Nastassia Hajal, PhD

Dr. Nastassia Hajal is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Hajal is a child clinical psychologist whose primary interests are in parenting and young children’s emotional development in the context of family stress and trauma. Dr. Hajal is a licensed clinical psychologist who supervises clinical psychology and child psychiatry trainees in the UCLA Family STAR (Stress, Trauma, and Resilience) Clinic, which focuses on the prevention and treatment of traumatic stress in children aged 0-25 and their families. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the Nathanson Family Resilience Center’s Early Childhood Core.

Dr. Hajal is interested in translational work that bridges basic science on developmental psychopathology, parenting, and emotion with clinical research on the promotion of child and family resilience in the face of stress. She has a particular interest in studying caregiver emotional processes using novel methodology, including intensive and ecologically valid techniques (such as experience sampling methodology) and affective neuroscience (such as EEG). Dr. Hajal’s involvement in translational work spans from the translation of basic science findings to develop and refine family-centered interventions, to integration of well-established approaches for implementation into large systems (e.g., UCLA Health System, Los Angeles Unified School District).

Current projects include an NIH-funded clinical trial of emotion regulation, biomarkers, and response to intervention in parents who have their own histories of childhood interpersonal trauma, as well as studies examining parenting, emotion socialization, and response to intervention in Latinx families.  


Representative publications by topic area:

Parental Emotion:  

Paley, B., & Hajal, N. J. (2022). Conceptualizing Emotion Regulation and Coregulation as Family-Level Phenomena. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review.

Hajal, N.J. & Paley, B. (2020). Parental emotion and emotion regulation: a critical target of study for research and intervention to promote child emotion socialization. Developmental Psychology, 56, 403–417. doi:10.1037/dev0000864

Hajal, N.J., Teti, D.M., Cole, P.M., & Ram, N. (2019). Maternal emotion, motivation, and regulation during real-world parenting challenges. Journal of Family Psychology, 33, 109-120. doi: 10.1037/fam0000475

Hajal, N.J., Cole, P.M., & Teti, D.M. (2017). Maternal responses to infant distress: linkages between specific emotions and neurophysiological processes. Parenting: Science and Practice, 17, 200-224. doi: 10.1080/15295192.2017.1336001

Hajal, N.J., Neiderhiser, J.M., Moore, G.A., Leve, L.D., Shaw, D.S., Ge, X., Scaramella, L.V., Reid, J.B., Ganiban, J.M., & Reiss, D. (2015). Parents’ angry responses to infant challenges: the role of positive family characteristics and gene-environment interplay. Child Development, 86, 80-93. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12345

Emotional Development:

Hajal, N.J., Aralis, H., Kiff, C., Wasserman, M., Paley, B., Milburn, N., Mogil, C., & Lester, P. (2020). Parental Wartime Deployment and Socioemotional Adjustment in Early Childhood: The Critical Role of Military Parent Perceived Threat during Deployment. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 33, 307-317. doi: 10.1002/jts.22475

Cole, P.M., Hall, S.E., & Hajal, N.J. (2017). Emotion dysregulation as a vulnerability for psychopathology. In T. Beauchaine & S. Hinshaw (Eds.), Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 3rd Edition. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley & Sons.

Child and Family Intervention:

Hajal, N.J. & Loo, S. K. (2021). Emerging biomarkers for child & family intervention studies: A review of EEG studies of parenting. Biological Psychology, 166, 108200.

Mogil, C., Hajal, N., Aralis, H., Paley, B., Milburn, N. G., Barrera, W., Kiff, C., Beardslee, W., &

Lester, P. (2021). A Trauma-Informed, Family-Centered, Virtual Home Visiting Program for

Young Children: One-Year Outcomes. Child Psychiatry & Human Development.   

Hajal, N.J., Paley, B., Delja, J. R., Gorospe, C. M., & Mogil, C. (2019). Promoting family school-readiness for child-welfare involved preschoolers and their caregivers: Case examples. Children and Youth Services Review, 96, 181–193.  doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.10.047

Mogil, C., Hajal, N., Garcia, E., Kiff, C., Lester, P. (2015). FOCUS for Early Childhood: A virtual home visiting program for military families with young children. Contemporary Family Therapy, 37, 199–208. doi: 10.1007/s10591-015-9327-9

Population Behavioral Health:

Jeffrey, J. K., Venegas-Murillo, A. L., Krishna, R., & Hajal, N. J. (2021). Rating Scales for Behavioral Health Screening System Within Pediatric Primary Care. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 30(4), 777–795.

Jeffrey J., Do M.T., Hajal N., et al. (2021). Using web-based technology to improve depression screening in primary care settings. BMJ Open Quality, 10. doi: 10.1136/bmjoq-2020-001028  

Jeffrey, J., Marlotte, L., & Hajal, N.J. (2020). Providing tele-behavioral health to youth and families during COVID-19: Lessons from the Field. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(S1), S272–S273. doi: 10.1037/tra0000817


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