Sarah Martin

Professor and Chair of Psychology

I am a clinical psychologist with research and practice interests in early childhood mental health. Specifically, I am interested in the development and treatment of mood and disruptive behavior problems in young children, with particular attention to the role of emotion processes (e.g., emotion understanding, emotion regulation). I teach courses on a range of topics in developmental and abnormal psychology, with emphasis on the links between psychological science and clinical practice. I also coordinate the Psychology Department's fieldwork program, through which students have the opportunity to gain applied experience in a variety of different professional settings (e.g., clinics, hospitals, schools, research labs).


  • B.S., Duke University
  • Ph.D. and M.S., The Pennsylvania State University
  • Clinical internship: University of Rochester Medical School
  • Post-doctoral fellowship: Brown University Medical School


  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Area of Expertise

My research focuses on the role of emotions in early childhood development and mental health. I am particularly interested in examining the processes by which young children and their parents experience, express, regulate, and understand their emotions, as well as the ways in which early difficulties in these emotion processes may lead to the development of child mental health problems. My recent work has included studies of irritability and temper loss in preschoolers, suicidal ideation and behavior in young children, and links between maternal depression and emotion understanding in early childhood.

What I Teach

  • PSYC 231 Abnormal Psychology<
  • PSYC 235 Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 305 Research in Child Development (with lab)
  • PSYC 336 Child Psychopathology
  • PSYC 380 Fieldwork in Psychology

Research/Special Projects

I am currently working with Simmons student researchers on a study of child, parent, and family stress and emotional wellbeing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am also collaborating with researchers at Brown University on a NIMH funded study of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in 4- to 7-year-old children.


Selected Publications

Martin, S. E., Kavanaugh, B. C., Paszek, C., DeMarco, M., Mernick, L. R., & Boekamp, J. R. (2022) Executive dysfunction, psychiatric symptoms, and behavioral dysregulation in preschoolers: Preliminary findings in a clinical sample. Evidence-Based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. DOI: 10.1080/23794925.2021.1996299.

Boekamp, J. R., Liu, R. T., Martin, S. E., Mernick, L. R., DeMarco, M., & Spirito, A. (2018). Predictors of partial hospital readmission for young children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 49, 505 – 511.

Martin, S. E., Hunt, J. I., Mernick, L. R., DeMarco, M., Hunter, H. L., Coutinho, M.T., & Boekamp, J. R. (2017). Temper loss and persistent irritability in preschoolers: Implications for diagnosing Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder in early childhood. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 48, 498 - 508.

Martin, S. E., Liu, R. T., Mernick, L. R., DeMarco, M., Cheek, S. M., Spirito, A., & Boekamp, J. R. (2016). Suicidal thoughts and behaviors in psychiatrically referred young children. Psychiatry Research, 246, 308 – 313.

Martin, S.E., Williamson, L.R., Kurtz-Nelson, E.C., & Boekamp, J.R. (2015). Emotion understanding (and misunderstanding) in clinically referred preschoolers: The role of child language and maternal depressive symptoms. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 24-37.

Martin, S.E., McConville, D.W., Williamson, L.R., Feldman, G.C., & Boekamp, J.R. (2013). Partial hospitalization treatment for preschoolers with severe behavior problems: Child age and maternal functioning as predictors of outcome. Child and Adolescent mental Health, 18, 24-32.

Martin, S.E., Boekamp, J.R., McConville, D.W., & Wheeler, E.E. (2010). Anger and sadness perception in clinically referred preschoolers: Emotion processes and externalizing behavior symptoms. Child Psychology and Human Development, 41, 30-46.

Cole, P.M., Martin, S.E., & Dennis, T.A. (2004). Emotion regulation as a scientific construct: Methodological challenges and directions for child development research. Child Development, 75, 1-17.

Martin, S.E., Clements, M.L., & Crnic, K.A. (2002). Maternal emotions during mother-toddler interaction: Parenting in affective context. Parenting: Science and Practice, 2, 105-126.

For a complete list of my publications, please visit my Google Scholar page.


  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Simmons College (2012)
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Duke University (1994)