Marcia Winter, Ph.D.


Associate Professor
Developmental Psychology
808 W Franklin, rm 402
(804) 828-7061

Associate Professor (tenure-track)
Developmental Psychology

Ph.D. (2006), University of Rochester


Child and Family Perseverance Lab

Research Interests

My research focuses on mechanisms by which stress exposure influences child health. I am particularly interested in how children are affected emotionally, at the level of interpreting and making meaning of challenging situations, and physically, at the level of immune function and health outcomes. In addition, I examine how various parenting and family processes can be protective for children.

Currently, there are two main areas of investigation in my lab. The first focuses on individual differences in how children and their families respond and adapt in the context of chronic stress (e.g., poverty, chronic illness). The second examines stress and coping with a particularly threatening, abrupt stressor: a diagnosis of pediatric cancer. With funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD and VCU, we are advancing integrative, biopsychosocial models examining how broad sociodemographic and life stress, individual dispositions and perceptions, and family relationship processes interact to influence child emotional security, immunologic factors, and mental and physical health outcomes. Ultimately, this work is intended to highlight processes of vulnerability and resilience within populations of at-risk children.

Select Publications

Winter, M. A., Fiese, B. H., Spagnola, M., & Anbar, R. D. (2011). Asthma severity, child security, and child internalizing: Using story stem techniques to assess the meaning children make of family and disease-specific events. Journal of Family Psychology, 25, 857-867.
Fiese, B. H., Winter, M. A., Wamboldt, F. A., Anbar, R. D., & Wamboldt, M. (2010). Do family  mealtime interactions mediate the association between asthma symptoms and separation anxiety? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 144-151.
Winter, M. A., Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (2010). Children's security in the context of family instability and maternal communications. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 56, 131-142.
Fiese, B. H., Winter, M. A., Anbar, R. D., Howell, K. J., & Poltrock, S. (2008). Family climate of routine asthma care: Associating perceived burden and mother-child interaction patterns to child well-being. Family Process, 47, 63-79.
Winter, M. A., Davies, P. T., Hightower, A. D., and Meyer, S. C. (2006). Relations among family adversity, caregiver communication, and children's family representations. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 348-351.

Recent Grants

Families of Richmond, VA Study Extension (FoR-VA-X). Principal Investigator.  July 2016 - December 2017.  Virginia Commonwealth University Presidential Research Quest Fund (PeRQ) award.  $50,000.

Stress Exposure, Family Coping, and Child Immune Function in the Context of Pediatric Cancer. Principal Investigator. 2012-2016. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Development, K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. 1K99HD070953.


  • Helen K. Nowlis Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Rochester

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