Gayla Margolin

Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics
Pronouns She / Her / Hers Email Office SGM 930 Office Phone (213) 740-2313

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Center for Urban Youth, P.I., Steering Committee


  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Oregon, 1976
  • M.A. Clinical Psychology, University of Oregon, 1973
  • B.A. Psychology, University of Wisconsin, 1971
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Margolin researches marital conflict and violence, the effects of violence exposure on children, and the examination of resilience versus vulnerability in children. She is well known for her work on family systems, with specific emphasis on ethical and legal issues surrounding family therapy, and treatment and assessment considerations in marital and family therapy.

    Research Keywords

    marital conflict and violence, children, parenting, family systems, developmental psychopathology, community violence, ethics in family research, children’s response to personal trauma and natural disaster

    Detailed Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Margolin’s research identifies key interactional processes in families and couples that influence physical and emotional wellbeing. These studies demonstrate, across different developmental stages, how experiences with family aggression influence the ways romantic partners, as well as parents and youth, communicate about emotionally salient topics. Much of her work characterizes couple and family interactions based on direct observations, both in and outside the lab. Her current work captures naturalistic ‘in-the-wild’ interactions through micro-process, moment-to-moment behavioral, emotional, and physiological reactions to identify bidirectional influences between couple interactions and individual reactivity. She has over 150 peer-reviewed publications and over 40 book chapters. She has been a PI on multiple NIH and NSF grants that identify factors contributing to adolescents’ and young adults’ risk and resilience to conflict and violence in the family and community. She also has written multiple book chapters and articles on ethical considerations that are unique to working with multiple family members in couple and family therapy.

  • Journal Article

    • Saxbe, D., Margolin, G., Spies, L. A., Baucom, B. (2012). Does dampened physiology reactivity protect youth in aggressive family environments?. Child Development. Vol. 83, pp. 821-830.
    • Spies, L. A., Margolin, G., Susman, E., Gordis, E. B. (2011). Adolescents’ cortisol reactivity and subjective distress in response to family conflict: The moderating role of internalizing symptoms. Journal of Adolescent Health. Vol. 49, pp. 386-392.
    • Rodriguez, A., Margolin, G. (2011). Siblings of military servicemembers: A qualitative exploration of individual and family systems reactions. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Vol. 42, pp. 316-323.
    • Bennett, D., Guran, E., Ramos, M. C., Margolin, G. (2011). College students’ electronic victimization in friendships and dating relationships: Anticipated distress and associations with risky behaviors. Violence & Victims. Vol. 26, pp. 410-429.
    • Margolin, G., Ramos, M. C., Guran, E. L. (2010). Earthquakes and children: The role of psychologists. Professional Psychology Research and Practice. Vol. 41, pp. 1-9.. PubMed Web Address
    • Margolin, G., Vickerman, K. A., Oliver, P. H., Gordis, E. B. (2010). Violence exposure in multiple interpersonal domains: Cumulative and differential effects. Journal of Adolescent Health. Vol. 47, pp. 198-205. PubMed Web Address
    • Vickerman, K. A., Margolin, G. (2009). Rape treatment outcome research: Empirical findings and state of the literature. Clinical Psychology Review. Vol. 23, pp. 18-34.
    • Margolin, G., Vickerman, K. A., Ramos, M. C., Serrano, S. D., Gordis, E. B., Iturralde, E., Oliver, P. H., Spies, L. A. (2009). Youth exposed to violence: Stability, co-occurrence, and context. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review (Invited submission, anticipated publication 03/2009). Vol. 12, pp. 39-54. PubMed Web Address
    • Vickerman, K. A., Margolin, G. (2008). Trajectories of physical and emotional marital aggression in middle-aged couples. Violence & Victims/Springer. Vol. 23, pp. 18-34.
    • Doumas, D., Margolin, G., John, R. S. (2008). Spillover patterns in single earner couples: work, self-care, and the marital relationship. Journal of Family & Economic Issues. Vol. 29, pp. 55-73.
    • Margolin, G., Vickerman, K. A. (2007). Post-traumatic stress in children and adolescents exposed to family violence. I. Overview and issues. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Vol. 38, pp. 613-619.
    • Vickerman, K. A., Margolin, G. (2007). Post-traumatic stress in children and adolescents exposed to family violence. II. Treatment. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Vol. 38, pp. 620-628.
    • Proctor, L., Fauchier, A., Oliver, P. H., Ramos, M. C., Rios, M. A., Margolin, G. (2007). Family context and young children’s responses to earthquakes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry/Blackwell. Vol. 48, pp. 941-949.
    • Duman, S. E., Margolin, G. (2007). Parents’ aggressive influences and children’s aggressive problem solutions with peers. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Vol. 36, pp. 42-55..
    • Margolin, G., Chien, D., Duman, S. E., Fauchier, A., Gordis, E. B., Oliver, P. H., Ramos, M., Vickerman, K. (2005). Ethical issues in couple and family research. Journal of Family Psychology/APA. Vol. 19, pp. 157-167.
    • Gordis, E. B., Margolin, G., Vickerman, K. (2005). Communication and frightening behavior among couples with past and recent histories of physical marital aggression. American Journal of Community Psychology/Kluwer Academic Press. Vol. 36, pp. 177-191.
    • Margolin, G., Gordis, E. B. (2000). The effects of family and community violence on children. Annual Review of Psychology/Annual Reviews. Vol. 51, pp. pp. 445-479/.
    • USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Raubenheimer Award, 2013
    • USC Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Students, 2008
    • USC Award for Excellence in Mentoring Graduate Students, 2006
    • Editorial Appreciation Award, Journal of Family Psychology, 2004-2005
    • AFTA Award for Distinguished Contribution of Family Systems Research, 1993
    • Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, Harry Frank Guggenheim Career Development Award, 1985-1989
  • Administrative Appointments

    • Director of Clinical Training, 08/15/2008 – 08/15/2012
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Editorial Board, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2008 –
    • Consulting Editor, Journal of Family Psychology, 1991 –
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Family Violence, 1984 –
    • Editorial Board, Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 1998 – 2010
    • Editorial Advisory Board, Clinical Psychology Review, 1993 – 2005
    • Associate Editor, Journal of Family Psychology, 1987 – 1991
    • Associate Editor, Behavioral Assessment, 1984 – 1985

    Professional Memberships

    • Society for Research in Adolescence, 2006 –
    • American Psychological Society, 2001 –
    • Society for Research in Child Development, 1993 –
    • American Psychological Association, 1978 –

    Review Panels

    • Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System, Review Panel, 2009 – 2011
    • Society for Research in Child Development, Early Career Awards Review Panel, 2010-2011
    • APA, Division 12, Fellowship Review Panel, 2009-2010