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Whitney Barnett

Research Assistant Professor
Research Area: Developmental Science

Dr. Barnett’s research interests center around understanding the impact of exposure to maltreatment and violence in early life on child health, development, and achievement. In particular, she is interested in understanding pathways that contribute to intergenerational transmission of risk. Her program of research leverages her public health background to identify modifiable factors within family settings with the goal of implementing evidence-based approaches to support parents and children to improve both short- and long-term child outcomes.  

Lab Website

Representative Publications

Selected Recent Publications (* indicates mentee).

Barnett W, Halligan S, Heron J, Fraser A, Koen N, Zar HJ, Donald KA, Stein DJ. Maltreatment in childhood and intimate partner violence: A latent class growth analysis in a South African pregnancy cohort. Child Abuse Negl. 2018 Dec;86:336-348. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.08.020. Epub 2018 Sep 18. PMCID: PMC6297167.

Barnett W, Pellowski J, Kuo C, Koen N, Donald KA, Zar HJ, Stein DJ. Food-insecure pregnant women in South Africa: a cross-sectional exploration of maternal depression as a mediator of violence and trauma risk factors. BMJ Open. 2019 Mar 13;9(3):e018277. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018277. PMCID: PMC6429723.

Barnett W, Halligan SL, Nhapi R, Pellowski J, Zar HJ, Donald KA, Stein DJ. Intimate partner violence and growth outcomes through infancy: A longitudinal investigation of multiple mediators in a South African birth cohort. Matern Child Nutr. 2022;18(1):e13281. doi:10.1111/mcn.13281. PMCID: PMC8710113.

Barnett W, Halligan SL, Wedderburn CJ, Fraser A, MacGinty R, Hoffman N, Zar HJ, Stein DJ, Donald KA. Maternal emotional and physical intimate partner violence and early child development: investigating mediators in a cross-sectional study in a South African birth cohort. BMJ Open. 2021;11(10):e046829. Published 2021 Oct 28. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046829. PMCID: PMC8557296.

Barnett W, Hansen CL, Bailes LG, Humphreys KL. Caregiver-child proximity as a dimension of early experience. Dev Psychopathol. 2022;34(2):647-665. doi:10.1017/S0954579421001644.

Koen N, Brittain K, Donald KA, Barnett W, Koopowitz S, Maré K, Zar HJ, Stein DJ. Maternal posttraumatic stress disorder and infant developmental outcomes in a South African birth cohort study. Psychol Trauma. 2017 May;9(3):292-300. doi: 10.1037/tra0000234. PMCID: PMC5461402.

MacGinty RP*, Kariuki SM, Barnett W, Wedderburn CJ, Hardy A, Hoffman N, Newton CR, Zar HJ, Donald KA, Stein DJ. Associations of antenatal maternal psychological distress with infant birth and development outcomes: results from a South African birth cohort. Compr Psychiatry. 2019 Oct 17;96:152128. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2019.152128. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 31715335.

MacGinty R*, Lesosky M, Barnett W, Nduru P, Vanker A, Stein DJ, Zar HJ. et al. Maternal psychosocial risk factors and lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) during infancy in a South African birth cohort. PloS one 2019; 14(12): e0226144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226144. PMCID: PMC6936815