Shayla Holub

Associate Professor - Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Tags: Psychological Sciences

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Psychology
Bowling Green State University - 2005
M.A. - Psychology
Bowling Green State University - 2003
B.S. - Experimental Psychology
Millikin University - 2000

Research Areas

Research Interest

My current research program is contributing to knowledge about childhood obesity. I investigate how parents socialize their children’s eating habits using multiple methods, including behavioral observation, self-report, and experiments. Current projects are being conducted to examine autonomy promoting feeding practices, feeding during infancy, feeding in South Asian families, and factors related to parents’ use of specific feeding practices. In addition, because I am interested in promoting the psychological health of young children, I examine preschoolers’ attitudes about weight and body size. Specifically, I am conducting research to examine preschoolers’ body image and their stereotypes and behaviors toward overweight peers.

Other research interests include:

  • Social and personality development
  • Young children’s self-related cognitions
  • Attitudes and behaviors related to body size, feeding, and nutrition
  • Ecological influences on child development
  • Methodology and measurement in research with young children


Tisak, M. S., Holub, S. C., & Tisak, J. (2007). What nice things do boys and girls do?: Preschoolers' perspective of peers' behaviors at school and at home. Early Education and Development, 18, 183-199. 2007 - Publication
McAuley, D., Reiss-Jones, M., Holub, S. C., Johnston, H., & Miller, N. (2006). The time of our lives: Lifespan development of timing and event tracking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135, 348-367. 2006 - Publication
Musher-Eizenman, D. R., & Holub, S. C. (2006). Children's eating in the absence of hunger: The role of restrictive feeding practices. In R. K. Flamenbaum (Ed.), Childhood obesity and health research (pp. 135- 156). Hauppauge, NY: Nova. 2006 - Publication
Holub, S. C., Musher-Eizenman, D. R., Persson, A. V., Edwards-Leeper, L. A., Goldstein, S. E., & Miller, A. B. (2005). Do preschool children understand what it means to diet and do they do it? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 38, 91-93. 2005 - Publication
Gordon, A. K., Musher-Eizenman, D. R., Holub, S. C., & Dalrymple, J. (2004). What are children thankful for?: An archival analysis of children's gratitude before and after the attacks of September ll. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 25, 541-553. 2004 - Publication
Musher-Eizenman, D. R., Holub, S. C., Miller, A. B., Goldstein, S. E., & Edwards-Leeper, L. (2004). Body size stigmatism in preschool children: The role of control attributions. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 29, 613-620. 2004 - Publication
Musher-Eizenman, D. R., Holub, S. C., & Arnett, M. (2003). Attitude and peer influences on adolescent substance use: The moderating effect of age, sex, and substance. Journal of Drug Education, 33, 1-23. 2003 - Publication
Musher-Eizenman, D. R., Holub, S. C., Edwards-Leeper, L., Persson, A. V., & Goldstein, S. E. (2003). The narrow range of acceptable body types for preschoolers and their mothers. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 24, 259-272. 2003 - Publication


Assistant Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [7–Present]


Maternal sensitivity in the parent-child feeding relationship. Poster presented at the Texas Obesity Research Center conference.
Older adolescent sibling relationship quality: Structural variables, family process variables and normative beliefs
2004–2004 Holub, S. C. & Musher-Eizemnan, D. R., Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence. Baltimore, MD.
What are children thankful for? An archival analysis of gratitude before and after the terrorist attacks
2003–2003 Dalrymple, J., Holub, S., Gordon, A. K., & Musher-Eizemnan, D., Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Los Angeles, CA.
Parenting style influences the relationship between parents feeding practices and child weight
2006–2006 Holub, S. C., Poster presented at the Annual Association for Psychological Science Conference in New York.
Gender differences in children's conceptions of heroes
2003–2003 Mullins, D. N., Holub, S. C., & Tisak, M. S., Poster presented at the Biemuial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development. Tampa, FL.

Additional Information

Honors and Awards
  • 2010 Annual Excellence in Teaching Award from School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS)
  • 2009 Galerstein Women's Center Honoree
  • 2005 New Investigator Award, Cooper Institute Conference
  • 2004 Dissertation Fellowship for the 2004-2005 Academic Year, Bowling Green State University
  • 2004 Shanklin Award Finalist for Excellence in Research, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division, Bowling Green State University
  • 1999 Scovill Award Winner for Scholarship, Leadership and Service, Millikin 
Personal Statement

Dr. Holub is an assistant professor in Psychological Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Experimental Psychology at Millikin University and her doctoral degree in Developmental Psychology at Bowling Green State University. Dr. Holub studies children’s developing attitudes and behaviors and the role that parents play in child development.

Dr. Holub’s current research program explores the negative attitudes preschool-age children hold toward weight. Specifically, she studies young children’s body image and the stigma that children hold toward overweight peers. Her research has uncovered factors, such as self-perceptions and attributions, which make some children more susceptible to negative attitudes about weight.

As part of her research program, Dr. Holub also explores preschool-age children’s eating behaviors. Her current work examines how parents socialize children’s eating habits through their feeding practices, such as using food as a reward or restricting children’s food intake. Her work also examines how the parent-child relationship and parents’ own attitudes about weight provide a context for these practices.

Ad-Hoc Reviewer
  • American Journal of Media Psychology
  • Appetite
  • Early Education and Development
  • European Review of Applied Psychology
  • International Journal of Obesity
  • International Journal of Pediatric Obesity
  • Journal of Health Psychology
  • Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting Conference Submissions (2009 & 2011)

News Articles

Halloween Treats Don't Have to be Scary, Prof Says
Halloween means fun for kids — but also the tricky temptation of treats. “Many parents worry about their children’s eating habits,” said Dr. Shayla Holub, who studies the development of healthy eating behaviors as an assistant professor in School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. More than 30 percent of American children are estimated to be overweight, and the number is rising. Children who are overweight are at risk for many medical problems and may be targets of hurtful teasing. Holub, who is seeking participants for her studies in the Center for Children and Families, recommends that parents discuss food choices with their children, so young people can help make their own decisions after trick-or-treating.
Lecture to Offer Tips on Fighting Childhood Obesity
One in three children in America are considered at risk for becoming overweight, a trend that has worsened since the ’80s and ’90s. The good news, according to Dr. Shayla Holub, developmental psychologist in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, is that parents and educators can reduce the odds. “The current environment can promote obesity in children, but parents can step in to help their children develop healthy eating habits,” said Holub.She points to the need for parent education so that parents can make informed decisions when feeding their children.“Approximately 40 percent of children’s total energy intake comes from discretionary fat and sugar,” she said. “Once a parent understands this intake, he or she can make critical changes.”
Prof to Study Weight and Mental Health in Children
An assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences has received a grant to study the relationship between weight and psychological health in young children. Dr. Shayla Holub’s study will involve 150 children between ages 4 and 6. She is one of 10 applicants to receive research grants totaling about $150,000 from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. “The way we think and feel about our bodies begins forming at a very young age. This study will help identify ways to nurture a positive self-image in very young children, regardless of their size and weight,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the foundation.


Psychosocial outcomes related to childhood obesity during the preschool years.
$14,998 - Hogg Foundation for Mental Health [2009–2010]
The role of parents' restrictive feeding practices and general parenting style in children's eating attitudes and behavior
$27,357 - Timberlawn Psychiatric Research Foundation, INC. [2006–2006]