Faculty Directory

Rachel G. Lucas-Thompson

Rachel Lucas-Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

419 Behavioral Sciences Building
1570 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1570

Phone: 970-491-5718
Fax: 970-491-7975
E-mail: Lucas-thompson.rachel.graham@colostate.edu
View Vita


Family Relationships and Development Lab

Research Interests

I am a developmental psychologist with primary interests in a) mediators and moderators of the association of family relationships with child/adolescent health and self-regulation, and b) studying ways to reduce regulation and health problems in adolescents from high-conflict families. My goal is to conduct process-oriented, methodologically rigorous work that addresses the complexity and multidimensionality of family relationships and regulation. My past work has focused on exposure to interparental conflict as a risk factor for emotional, attentional, and physiological regulation and, as a result, health. In current and future work, I am exploring mindfulness as a buffer of the effects of family stress on adolescent outcomes, and developing mind-body interventions to improve youth regulatory and health outcomes. An important focus of this work is create and testing a supplement to an evidence-based mindfulness intervention for adolescents that uses technology to help teens bridge the skills learned in the group intervention into real life (i.e., an ecological momentary intervention). I am currently recruiting doctoral students to work on this work, funded by the National Institutes of Health.


B.A., 2004, Psychology and Theatre Arts, Beloit College
M.A., 2005, Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine
Ph.D., 2009, Developmental Psychology, University of California, Irvine

Honors and Awards

2008 - Most Promising Future Faculty Award, University of California, Irvine

2008 - American Psychological Foundation and Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology Graduate Research Scholarship

2009 - National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health

2011 - Society for Research in Child Development Dissertation Award

2011 - National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program Contract from the National Institute of Mental Health

2017 – Graduate Mentoring and Advising Award, Graduate Student Council, Colorado State University

Current Research Projects

Decreasing Stress and Anxiety in Adolescents from High-Conflict Homes Using a Mindfulness Intervention, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Developing an Ecological Momentary Mindfulness Intervention for Adolescents, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health & CSU Ventures

Couple Relationships and Health (Collaborator: Kelley Quirk), funded by the Colorado School of Public Health

Mentor Families and E-mentoring: Setting-Level Components to Improve Mentoring Outcomes for At-Risk Youth. William T Grant Foundation Grant, Co-Investigator (in charge of naturalistic assessments of mentor-mentee relationship quality)

Professional Experience

2009-2012: Assistant Professor of Psychology, Macalester College

2012-2018: Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University

2018-present: Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Selected Publications

Lucas-Thompson, R. & Clarke-Stewart, K.A. (2007). Forecasting friendship: The links from marital quality, maternal mood, and attachment security to children’s peer relationships. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 499-514.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G. (2012). Associations of marital conflict with emotional and physiological stress: Evidence for different patterns of dysregulation. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22, 704–721.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G. (2013). Relationship quality with parents, stressful life events, and cortisol production in emerging adulthood. Emerging Adulthood, 1-13.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., & Hostinar, C. (2013). Family income and appraisals of parental conflict as predictors of psychological adjustment and diurnal cortisol in emerging adulthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 27, 784-794.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., & Granger, D.A. (2014). Parent-child relationship quality moderates the link between marital conflict and adolescents’ physiological responses to social evaluative threat. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 538-548. doi: 10.1037/a0037328

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., Lunkenheimer, E.S., & Granger, D.A. (2016). Adolescent conflict appraisals moderate the link between marital conflict and physiological stress reactivity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 27, 173-188. doi: 10.1111/jora.12264

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., George, M., +Sparks, A.Q. (2016). TRUST: An innovative tool for investigating marital conflict in response to a novel stressor. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 625-632.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., +Dumitrache, A.+, Sparks, A.Q. (2017). Appraisals of interparental conflict and change in attention to emotion after exposure to marital conflict. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 2175-2181.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., Lunkenheimer, E.S., & Dumitrache, A.+. (2017). Associations between marital conflict and adolescent conflict appraisals, stress physiology, and mental health. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., & George, M.R. (2017). Are there individual and sibling differences in appraisals of interparental conflict? Journal of Family Psychology, 31, 933-938.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., & George, M.R. (2017). Do marital conflict behaviors in response to a novel stressor uniquely predict adolescent outcomes? Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26, 2505-2518.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., Henry, K.L., +McKernan, C. (2018). Is cortisol production in response to an acute stressor associated with diurnal cortisol production during adolescence? Developmental Psychobiology, 60, 449-457.

McKernan, C., & Lucas-Thompson, R.G. (in press). Autonomic nervous system coordination moderates links of negative, threatening interparental conflict with adolescent externalizing behaviors. Developmental Psychology.

Lucas-Thompson, R.G., +McKernan, C., & Henry, K.L. (in press). Unraveling current and future adolescent depression: The role of stress reactivity across physiological systems. Developmental Psychology.

Thematic Research Areas

  • Risk, Resilience, & Developmental Psychopathology
  • Emotion, Regulation, & Relational Processes