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Rachel Foster

Doctoral Student
B.A. in Biological Sciences with minor in Psychology, Mount Holyoke College, 2013

Interests: Family/parenting, social/emotional development, developmental psychopathology, resilience, prevention/intervention

Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science Track


My primary area of interest centers around the interactions between risk and parenting in high-risk families. I work with Dr. Ann Masten within Project Competence Research on Risk and Resilience on projects that examine the associations between adversity and various components of parenting (including parenting quality, emotion socialization, and reflective functioning), as well as the role of parenting in fostering emotional competence among school-age children in families experiencing homelessness. Additionally, I am interested in child and family prevention and intervention program development. To this end, I also work with Dr. Gerald August at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Personalized Prevention Research on a project related to improving adolescent substance use intervention outcomes. Ultimately, I wish to inform programs and policies that promote parenting skills and child developmental success within highly disadvantaged families.

Before coming to ICD, I performed research in the area of behavioral genetics and cultivated an appreciation for biological influences on behavior and psychopathology. In my work as a researcher and as a clinician, I strive to understand normal and atypical development from a multilevel perspective, considering the interactions between biological and environmental risk and protective factors involved in development.

Selected Publications

  1. Masten, A. S., & Foster, R. (2017, Spring). Risk and Resilience in Children of Families Experiencing Homelessness: Implications for Policy and Practice. CW360°: The Impact of Housing and Homelessness on Child Well-Being. pp. 16-17.

    Behlke, L. M., Foster, R. A., Liu, J., Benke, D., Benham, R. S., Nathanson, A. J., . . . Rudolph, U. (2016). A Pharmacogenetic ‘Restriction-of-Function’ Approach Reveals Evidence for Anxiolytic-Like Actions Mediated by α5-Containing GABAA Receptors in Mice. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(10), 2492-2501.

    Engin, E., Smith, K. S., Gao, Y., Nagy, D., Foster, R. A., Tsvetkov, E., . . . Rudolph, U. (2016). Modulation of anxiety and fear via distinct intrahippocampal circuits. ELife, 5.

    Gallego, X., Cox, R. J., Funk, E., Foster, R. A., & Ehringer, M. (2014). Voluntary exercise decreases ethanol preference and consumption in C57BL/6 adolescent mice: Sex differences and hippocampal BDNF expression. Physiology & Behavior, 138, 28-36.

Selected Presentations

  1. Foster, R. A., Labella, M. H., & Masten, A. S. (2017, April). Positive and Negative Emotion Socialization in Homeless Families: Psychometrics of the Parental Emotional Styles Questionnaire. Poster presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, Austin, TX.