Nicole (Nicki) Bush, PhD

Nicki Bush, PhDPhD, University of Washington, Seattle
Associate Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics
Associate Director of Research, Division of Developmental Medicine
Phone: (415) 476-7655
Fax: (415) 476-7744
E-mail: [email protected]

UCSF Profiles

Postgraduate Training:

Robert Wood Johnson Health and Science Scholar, University of California, San Francisco (School of Medicine) and Berkeley (Public Health);  Postdoctoral Fellowship, Developmental Psychobiology and Health Psychology, University of California, San Francisco (School of Medicine) and Berkeley (Public Health).

Biography Summary:

Nicole (Nicki) Bush joined the faculty after completing a postdoctoral fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the UCSF/UCB site. Prior to that, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in children’s physiologic stress reactivity at UC Berkeley. She received her PhD in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and completed her child clinical training internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago. 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. In recent years, Dr. Bush has expanded 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. Her examinations of how social disadvantage interacts with and alters children’s biological stress response systems aim to clarify the etiology of children’s mental and physical health outcomes and subsequent adult health.

Clinical Expertise:

Disruptive behaviors in early childhood; adolescent mood and anxiety; adolescent delinquency; family therapy; dialectical behavioral therapy; individual adult therapy; community intervention in high-risk neighborhoods and schools.

Research Areas:

Dr. Bush’s research focuses on the manner in which early social contexts interface with individual differences to affect developmental trajectories across the life course. She examines how socioeconomic, parental, and environmental risks for maladaptive behavior and developmental psychopathology are modulated by individual differences in children’s temperamental, neurobiological, and genetic reactivity to stress. She also investigates the ways in which contextual experiences of adversity become biologically embedded by changing children’s developing physiologic systems and epigenetic processes, thereby shaping individual differences that mediate and moderate the effects of context on trajectories of development and mental health.

Selected Publications:

