Faculty Directory

David MacPhee

David MacPhee, Ph.D.

Professor and Assistant Department Head of Human Development and Family Studies
Director, Applied Developmental Science Doctoral Program

Contact Information

319 Behavioral Sciences Building
1570 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1570

Phone: 970-491-5503
Fax: 970-491-7975
E-mail: david.macphee@colostate.edu
View David's CV

Research Interests

The primary focus of my research is on child-rearing practices as they are influenced by social-cognitive processes such as knowledge base, causal attributions, and self-efficacy beliefs. For instance, parents who know more about child development are more likely to provide age-appropriate cognitive stimulation, which in turn influences children's school readiness. Parents who feel less competent and who blame the child for problematic interactions are more likely to get angry and to use punishment. These constructivistic, social-cognitive processes cannot be observed directly, so I have devoted much effort to developing valid instruments to measure these constructs. One of my scales, the Knowledge of Infant Development Inventory, is widely used in both basic research on parenting and in program evaluations. Another instrument, the Self-Perceptions of the Parental Role scale, has been used as one outcome measure in various DARE to be You trials; consistent and large program effects are found on parent self-efficacy, which in turn mediates changes in disciplinary practices. I am interested in collaborating with graduate students on basic or applied research that examines how parent social cognitions are related to child-rearing practices.

I believe in translating theory into practice, specifically preventive intervention for high-risk families. Prevention science requires a good grasp of risk and protective factors, in order to promote resilience (i.e., competence or adaptation). For example, many of my intervention grants and research projects have focused on stress, support networks, and self-efficacy beliefs as key processes. This theoretical grounding must be wedded to sound methodological skills in order to craft well-designed program evaluations. My passion for prevention science is manifest in my long-standing collaboration with the DARE to be You (DTBY) Program, a model prevention program for families that has been implemented nationally with various ages and ethnic groups. We have collected longitudinal data on DTBY’s impact from large, multi-ethnic samples that can be used to test various models of how family, child, and adolescent processes predict developmental outcomes such as adjustment to school or engagement in risky behavior. One example of how these DTBY data sets can be used to test meditational models can be found in a recent article I wrote with a doctoral advisee, Aimeé Walker, that appeared in Early Childhood Research Quarterly. In the near future, I am particularly interested in applying the lessons learned from these DARE to be You trials to find effective ways to enhance preschoolers’ readiness for kindergarten.

My research also has a strong multicultural emphasis, which is evident in two Child Development articles as well as in publications that appeared in Innovative Higher Education. Research on minority parents’ child rearing is scarce, fragmented, and based on small samples. My research on ethnic variations in social networks and parenting thus fills a gap because it includes cultural groups about whom relatively little is known. Also, my work synthesizes perspectives from cultural anthropology (on social networks), social-cognitive theory (self-efficacy), and childhood socialization into a more coherent description of cultural variations in parenting. Thus, I welcome the opportunity to work with graduate students who are interested in examining the various ways that parents contribute to these developmental niches.


B.S., 1976, Psychology & Zoology, College of Idaho
M.S., 1978, Developmental Psychology, Purdue University
Ph.D., 1984, Developmental Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Honors and Awards

2015 - Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award, Colorado State University
2014 - Superior Service Award, College of Health and Human Sciences
2006 - Family Strengthening Award, National 4-H Council (DARE to be You).
1998 - Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Applied Human Sciences.
1996 - Cermak Outstanding Graduate Adviser Award, CSU Graduate School.
1996-06 - DARE to be You Program (Miller-Heyl & MacPhee) selected as model intervention program by SAMSHA; Centers for Disease Control; OJJDP; Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs.

Current Research Projects

Family-based processes related to children’s school readiness and successful transition to school.

Professional Experience

1999-present: Professor of Human Development and Family Studies with Tenure (Graduate Faculty), Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University.

2002: Visiting scholar, University of Canberra, Australia.

1985-1999: Assistant/Associate Professor, HDFS, Colorado State University.

1983-1985: USPHS Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Denver.

Selected Publications

Jackman, D., & MacPhee, D. (2015). Self-esteem and future orientation predict adolescents’ risk engagement. Journal of Early Adolescence.

Breyer, R. J., & MacPhee, D. (2015). Community characteristics, conservative ideology, and child abuse rates. Child Abuse & Neglect, 41, 126-135.

MacPhee, D., Lunkenheimer, E., & Riggs, N. R. (2015). Resilience as regulation of developmental and family processes. Family Relations, 64, 153-175.

MacPhee, D., Miller-Heyl, J., & Carroll, J. (2014). Impact of the DARE to be You family support program: Collaborative replication in rural counties. Journal of Community Psychology, 42, 707-722.

Nobre-Lima, L., Vale-Dias, M., Mendes, T. V., Monico, L., & MacPhee, D. (2014). The Portuguese version of the KIDI-P. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 11, 740-745.

Fetsch, R. J., MacPhee, D., & Boyer, L. (2012). Evidence-based programming: What is the process an Extension Agent can use with a program? Journal of Extension, 50, article #5FEA2.

Moné , J. G., MacPhee, D., Anderson, S. K., & Banning, J. H. (2012). Family members’ narratives of divorce and interparental conflict: Implications for parental alienation. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 52, 642-667.

Walker, A. K., & MacPhee, D. (2011). How home gets to school: Parental support and control strategies predict children’s school readiness. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26, 355-364.

Miller-Heyl, J., MacPhee, D., & Fritz, J. (2001). DARE to be You: A systems approach to the early prevention of problem behaviors. New York: Kluwer/Plenum.

Anderson, S. K., MacPhee, D., & Govan, D. (2000). Infusion of multicultural issues in curricula: A student perspective. Innovative Higher Education, 25, 37-57.

Miller-Heyl, J., MacPhee, D., & Fritz, J. (1998). DARE to be You: A family-support, early prevention program. Journal of Primary Prevention, 18, 257-285.

MacPhee, D., Fritz, J., & Miller-Heyl, J. (1996). Ethnic variations in personal social networks and parenting. Child Development, 67, 3278-3295.

Fritz, J. J., Miller-Heyl, J., Kreutzer, J. C., & MacPhee, D. (1995). Fostering personal teaching efficacy through staff development and classroom activities. Journal of Educational Research, 88, 200-208.

MacPhee, D., Kreutzer, J. C., & Fritz, J. (1994). Infusing a multicultural perspective into human development courses. Child Development, 65, 699-715.

Thematic Research Areas

  • Parenting
  • Risk & Resilience
  • Prevention Science
  • Cultural Context & Diversity