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Emerging Scholar Spotlight: Rachel Miller-Slough

Alumna Rachel Miller-Slough photo 4 Dec 19

Rachel Miller-Slough, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at East Tennessee State University. She received her bachelor's degree at the College of William & Mary, under the research mentorship of Dr. Janice Zeman. Through this experience, she developed an interest in children’s emotional development, and how the parent-child relationship influences children’s psychological adjustment. Rachel went on to complete her PhD in Psychology at Virginia Tech, under the advisement of Dr. Julie Dunsmore, specializing in clinical child psychology. As a doctoral student, she conducted research on how adolescents communicate with their parents and friends about emotions, and how this corresponds to their psychosocial adjustment (e.g., emotion regulation, psychopathology). She completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University Medical Center, in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. During this time, she provided clinical interventions to children and families with anxiety, depression, and ADHD. She also conducted comprehensive neuropsychological assessments for children with complex medical conditions, as part of their ongoing medical care.

As a clinical child psychologist, her research addresses transdiagnostic processes that influence youth emotional, social, and psychological adjustment, using a developmental psychopathology framework. Rachel is particularly interested in how parents and friends socialize youth emotion regulation abilities and how this translates to risk for psychopathology. She evaluates how these processes differ by youth gender, sociocultural context, and developmental status (early childhood to adolescence). Her current research projects focus on how adolescents interact with their friends when discussing emotional experiences, and how this relates to their socio-emotional competence and mental health. She is also exploring the role of positive emotions in adolescent adjustment, and factors that promote resiliency in adolescence. These projects employ a range of methodologies, such as observational coding, linguistic analysis, heart rate variability, and questionnaires. Lastly, Rachel is committed to translating this research to clinical practice, such as addressing how parent-child communication about emotions may reduce internalizing and externalizing symptoms in youth, as well as improve parent-child relationships.