  1. Bush, N., Jones-Mason, K., Coccia, M., Caron, Z., Thomas, M., Wadhwa, P., Laraia, B., Adler, N., & Epel, E. Prenatal programming of infant ANS, HPA axis, and temperamental reactivity by multiple levels of maternal stress. Development and Psychopathology. 2017 (in press).
  2. Roubinov, D., Boyce, W.T., Adler, N., & Bush, N. Child temperament, classroom climate, and changes in cortisol over the kindergarten year. 2017 (in press).
  3. Bush, N. R., Lane, R., McLaughlin, K. Psychosomatic Medicine. Mechanisms underlying the association between early-life adversity and physical health: Charting a course for the future. 2016; 9(78):1114-1119. View Publication
  4. Bush, N., Allison*, A., Miller, A., Deardorff, J., Adler, N., Boyce, W.T. Socioeconomic Disparities in Childhood Obesity Risk: Assocation With an Oxytocin Receptor Polymorphism. JAMA Pediatrics. 2016; 1(171):61-67. View Publication
  5. Melissa J. Hagan PhD, MPH, Nicole Bush PhD, Wendy Berry Mendes PhD, Justine Arenander BA, Elissa Epel PhD & Eli Puterman PhD. Associations between childhood adversity and daily suppression and avoidance in response to stress in adulthood: Can neurobiological sensitivity help explain this relationship?. 2016. View Publication
  6. McLaughlin, K., Lane, R., Bush, N.R. Psychosomatic Medicine. Mechanisms Linking Early-Life Adversity with Physical Health. 2016; 78(9):976-978. View Publication
  7. Jennifer N. Felder, Barbara Laraia, Kimberly Coleman-Phox, Nicole Bush, Madhuvanthi Suresh, Melanie Thomas, Nancy Adler, Elissa Epel, Aric Prather. Poor Sleep Quality, Psychological Distress, and the Buffering Effect of Mindfulness Training During Pregnancy. Behavioral Sleep Medicine. 2016; (in press).
  8. Arons, A., Bolbocean, C., Bush, N. R., Tylavsky, F., LeWinn, K. Z. Participation in the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children is not associated with early childhood socioemotional development: Results from a longitudinal cohort study. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2016; (in press). View Publication
  9. Anna K Knight; Jeffrey M Craig; Christiane Theda; Marie Bækvad-Hansen; Jonas Bybjerg-Grauholm; Christine S Hansen; Mads V Hollegaard; David M Hougaard; Preben B Mortensen; Shantel M Weinsheimer; Thomas M Werge; Patricia A Brennan; Joseph F Cubells; D Jeffrey Newport; Zachary N Stowe; Jeanie LY Cheong; Philippa Dalach; Lex W Doyle; Yuk J Loke; Andrea A Baccarelli; Allan C Just; Robert O Wright; Mara M Téllez-Rojo; Katherine Svensson; Letizia Trevisi; Elizabeth M Kennedy; Elisabeth B Binder; Stella Iurato; Darina Czamara; Katri Räikkönen; Jari MT Lahti; Anu-Katriina Pesonen; Eero Kajantie; Pia M Villa; Hannele Laivuori; Esa Hämäläinen; Hea Jin Park; Lynn B Bailey; Sasha E Parets; Varun Kilaru; Ramkumar Menon; Steve Horvath; Nicole R Bush; Kaja Z LeWinn; Frances A Tylavsky; Karen N Conneely; Alicia K Smith. An epigenetic clock for gestational age at birth based on blood methylation data. Genome Biology. 2016; (in press).
  10. Sathyanarayana, S., Grady, R., Barrett, E. S., Redmon, B., Nguyen, R. H. N., Barthold, J. S., Bush, N. R., Swan, S. H. First trimester phthalate exposure and male newborn genital anomalies. Environmental Research. 2016; (in press).
  11. Leung, C., Laraia, B., Coleman-Phox, K., Bush, N., Lin, J., Blackburn, E. H., Adler, N., & Epel, E. Sugary beverage and food consumption and leukocyte telomere length maintenance in pregnant women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016. View Publication
  12. Hagan, M.*, Roubinov, D.*, Adler, N., Boyce, W.T., & Bush, N. Socioeconomic adversity and negativity in the parent child-relationship: The complex costs for young children’s physical health and examinations of biological mechanisms. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2016; (in press).
  13. Jones-Mason*, K., Allen, I. E., Bush, N., & Hamilton, S. Epigenetic marks as the link between environment and development: Examination of the associations between attachment, socioeconomic status, and methylation of the SLC6A4 gene. Brain and Behavior. 2016; 7(6):e00480. View Publication
  14. Golemiec, M., Schneider, J., Boyce, W.T., Bush, N., Adler, N. Levine, J. Layered social network analysis reveals complex relationships in kindergarteners. Frontiers in Psychology. 2016; (7):276. View Publication
  15. Mulkey*, J., Adler, N., Epel, E., Laraia, B. & Bush, N. A prospective investigation of prenatal stress and childbirth perceptions in an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample. Birth. 2016; 2(43):159-166. View Publication
  16. Bush, N., Caron, Z., Blackburn, K., & Alkon, A. Measuring cardiac autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity in toddlers — Resting and developmental challenges. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2016; (108):e53652. View Publication
