Desiree W. Murray

Desiree W. Murray

Research Scholar, Chapel Hill, NC

Areas Of Expertise


Education & Certification

PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of South Florida

Desiree W. Murray is a research scholar in youth development at Child Trends. She has over two decades of clinical research experience in school mental health and evidence-based programs for children and youth with attention problems, disruptive behavior, and emotion regulation difficulties. She has been the principal investigator on several grants funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and has over 40 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Murray was also supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to prepare a series of reports and practitioner briefs reviewing the self-regulation intervention literature that has been used to inform national programs and practice in youth-serving agencies including those targeting healthy marriage relationship education.

Dr. Murray has extensive experience conducting randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in schools and developing school-based social-emotional interventions. She is currently leading RCTs evaluating a small-group program for early elementary students with self-regulation difficulties, as well as Be CALM, a curriculum delivered by middle school health education teachers to promote self-regulation skills through the integration of mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral strategies. Prior to joining Child Trends in 2019, Dr. Murray was the Associate Director of Research at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for four years. She maintains a Research Associate Professor appointment in the School of Education. Her clinical experience includes her work at the Duke ADHD Program for over a decade and the ongoing training and consultation that she provides as a mentor for the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management Program.

As a clinical psychologist and prevention scientist, Dr. Murray’s primary goal is to promote the well-being of youth, particularly those living in adversity, by creating more supportive home, school, and community environments. A key focus of this work is building the capacity of educators to provide co-regulation to adolescents through caring relationships, a supportive school climate, and positive teacher-student interactions. In addition, she is interested in understanding how student and teacher stress contribute to emotion dysregulation and disciplinary interactions in the classroom, using novel approaches including ecological momentary assessment and biosensor devices.