulative biomedical and psychosocial risk. Journal of Pediatrics, 187, 282-289.

13.  Madigan, S., Wade, M., Plamondon, A., & Jenkins, J. (2017). Trajectories of maternal depressive symptoms in the postpartum period and family-wide clustering of risk. Journal of Affective Disorders, 215, 49-55.

14.  Korczak, D., Madigan, S., Colasanto, M. (2017). Children’s physical activity and depression: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 139, 1-14.

15.  Tereno, S.*, Madigan, S.*, Lyons-Ruth, K., Plamondon, A., Atkinson, L., Guedeney, N., Greacen, T., Dugravier, R., Saias, T., Tubach, F., & Guedeney, A. (2017). Assessing mechanisms of effect in a randomized home-visiting trial: Reduced disrupted maternal communication decreases infant disorganization. Development and Psychopathology, 29, 637-649.   


16.  Madigan, S.*, Plamondon, A.*, & Jenkins, J. (2017). Marital conflict trajectories and child disruptive behavior in early childhood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 79, 437-450.

17.  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.


18.  Graham, S.A., & Madigan, S. (2016). Bridging the gaps in the study of typical and atypical cognitive development: A commentary. Journal of Cognition and Development, 17, 671-681.

19.  Madigan, S., Wade, M., & Plamondon, A., Jenkins, J. (2016). Neighborhood collective efficacy moderates the association between maternal adverse childhood experiences and marital conflict. American Journal of Community Psychology, 57, 437-447.

20.  Madigan, S., Brumariu, L., Villani, V., Atkinson, L., & Lyons-Ruth, K. (2016). Representational and self-report measures of attachment after infancy: A meta-analysis of relations to child internalizing and externalizing problems. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 367-399. *winner of a CIHR Brain Star Award

21.  Verhage, M. L., Schuengel., C., Madigan, S., Fearon, P., Oosterman, M., Cassibba, R., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M., J. & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2016). Narrowing the Transmission Gap: A synthesis of three decades of research on intergenerational transmission of attachment. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 337-366. * winner of an APA Early Career Outstanding Paper Award

22.  Madigan, S., Plamondon, A., Browne, D., & Jenkins, J. (2016). Time, sibling and task influences on observed maternal behavior. Parenting: Science and Practice, 16, 108-124.

23.  Korczak D.J., Madigan, S., Manassis, K., & Daneman, D. (2016). The association of cortisol stress response with early adversity and diabetes control in adolescents with diabetes. Journal of Depression and Anxiety, 5, 217.

24.  Daniel, E., Madigan, S., & Jenkins, J. (2016) Paternal and maternal warmth and the developmental of prosociality among preschoolers. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 114-124.

25.  Madigan, S., Vaillancourt, K., Plamondon, A., McKibbon, A., & Benoit, D. (2016). The developmental course of unresolved/disorganized attachment in a sample of adolescents transitioning into parenthood. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 49, 19-31.


26.  Madigan, S.*, Wade, M.*, Plamondon, A., Browne, D., & Jenkins, J. (2015). Responsive parenting protects against the risk of low birth weight on children's language development. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 40, 869-877.

27.  Madigan, S., Hawkins, E., Plamondon, A., Moran, G., & Benoit, D. (2015). Maternal representations and infant attachment: An examination of the prototype hypothesis.  Infant Mental Health Journal, 36, 459-468.

28.  Wade, M., Prime, H., Madigan, S. (2015). Using sibling designs to understand neurodevelopmental disorders: From genes and environments to prevention programming. Biomed Research International.

29.  Hawkins, E., Madigan, S., Moran, G., & Pederson, D. (2015). Mediating and moderating processes underlying the association between maternal cognitive representations and the mother-infant attachment relationship. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 39, 24-33.

30.  Madigan, S., Vaillancourt, K., McKibbon, A. & Benoit, D. (2015). Trauma and traumatic loss in pregnant adolescents: The impact of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy on maternal unresolved states of mind and post-traumatic stress disorder. Attachment and Human Development, 17, 175-198.

31.  Madigan, S., Wade, M., Plamondon, A., & Jenkins, J. (2015). Maternal abuse history, depression, and parenting: Links with preschoolers internalizing problems. Infant Mental Health Journal, 36, 146-155.

32.  Wade, M., Madigan, S., Jenkins, J. (2015). Cumulative prenatal/birth complications and social cognition in the second year of life: prediction and moderation by responsive parenting. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 354.

33.  Thompson, G., Madigan, S., Wentzel, K., Dineley, B., Lorber, S., & Shouldice, M. (2015). Demographic characteristics and needs of the Canadian urban adolescent mother and her child. Pediatrics and Child Health, 20, 72-76.

34.  Prime, H., Browne, D., Akbari, E., Wade, M., Madigan, S., & Jenkins, J. (2015). The development of a measure of parental cognitive sensitivity appropriate for use in primary care health settings. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56, 488-495.


35.  Azzopardi, C., Madigan, S., Kirkland-Burke, M. (2014). Extended sexual abuse forensic evaluation with young children: Program outcomes and disclosure correlates. Journal of Child Custody, 11, 304-324.