  17. Bush, N., & Boyce, W. T. Developmental psychopathology (D. Cicchetti, Eds.). Differential sensitivity to context: Implications for developmental psychopathology. 2016; 2:107-137. View Publication
  18. Quas JA, Yim IS, Oberlander TF, Nordstokke D, Essex MJ, Armstrong JM, Bush N, Obradovic J, Boyce WT. The symphonic structure of childhood stress reactivity: patterns of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and adrenocortical responses to psychological challenge. Dev Psychopathol. 2014 Nov; 26(4 Pt 1):963-82. PMID: 24909883; PMCID: PMC4557735. View in: PubMed, PubMed Central
  19. Bush, N., & Boyce, W. T. Handbook of developmental psychopathology (M. Lewis & K. Rudolph. Eds.). The contributions of early experience to biological development and sensitivity to context. 2014; 287-309.View Publication
  20. Rawdin, B., Lindqvist, D., Bush, N., Hamilton, S., Boparai, R., Makin, S., Reus, V., Mellon, S, & Wolkowitz, O. Treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders (R. Hagerman & R. Hendren Eds.). Neurodevelopmental and Neurobiological Aspects of Major Depression. 2014; 73-104.
  21. Boyce WT, Obradovic J, Bush NR, Stamperdahl J, Kim YS, Adler N. Social stratification, classroom climate, and the behavioral adaptation of kindergarten children. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 16; 109 Suppl 2:17168-73. PMID: 23045637; PMCID: PMC3477374. View in: PubMed, PubMed Central
  22. Adler N, Bush NR, Pantell MS. Rigor, vigor, and the study of health disparities. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 16; 109 Suppl 2:17154-9. PMID: 23045672; PMCID: PMC3477386. View in: PubMed, PubMed Central
  23. Zalewski, M., Lengua, L., Fisher, P., Bush, N., Trancik, A., & Meltzoff, A. Poverty and single parenting: Relations with preschoolers' cortisol and effortful control. Infant and child development. 2012; (21):537-554.
  24. Kiff CJ, Lengua LJ, Bush NR. Temperament variation in sensitivity to parenting: predicting changes in depression and anxiety. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2011 Nov; 39(8):1199-212. PMID: 21800017; PMCID: PMC3199341.View in: PubMed, PubMed Central
  25. Bush NR, Obradovic J, Adler N, Boyce WT. Kindergarten stressors and cumulative adrenocortical activation: the "first straws" of allostatic load? Dev Psychopathol. 2011 Nov; 23(4):1089-106. PMID: 22018083. View in: PubMed
  26. Kroenke CH, Epel E, Adler N, Bush NR, Obradovic J, Lin J, Blackburn E, Stamperdahl JL, Boyce WT. Autonomic and adrenocortical reactivity and buccal cell telomere length in kindergarten children. Psychosom Med. 2011 Sep; 73(7):533-40. PMID: 21873585; PMCID: PMC3212037. View in: PubMed, PubMed Central
  27. Bush NR, Alkon A, Obradovic J, Stamperdahl J, Boyce WT. Differentiating challenge reactivity from psychomotor activity in studies of children's psychophysiology: considerations for theory and measurement. J Exp Child Psychol. 2011 Sep; 110(1):62-79. PMID: 21524757; PMCID: PMC4160114. View in: PubMed, PubMed Central
  28. Obradovic J, Bush NR, Boyce WT. The interactive effect of marital conflict and stress reactivity on externalizing and internalizing symptoms: the role of laboratory stressors. Dev Psychopathol. 2011 Feb; 23(1):101-14. PMID: 21262042. View in: PubMed
  29. Bush NR, Lengua LJ, Colder CR. Temperament as a moderator of the relation between neighborhood and children's adjustment. J Appl Dev Psychol. 2010 Sep; 31(5):351-361. PMID: 20948973. View in: PubMed
  30. Obradovic J, Bush NR, Stamperdahl J, Adler NE, Boyce WT. Biological sensitivity to context: the interactive effects of stress reactivity and family adversity on socioemotional behavior and school readiness. Child Dev. 2010 Jan-Feb; 81(1):270-89. PMID: 20331667; PMCID: PMC2846098. View in: PubMed, PubMed Central
  31. Lengua LJ, Bush NR, Long AC, Kovacs EA, Trancik AM. Effortful control as a moderator of the relation between contextual risk factors and growth in adjustment problems. Dev Psychopathol. 2008; 20(2):509-28. PMID: 18423092; PMCID: PMC4096710. View in: PubMed, PubMed Central
  32. Lengua LJ, Honorado E, Bush N. Contextual risk and parenting as predictors of effortful control and social competence in preschool children. J Appl Dev Psychol. 2007 Jan; 28(1):40-55. PMID: 21687825. View in: PubMed
  33. Friedman RM, Pinto A, Behar L, Bush N, Chirolla A, Epstein M, Green A, Hawkins P, Huff B, Huffine C, Mohr W, Seltzer T, Vaughn C, Whitehead K, Young CK. Unlicensed residential programs: the next challenge in protecting youth. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2006 Jul; 76(3):295-303. PMID: 16981808. View in: PubMed
  34. Colder, C, Lengua, L, Fite, P., Mott, J., & Bush, N. Temperament in context: Infant temperament moderates the relationship between perceived neighborhood quality and behavior problems. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 2006; (27):456-467.