David Bridgett

Professional Background & Education/Training

David Bridgett Dr. Bridgett received his Ph.D. in psychology with a focus in clinical child psychology from Washington State University in 2008. His dissertation, which examined predictors of trajectories of infant temperament and the role of infant temperament in the emergence of early symptoms of internalizing and externalizing problems, as well as his other research experiences while at Washington State University, were instrumental in the development of Dr. Bridgett’s current research interests in early emotion regulation. Prior to receiving his doctorate, he graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a M.A. in psychology (2002) and he received his B.S. in psychology from Midwestern State University in 1999.

Dr. Bridgett completed his clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship clinical and research training at the Yale Child Study Center located within the School of Medicine at Yale University (2007-2009). While on fellowship at the Child Study Center, his clinical work encompassed the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of children, particularly children between the ages of 6 months and 10 years. His research included examination of trajectories of emotion regulation and regulatory aspects of temperament in school aged children at high risk for difficulties due to prenatal exposure to substances and living in impoverished conditions. Dr. Bridgett joined the faculty at the Yale Child Study Center as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in July of 2009.

Dr. Bridgett joined the Department of Psychology at Northern Illinois University in August of 2009 as an Assistant Professor where he started the Emotion Regulation & Temperament Laboratory

Research Interests

Dr. Bridgett’s research interests are in the areas of emotion regulation, temperament, parent-infant/parent-child interaction, and developmental psychopathology. Within these broader areas, he is interested in:

  • Factors that predict trajectories of early emotion regulation, such as parenting
  • How parenting behaviors are influenced by parent characteristics, such as emotion regulation, effortful control, and other temperament and personality characteristics
  • Intrinsic characteristics of young children, such as negative emotionality, that influence how emotion regulation and related characteristics develop over time
  • Developmental precursors, such as rudimentary attention, that influence the emergence of effortful regulation in toddlerhood and beyond
  • How characteristics of infants and young children (e.g., emotion regulation and temperament) influence parent behavior
  • Understanding how trajectories of early emotion regulation and temperament act as risk factors for the emergence of internalizing and externalizing difficulties
  • The contributions of early temperament and emotion regulation to the emergence of social competence and related constructs in young children

Methodologically and statistically, Dr. Bridgett takes a longitudinal, individual differences approach to the specific research questions outlined above. In particular, he believes that taking into account the trajectory or course that early temperament and emotion regulation attributes are on is critical to understanding later outcomes. Given the importance of trajectories of emotion regulation and temperament that become apparent early in life, much of his research involves infants, toddlers, and preschool aged populations.

Teaching Interests

In addition to undergraduate statistics and research methods, Dr. Bridgett has also taught introductory psychology and behavioral disturbances in children. Additional teaching interests include graduate level assessment, child psychopathology, and practicum courses.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Bridgett is particularly interested in the assessment and diagnosis of a wide range of difficulties in young children (0-5 years), such as developmental delay, early disruptive behaviors, and anxiety. He takes an integrative approach to the conceptualization of cases and frequently involves parents in addressing behavioral difficulties in children. In addition to these areas of specific interest, Dr. Bridgett has extensive experience in the cognitive assessment of children and adolescents for problems such as learning disabilities, ADHD, developmental delay, and autism spectrum difficulties, and has treated children, families, adolescents, and young adults for myriad emotional/behavioral problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, PTSD, and disruptive behavior). His experience also includes collaboration with schools and educators to address the individual needs of children as well as school initiated consultations.