Department of Psychology

Dr. George Holden


George Holden

Professor and Chair

Expressway Tower 1300



Dr. Holden received a US State Department Grant in January 2013 funding a three-year partnership with Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women's University in Peshawar, Pakistan. Read More.

Dr. Holden served as chair of the organizing committee for the international conference Global Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline, June, 2011, held in Dallas and was also the chair of Creating a Non-Violent Future: Children’s Rights and Advance in Protection from Corporal Punishment, held in Chicago, in May, 2014.

On November 18, 2015, he participated in a U.S. Congressional briefing on corporal punishment. His comments can be found here.


The Holden lab focuses on understanding the determinants and significance of the parent-child relationship in development. Much of the work conducted in this lab has addressed the proximate causes of parental behavior with an emphasis on parental social cognition. For example, we have investigated parental attitudes and thinking as it relates to parental use of physical punishment. We are currently examining parental yelling from both the parents’ and children’s perspective. A second but closely related area of research concerns the causes and effects of family violence, including how intimate partner violence affects parenting and children’s development.


Brown, A., Holden, G.W., & Ashraf, R.* (2018). Spank, slap, or hit? How labels alter perceptions of child discipline. Psychology of Violence, 8, 1-9. doi:10.1937/vio0000080

Holden, G.W., & Ashraf, R.* (2018). The problem of corporal punishment and the solution of positive parenting in the United States. In G. Lenzer (Ed.), Violence against children: Making human rights real (pp. 258-280). New York: Taylor & Francis. 

Afifi, T.O., Ford, D., Gershoff, E.T., Merrick, M.T., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Ports, K.A., MacMillan, H., Holden, G.W., Taylor, C.A., Lee, S.J. & Peters-Bennett, R. (2017). Spanking and adult mental health impairment: The case of the designation of spanking as an adverse childhood experience. Child Abuse & Neglect, 71, 24-31. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.01.014

Holden, G.W., Hawk, Carol Kozak*, Smith, M.,* Singh, J.,* & Ashraf, R.* (2017). Disciplinary practices, metaparenting, and the quality of parent-child relationships in African-American, Mexican-American, and European-American mothers. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 41, 482-490. doi:10.1177/0165025416687414

Holden, G.W., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Durrant, J. E., & Gershoff, E.T. (2017). Researchers deserve a better critique: Response to Larzelere, Gunnoe, Roberts, and Ferguson (2017).
Marriage & Family Review, 53, 565-590. doi:10.1080/01494929.2017.1308899 

Durrant, J.E., Plateau, D.P., Ateah, C., Stewart-Tufescu, A., Holden, G.W., Barker, L., Jones, A., Ly, G., & Ahmed, R. (2017). Parents’ views of the relevance of a violence prevention program in high, medium, and low human development contexts. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 41, 523-531. doi:10.1177/0165025416687415

Deb, S., Kumar, A., Holden, G.W., & Simpson Rowe, L. (2017). School corporal punishment, family tension, and students’ internalizing problems: Evidence from India. School Psychology International, 38, 60-77. doi:10.1177/0143034316681378