Gail M. Houck, Ph.D., R.N., P.M.H.N.P. Share This OHSU Content

Gail Houck

Professor & Program Director for Post-Master DNP
Academic Graduate & Interdisciplinary Programs
Oregon Health & Science University
School of Nursing Portland Campus
3455 SW US Veterans Road, SN-5S
Portland, Ore. 97239
Phone: 503 494-3825
FAX: 503 494-3878
E-mail: houckg@ohsu.edu

Currently accepting Ph.D. students and international students for research practicum.

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"The roots of many problems in adulthood often can be traced to early childhood experiences. Experience as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner working with women with a history of abuse and other factors that created deviations from normal development contributed to my intense interest in understanding how to help parents learn the optimal ways to foster a developmentally healthy and well-adjusted child. Existing research has focused more on how varying styles of socializing children affect compliance, rather than how they foster self-regulation, social competence, and a positive self-concept. The Mother-Toddler Project began as a 5-year longitudinal observational study of everyday mother-toddler interactions, including play, snack/eating, teaching, and limit-setting. These interactions were coded for overall interactional quality and for the balance between maternal control/directedness and the toddler's emerging autonomy. The developmental outcomes of interest—including self-regulation, social competence, and self-concept—were assessed at 12, 24, and 36 months during toddlerhood when these developments are salient. Subsequent follow-up study observed the same children at 5 years of age in a delay of gratification task.

Other work has included serving as a program evaluator for a day treatment intervention with substance abusing mothers and their infants and toddlers, and for a project to improve mental health assessment and intervention skills of school nurses for prevention and early intervention with students. Beginning October 2009, Dr. Bill Lambert from Public Health & Preventative Medicine and I anticipate funding as part of the National Children’s Study for the Marion County study location. The National Children’s Study will follow a representative sample of 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, seeking information to prevent and treat some of the nation’s most pressing health problems, including autism, birth defects, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The funding is a national collaborative effort that includes the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at NIH, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Marion County location is part of the Pacific Northwest Center (E. Faustman, PI), which includes investigators from the University of Washington and Washington State University for counties in Washington state. We will recruit 1,000 child-bearing women and collect biological, environmental, and psychosocial data during preconception, through the pregnancy and child birth, and throughout childhood. We are excited to be a part of this longitudinal effort to study environmental influences—including physical, chemical, biological, and psychosocial—on children’s health and development.”


PMHNP specialty courses
PhD program

Service Activities

  • International Society for Infant Studies
  • Mental Health program consultation and evaluation, Department of School Health Services, Multnomah
  • Education Service District; member, Grant Committee, Oregon & SW Washington Affiliate, Susan B. Komen Foundation; ANA; Sigma Theta Tau.


Agency: NIH/NIHCD/NCS                 (Houck, PI)                                                                 10/01/09 – 09/01/13
Title: “Pacific Northwest Center for National Children’s Study—Marion County.”

Selected Publications

 Hodges, E., Houck, G.M., & Kindermann, T. (in press). Validity of the nursing child-feeding scale during toddlerhood. Western Journal of Nursing Research.

Hodges, E., Kindermann, T., & Houck, G. (2007). Reliability of the nursing child assessment of feeding scale during toddlerhood. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 30, 109-130.

LeCuyer-Maus, E.A. & Houck, G.M. (2006). Maternal socialization, social competence, and delay of gratification. Infant Mental Health Journal, 27, 344-370.

Houck, G.M., Kodadek, S.M., & Samson, C. (2005). Research in families and family nursing. In S.M. Harmon Hanson, V. Gedaley-Duff, & J. Rowe Kaakinen (Eds.). Family health care nursing: Theory, practice, and research (3rd Ed.) (pp.97–117). NY: Saunders.

Spegman, A.M. & Houck, G.M. (2005). Assessing the feeding/eating interaction as a context for the development of social competence in toddlers. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 28, 213-236.

Houck, G.M. & LeCuyer-Maus, E.A.(2004). Maternal limit setting during toddlerhood and self-regulation at 5 years. Infant Mental Health Journal,25, 28-46.

Hootman, J., Houck, G.M., & King, M.C. (2003). Increased mental health needs and new roles in school communities. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 16, 93-101.

Houck, G.M. & LeCuyer-Maus, E A. (2002). Maternal limit-setting patterns and toddler development of self-concept and social competence . Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 25, 21-41.

LeCuyer-Maus, E.A. & Houck, G.M. (2002). Maternal characteristics and limit-setting style during toddlerhood. Public Health Nursing, 19, 336-344.

LeCuyer-Maus, E.A. & Houck, G.M. (2002). Mother-toddler interaction and the development of self-regulation in a limit-setting context. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 17, 184-200.

Hootman, J., Houck, G.M., & King, M.C. (2002). Mental health assessment and intervention training for school nurses. Journal of School Nursing, 18, 191-195.

Houck, G.M. (1999). The measurement of child characteristics from infancy to toddlerhood: Temperament, developmental competence, self-concept, and social competence. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 22), 101-127.

Houck, G.M. & Spegman, A.M. (1999). Development of self: Theoretical understandings and conceptual underpinnings. Infants and Young Children,12, 1-16.