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Holly Foster

Holly Foster
Chancellor EDGES Fellow
Affiliated Scholar, American Bar Foundation, Chicago, IL
  • (979) 458-2268
  • Academic 304B
Professional Links
Degree From
Ph.D. University of Toronto

Research Interests

  • Crime, Incarceration and Violence Exposure
  • Life Course
  • Social Inequality
  • Health
  • Deviance
  • Quantitative and Mixed Methods

Courses Taught at Texas A&M

  • SOCI 304: Criminology
  • SOCI 304: Criminology (Honors)
  • SOCI 489: Gender and Crime
  • SOCI 627: Crime and the Life Course


Holly Foster is a Professor of Sociology and Chancellor’s EDGES Fellow at Texas A&M University. Her research investigates the myriad influences of maternal and parental incarceration on children’s outcomes, including their social exclusion from major social institutions, e.g. schooling, housing and voting. She also investigates the influences of violence and stress in the life course in a large nationally representative sample of adolescents as they move to and through adulthood, as well as the factors influencing stress and health among incarcerated women. Her research agenda has included co-coordinating an NSF funded White House Conference on parental incarceration involving academics, practitioners and policy-makers. The National Institute of Justice also commissioned her to write a white paper on the conditions of confinement in restricted housing/solitary confinement in American prisons that was later a published volume. Foster has published articles in the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Sociology of Education, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Science & Medicine and Law and Society Review. Along with John Hagan of Northwestern University, she received a best publication award for their Social Forces article on gender, delinquency and depression from the American Sociological Association’s section on Mental Health. Foster has been a co-investigator on five National Science Foundation grants and one National Institute of Health grant through the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Foster received her doctorate from the University of Toronto (Canada) and completed post-doctoral research and training at Carnegie Mellon University and Teachers College, Columbia University.

Representative Publications

  • Foster, Holly and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. 2017. “Intimate Partner Violence, Relationship Patterns and Gender in the Transition to Adulthood.” Journal of Family Issues 38:1998-2025.
  • Foster, Holly and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. 2015.  “Children’s Exposure to War Violence in Four African Countries.” Social Science & Medicine 146: 292-299.
  • Foster, Holly and John Hagan.  2015.  “Punishment Regimes and the Multi-Level Effects of Parental Imprisonment:  Inter-generational, Intersectional, and Inter-Institutional Models of Social Inequality and Systemic Exclusion.” Annual Review of Sociology 41: 135-158.
  • Foster, Holly. 2012.  “The Strains of Maternal Imprisonment:  Importation and Deprivation Stressors for Women and Children.”  Journal of Criminal Justice 40: 221-229.
  • Foster, Holly, John Hagan, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. 2008.  “Growing Up Fast: Stress Exposure and Subjective ‘Weathering’ In Emerging Adulthood.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 49: 162-177.
  • Foster, Holly and John Hagan. 2007.  “Incarceration and Intergenerational Social Exclusion.” Social Problems 54: 399-433.
  • Hagan, John and Holly Foster.  2003.  “S/He’s a Rebel:  Toward a Sequential Stress Theory of Delinquency and Gendered Pathways to Disadvantage in Emerging Adulthood.”  Social Forces 82: 53-86.
  • Hagan, John and Holly Foster.  2001.  “Youth Violence and the End of Adolescence.” American Sociological Review 66:874-899.