Nicole Bush, PhD


Nicole Bush, PhD

Nicki will join the faculty at the UCSF School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, beginning in the fall of 2011

Nicole (Nicki) Bush joined the HSS fellowship after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in children’s physiologic stress reactivity with W. Tom Boyce. She received her Masters of Science (2005) and PhD (2007) in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington, and completed her clinical training internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Nicki received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology, with a minor in Sociology from Gonzaga University in 1998. She has a background in basic research as well as clinical and community intervention with families from high-stress contexts, and she is actively involved in policy-oriented projects.

Her research has examined relations among biobehavioral predispositions (e.g., temperament and physiology) and stressful life circumstances (e.g., poverty, parenting, and neighborhood) in the prediction of a broad range of children's mental health outcomes. As an HSS Fellow, Dr. Bush is expanding her examination of contextual risk effects by infusing her models with a new understanding of biology (physiology, genetics, epigenetics) throughout early development, including the prenatal period. Her work integrates insights from social epidemiology, sociology, clinical psychology, and developmental psychobiology to elucidate the interplay of biology and context in youth development, as physiological systems mature and social environments change.

She hopes her examinations of how social disadvantage interacts with and alters children’s biological stress response systems will clarify the etiology of children’s mental and physical health outcomes and subsequent adult health. To read more about Dr. Bush’s research click here.

Born and raised in Alaska, a dancer, and married to an activist artist, Nicki endeavors to
juggle science, social justice, art, and wilderness adventures in the Bay area.


2009  Postdoctoral Fellowship, Health Psychology University of California San Francisco-Berkeley
2007  PhD, Child Clinical Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle

Dissertation Title: “Temperamental Dispositions as Moderators of Neighborhood Effects on Adolescent Delinquent Behaviors: Two-Part Latent Growth Curve Analyses”

2006-7 Child Clinical Psychology Internship, University of Illinois, Chicago, Institute for Juvenile Research
2005  MS, Child Clinical Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle

1998 BA, Psychology, Minor in Sociology Gonzaga University, Spokane
Summa Cum Laude, Valedictorian



Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar (RWJH&SS)
American Psychological Association (APA) member:
Division 53 member: Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology member
Division 27 member: Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) past member
Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) member
Society for Prevention Research (SPR) member
Alliance for the Safe, Therapeutic and Appropriate use of Residential Treatment (ASTART):
Founding Member and Leadership Team
New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) member


Bush, N., Obradovic, J. Adler, N. & Boyce, W. T. (in press-Special Issue 2011). Kindergarten Stressors and Cumulative Adrenocortical Activation: The First Straws of Allostatic Load? Development and Psychopathology.

Kiff, C., Lengua, L. & Bush, N. (in press) Temperament variation in sensitivity to parenting: Predicting changes in depression and anxiety. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

Kroenke, C., Epel, E., Adler, N., Bush, N., Obradovic, J., Lin, J., Blackburn, E., Stamperdahl, J.  Boyce, W.T. (in press). Autonomic and adrenocortical reactivity and buccal cell telomere length in kindergarten children. Psychosomatic Medicine.

Bush, N., Alkon, A., Obradovic, J., Stamperdahl, J., & Boyce, W.T. (in press). Differentiating Challenge Reactivity from Psychomotor Activity in Studies of Children’s Psychophysiology: Considerations for Theory and Measurement. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Obradovic, J., Bush, N., & Boyce, W.T. (2011). The effect of marital conflict and stress reactivity on externalizing and internalizing symptoms: The role of laboratory stressors. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 101-114.

Bush, N., Lengua, L., & Colder, C. (2010). Tests of Temperament as a Moderator of the Relation Between Neighborhood and Children’s Socioemotional Adjustment. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31, 351-361.

Obradovic, J., Bush, N., Stamperdahl, J., Adler, N., Boyce, W. T. (2010). Biological sensitivity to context: The interactive effects of stress reactivity and family adversity on socioemotional behavior and school readiness. Child Development, 81, 270-289. PMID: 20331667

Lengua, L., Bush, N., Long, A., Kovacs, E., Trancik, A. (2008). Effortful control as a moderator of the relation between contextual risk factors and growth in adjustment problems. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 509-528. PMID: 18423092

Lengua, L., Honorado, E., & Bush, N. (2007). Cumulative risk and parenting as predictors of effortful control and social competence in preschool children. Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 40-55. ERIC: EJ752456

Friedman, R. M, Pinto, A., Behar, L., Bush, N., Chirolla, A., Epstein, M., et al. (2006). Unlicensed residential programs: The next challenge in protecting youth. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76, 295-303. PMID: 16981808

Colder, C, Lengua, L, Fite, P., Mott, J., & Bush, N. (2006). Temperament in context: Infant temperament moderates the relationship between perceived neighborhood quality and behavior problems. Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 456-467. ERIC: EJ746412

PubMed Link
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Center for Health and Community
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