36.  Wade, M., Browne, D., Madigan, S., Plamondon, A., & Jenkins, J. (2014). Normal birth weight variation and children’s neuropsychological functioning: links between language, executive functioning, and theory of mind. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 20, 909-919.

37.  Madigan, S., Wade, M., Tarabulsy, G., Jenkins, J., & Shouldice, M. (2014). Association between maltreatment history and adolescent pregnancy: A meta-analysis. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55, 151-159.

38.  Madigan, S., Wade, M., Plamondon, A., Vaillancourt, K., Jenkins, J., Shouldice, M., & Benoit, D. (2014). Course of depression and anxiety symptoms during the transition to parenthood for female adolescents with histories of maltreatment. Child Abuse and Neglect, 38, 1160-1170.

39.  Pallini, S., Baiocco, R., Schneider, B., Madigan, S., & Atkinson, L. (2014). Early child-parent attachment and peer relations: A meta-analysis of recent research. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 118-123.

40.  Tarabulsy, G., Pearson, J., Vaillancourt-Morel, M.P., Bussieres, E.L., Madigan, S., Lemelin, J.P., et al. (2014). Meta-analytic findings of the relation between maternal prenatal stress and anxiety and child cognitive outcome. Journal of Developmental Pediatrics and Behavior, 35, 38-43.


41.  Madigan, S., Atkinson, L., Laurin, K., & Benoit, D.  (2013) Attachment and internalizing behavior in early childhood:  A meta-analysis. Developmental Psychology. 9, 672-689. * shortlisted for an APA Early Career Outstanding Paper Award


42.  Madigan, S., Vaillancourt, K., McKibbon, A., & Benoit, D. (2012). The reporting of maltreatment experiences during the Adult Attachment Interview in a sample of pregnant adolescents. Attachment and Human Development, 14, 119-143.


43.  Madigan, S., Benoit, D., & Voci, S.  (2011) Stability of atypical caregiver behaviors over six years and associations with disorganized attachment.  Attachment and Human Development, 13, 237-252.

44.  Madigan, S., Benoit, D., & Boucher, C. (2011). Exploration of the links among fathers' unresolved states of mind with respect to attachment, atypical paternal behavior, and disorganized infant-father attachment. Infant Mental Health Journal, 32, 286-304.


45.  Moran, G., Forbes, L., Evans, E., Tarabulsy, G., & Madigan, S.  (2008) Both maternal sensitivity and atypical maternal behavior independently predict attachment security and disorganization in adolescent mother-infant relationships.  Infant Behavior and Development, 31, 316-320.

46.  Madigan, S., Moran, G., Schuengel, C., Pederson, D., & Otten, R. (2007). Unresolved maternal attachment representations, disrupted maternal behaviour and disorganized attachment in infancy: Links to toddler behavior problems.  Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48, 1042-1050.

47.  Madigan, S., Moran, G., & Pederson, D. (2006). Unresolved states of mind, disorganized attachment, and disrupted mother-infant interactions of adolescent mothers and their infants. Developmental Psychology, 42, 293-304. *winner of a CIHR Brain Star Award

48.  Madigan, S., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M., van IJzendoorn, M., Moran, G., Pederson, D., & Benoit, D. (2006). Unresolved states of mind, anomalous parental behaviour, and disorganized attachment: A review and meta-analysis.  Attachment and Human Development, 8, 89-111.

49.  Madigan, S., Hawkins, S., Goldberg, S., & Benoit, D. (2006). Reduction of disrupted caregiver behaviour using Modified Interaction Guidance. Infant Mental Health Journal, 27, 509-527.


50.  Madigan, S., Goldberg, S., Moran, G., & Pederson, D.R.  (2005). Naïve observers' perceptions of family drawings by 7-year olds with disorganized attachment histories.  Attachment and Human Development, 6, 223-240.

51.  Madigan, S., Ladd, M., & Goldberg, S. (2003). A picture is worth a thousand words: Infant attachment and later representations of families in drawings.  Attachment and Human Development, 5, 19-37.

52.  Goldberg, S., Benoit, D., Blokland, K., & Madigan, S. (2003) Atypical maternal behaviour, maternal representations and infant disorganized attachment.  Development and Psychopathology, 15, 239-257.

53.  Benoit, D., Madigan, S., Lecce, S., Shea, B., & Goldberg, S.  (2001). Atypical maternal behaviour before and after intervention.  Infant Mental Health Journal, 22, 611-626. 


Book Chapters:

1.     Lyons-Ruth, K., Zeanah, C.H., Benoit, D., Madigan, S. & Mills-Koonce, R.,  (2014). Disorder and Risk for Disorder in infancy and toddlerhood (pp.673-736). Child Psychopathology. In E. Mash & R.A. Barkley (Eds., 3rd Edition). The Guilford Press: New York, NY.

2.     Jenkins, J., Madigan, S., & Arsenault, L. (2015). Psychosocial Adversity (pp.330-340). In Tharpar, A., Pine, D., Leckman, J., Scott, S., Snowling, M., & Taylor, E. (Eds., 6th edition). Rutter’s Handbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Blackwell: Oxford, UK.

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