Marilyn Demorest received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the Johns Hopkins University in 1969, specializing in psycholinguistics, psychometrics, and quantitative methods. She spent three years as a Research Associate in Audiology at the Eye and Ear Hospital, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where she collaborated with Robert C. Bilger on studies of speech perception in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired adults. She joined the UMBC faculty in 1972. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1977 and to full Professor in 1989. From 1998 to 2009 she served as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. Dr. Demorest was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2011.
Dr. Demorest's research focuses on the perceptual and psychosocial consequences of hearing impairment. She is co-developer (with Sue Ann Erdman) of the Communication Profile for the Hearing Impaired (CPHI), a self-assessment inventory that measures communication effectiveness, communication importance, communication environment, communication strategies, and personal adjustment in hearing-impaired adults. The CPHI is widely used in research and by rehabilitative audiologists in clinical practice, and it has been translated into Swedish,Spanish, Russian, and Portugese. Two new forms of the instrument, CPHI-H and CPHI-W, permit evaluation of an individual's communication and adjustment problems from the perspective of his or her spouse or partner.
The Hearing Research Laboratory at UMBC, was the site of an NIH-funded project, "Psychosocial and Behavioral Adjustment to Hearing Loss." Five clinical research centers from New York to San Francisco joined to form the Consortium for Rehabilitative Audiology, and provided audiometric, demographic, and CPHI data on more than 1,300 hearing-impaired adults. It has been found that psychosocial adjustment to hearing impairment can be predicted to some extent from the severity of the impairment and from some demographic variables, but there are large individual differences in adjustment that are determined by other factors. Data on psychological adjustment and marital satisfaction were obtained from nearly 300 clients and 101 spouses. Contrary to prevailing views, there is no evidence that hearing-impaired adults, as a group, are more psychologically distressed than the general population, nor is their marital satisfaction significantly different. However, measures of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and coping strategies do predict adjustment to hearing impairment for individuals.
Dr. Demorest has taught a variety of courses ranging from Language and Thought, Developmental Psychology, Heredity and Intelligence, and Hearing Impairment in Adults, to courses emphasizing psychometrics and research design and analysis. At the undergraduate level, she taught PSYC 331, Experimental Psychology: Research Design and Analysis I, and PSYC 320, Psychological Assessment. Graduate offerings include PSYC 711, Data Analytic Procedures II (Multivariate Analysis); PSYC 715, Measurement of Behavior; and PSYC 601, Structural Equation Modeling and Loglinear Modeling in Psychology. Dr. Demorest is available to serve on thesis and dissertation committees of students in the Psychology Department's two graduate programs: Applied Developmental Psychology and Human Services Psychology.
Dr. Demorest has been active in professional service at the national level, serving as President of the Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology, Associate Editor of the Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, a member of the Publications Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and a member of the Committee on Psychological Testing and Assessment of the American Psychological Association. She has been Vice President of the University Senate and has served on numerous departmental and university-wide committees. In 1998, she was appointed Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at UMBC. In that position she was responsible for university policies and procedures related to faculty, for proposal and review of academic programs, and for preparation of reports to the University System of Maryland, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, and the Middle States Association. Dr. Demorest serves as Treasurer of the campus chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and as permanent Trustee and Treasurer of the Maryland Phi Kappa Phi Foundation. She is also a Trustee of Trinity Washington University.