Carolyn Dayton

Research Project Title

Singing to Babies in Motown!: The Detroit Lullaby Study    
Baby on Board!: The WSU Early Parenting Study    


Dr. Dayton holds joint appointments at the School of Social Work and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. She serves as the Associate Director of the Infant Mental Health Program at MPSI where her developmental laboratory is located. Her research is focused on early parenting processes with an emphasis on fathering in urban settings. She has over two decades of experience providing clinical interventions to the families of infants and young children in a wide range of settings including home-based, center-based and hospital programs. Dr. Dayton's program of research is fundamentally translational and transdisciplinary; it is informed by her clinical work with families and aims to identify biological and psychosocial risk and resilience factors that influence early parenting process and early child development.


  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, Michigan State University
  • Graduate Certificate in Infant Mental Health, University of Michigan
  • MSW, University of Michigan
  • BA, Kalamazoo College

Office Location

Pauline Knapp Building, Room 238, 87 East Ferry Street, Detroit, MI 48202


MICHR Postdoctoral Translational Scholars Fellowship. Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, MI. 2011-2012

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Department of Psychology, Developmental Area. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, MI. 2010-2011

APPIC Postdoctoral Clinical Fellowship. Institute for Human Adjustment. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, MI. 2008-2010

APPIC Predoctoral Clinical Internship. Psychological Clinic & University Center for the Child and Family. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, MI. 2007-2008

International Culture & Language Training Scholar, Madrid, Spain. 1987-1988

Office Phone


Research Focus

  • Infant Mental Health
  • Fathering in Urban Environments
  • Parenting in Contexts of Risk
  • Emotion Regulation Processes in Parenting and Early Child Development
  • Biological and Psychosocial Processes in Early Parenting
  • Fathering Influences on Early Child Development


  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist (Michigan)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Michigan)
  • Infant Mental Health Mentor, Clinical & Research (Level IV; MI-AIMH)

Courses Taught

  • SW 6991 Introduction to Infant Mental Health
  • SW 7010 Infant Mental Health Practice
  • SW 8115 Application of DSM Assessment System in Social Work Practice
  • SW 8883 Infant Mental Health Seminar I
  • SW 8884 Infant Mental Health Seminar II


Recent Representative Publications:

Dayton, C. J., Malone, J. C., & Brown, S. (in press). Pathways to parenting: The emotional journeys of fathers as they prepare to parent a new infant. In H. E. Fitzgerald, K. vonKlitzing, N. Cabrera, T. Skjothaug and J. S. de Medonca (Eds.), Handbook of Fathers: Prenatal to PreK. New York: Springer Press.

Dayton, C.J., Barron, C. C., Stacks, A. M., & Malone, J. (2020). Infant Mental Health: Clinical Practice with Very Young Children and their Families. In J. Brandell, Theory and Practice in Clinical Social Work (Ed.). San Diego, CA: Cognella.

Dayton, C. J., Johnson, A., Hicks, L., Goletz, J. Brown, S. Primuse, T. Green, K., Nordin, M., Welch, R., & Muzik, M. (2019). Sex differences in the social ecology of breastfeeding: A mixed methods analysis of breastfeeding views of expectant mothers and fathers. Journal of Biosocial Science.

Dayton, C. J., Brown, S., Goletz, J., Hicks, L., Barron, C., & Smith-Darden, J. (2019). Pathways to parenting: Predictors of prenatal bonding in a sample of expectant mothers and fathers exposed to environmental risk. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28(4), 1134-1144.

Hicks, L. M., Dayton, C. J. (2018). Depressive and trauma symptoms in risk-exposed, expectant mothers and fathers: Is mindfulness a buffer? Journal of Affective Disorders, 238, 179-186. doi:

Dayton, C. J., Matthews, W. K., Hicks, L., & Malone, J. (2017). The expression of music throughout the lives of expectant parents. Psychology of Music, 45(6), 839-854. doi: 0305735617692165

Swain, J. E., Ho, S., Rosenblum, K. L., Morelen, D., Dayton, C. J. & Muzik, M. (2017). Parent-child intervention decreases stress and increases maternal brain responses and connectivity in response to own baby-cry: An exploratory study. Development and Psychopathology, 29, 535-553. doi:

Bocknek, E. L., Dayton, C. J., Brophy-Herb, H. Raveau, H., & Fitzgerald, H. (2017). Routine active playtime with fathers is associated with toddlers’ emotion regulation competencies. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 63(1).

Dayton, C. J., & Malone, J. (2017). The development and socialization of physical aggression in very young boys. Infant Mental Health Journal, 38(1),150-165. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21622.

Dayton, C. J., Buczkowski, R. S., Muzik, M., Goletz, J., Hicks, L., Walsh, T., & Bocknek, E. L. (2016). Expectant fathers’ beliefs and expectations about fathering as they prepare to parent a new infant. Social Work Research: Special Issue on Social Work with Men and Fathers, 40(4), 225-236. doi: 10.1093/swr/svw017.

Dayton, C. J., Huth-Bocks, A., & Busuito, A. (2016). The influence of interpersonal aggression on maternal perceptions of infant emotions: Associations with early parenting quality. Emotion, 16(4), 436-448. doi: 10.1037/emo0000114.

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