Maria Boccia, Ph.D.

Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences
High Res Photo

Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences

Child and Family Studies

Gradute Program Director for FSC


  • Ph.D.
  • D.Min.
  • MA, NT


Areas of Interest and Research:

Developmental neuroscience: social and neurohormonal factors in the formation and disruption of attachment relationships



Prior to coming to Baylor, Maria L Boccia conducted biomedical research, studying the neuroscience of attachment and maternal & sexual behavior. In addition, she was the Director of Graduate Programs in Counseling at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, where she taught and directed the training of Masters students in Christian counseling. She has also held faculty appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and Oklahoma Baptist University. She has several advanced degrees, including an MA in New Testament from Denver Seminary, a Ph.D. in Zoology from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a D.Min. in Marriage & Family Therapy from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a licensed marriage & family therapist (MFT) in Texas and North Carolina, a Texas MFT supervisor, American Association of MFT clinical supervisor, and a certified Christian sex therapist.


What teaching at Baylor means to me:

I am fully on board with the mission of Baylor Pro Futuris, contributing to shaping students through transformational education to be thoughtful, engaged members of society who bring a Christian perspective to their fields of endeavor. I am especially interested in teaching critical thinking skills and encouraging my students to seriously think about how their faith integrates with their career goals and life choices.


Selected Publications:

Boccia, M.L. (2017). Adverse childhood experiences play crucial role in adult difficulties. Texas Family & Consumer Sciences Journal. 4(1), 9-20.

Boccia, M.L. (2016). How do early life experiences modulate sexual function, stress and pain? The role of serotonin in sexual function. Current Sexual Health Reports 8: 198-206. Doi 10.1007/s11930-016-0077~y

Boccia, M.L., Petrusz, P, Suzuki, K., Marson, L., Pedersen, C.A.. (2013) Immunostaining of oxytocin receptors in human brain. Neuroscience 253: 155-164.

Pedersen, C.A., Vadlamudi, S., Boccia, M.L. and Moy, S.S. (2011). Variations in maternal behavior in C57BL/6J mice: Behavioral comparisons between adult offspring of high and low pup-licking mothers. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2: 42-50..

Boccia, M.L., Goursaud, A.S. Bachevalier, J., Pedersen, C.A.(2007). Peripherally administered non-peptide oxytocin antagonist, L368,899, reduces interest in infants and sexual behavior in female rhesus monkeys. Hormones & Behavior. 52(3): 344-351.

Boccia, M.L., Razzoli, M. Vadlamudi, S.P., Trumbull, W., Caleffie C.& Pedersen, C.A. (2007). Depression-like behavior in the swim test is increased in rat mothers and their adult offspring by repeated long postnatal separations. Psychoneuroendocrinology 32(1): 65-71.

Pedersen, C.A. & Boccia, M.L. (2006). Vasopressin interactions with oxytocin in the control of female sexual behavior. Neuroscience 139: 843-851.