Laura Stroud Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research), Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research)

My research focuses on neuroendocrine and neurobehavioral stress response (dys)regulation over development and as a mechanism underlying the intergenerational transmission of affective and addictive disorders. My work focuses on risk for two key disorders: a) depression and b) smoking/nicotine dependence and two critical periods of development: a) transition from middle childhood to adolescence, and b) transition from the fetal to the neonatal periods. Within adolescence, I am investigating dysregulation of the stress response as a mechanism underlying the emergence of gender differences in depression over adolescence. In particular, I have a strong interest in biological sensitivity to social rejection as a vulnerability marker for depression. Within the fetal/neonatal period, I am examining effects of maternal smoking and depression during pregnancy on fetal and infant neurobehavior and stress response. I have also begun to investigate biological pathways linking maternal smoking/depression with offspring neurobehavior, with a focus on placental neuroendocrine regulation.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Stinson, L., Stroud, L.R., Buka, S.L., Eaton, C.B., Lu, B., Niaura, R., Loucks, E.B. (In Press). Prospective associations of prenatal cortisol with adult coronary heart disease risk: The New England Family Study. Psychosomatic Medicine.

Massey, S.H., Bublitz, M.H., Magee, S.R., Salisbury, A.L., Niaura, R., Wakschlag, L., Stroud, L.R. (In Press). Maternal fetal attachment differentiates patterns of prenatal smoking and exposure. Addictive Behaviors.

Stroud, L.R., Papandonatos, G.D., Rodriguez, D., McCallum, M., Salisbury, A.L., Niaura, R., Huestis, M.A., Lester, B., Padbury, J., & Marsit, C. (2014). Maternal smoking during pregnancy and infant stress response: Test of a prenatal programming hypothesis. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 48, 29-40.

Stroud, L.R., Papandonatos, G.D., Shenassa, E., Rodriguez, D., Niaura, R., LeWinn, K., Lipsitt, L., Buka, S. (2014). Prenatal glucocorticoids and maternal smoking during pregnancy independently program adult nicotine dependence in daughters: A 40-year prospective study. Biological Psychiatry, 75, 47-55.

Silk, J.S., Nelson, E., Dahl, R.E., Stroud, L.R., Lee, K.H., Seigle, G.J. (2014). Increased neural response to peer rejection associated with adolescent depression and pubertal development. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Bublitz, M.H., Parade, S., Stroud, L.R. (2014). Family functioning moderates the influence of maternal history of child sexual abuse on cortisol awakening response during pregnancy. Biological Psychology.

Aubuchon-Endsley, N., Bublitz, M.H., Stroud, L.R.  (2014). Pre-pregnancy obesity alters maternal circadian cortisol regulation: Moderation by gestational weight gain. Biological Psychology

Bublitz, M. H., Rodriguez, D., Gobin, A.P., Waldemore, M., Magee, S., Stroud, L.R. Maternal history of adoption or foster care placement in childhood: A risk factor for preterm birth. (2014). American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Tan, P.Z., Lee, K.H., Dahl, R.D., Nelson, E.E., Stroud, L.R., Siegle, G.J., Morgan, J.K., Silk, J.S. (2014). Associations between maternal negative affect and adolescent’s neural response to peer evaluation. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 8, 28-39.

Magee, S.R., Bublitz, M.H., Orazine, C., Brush, B., Salisbury, A., Niaura, R., Stroud, L.R. (2014). The relationship between maternal-fetal attachment and cigarette smoking over pregnancy.  Maternal Child Health Journal18, 1017-22.

Bublitz, M.H., & Stroud, L.R.  (2013). Maternal history of child abuse moderates the association between daily mood and diurnal cortisol in pregnancy: A Pilot Study. Stress, 16, 706-710. 

Himes, S. K., Stroud, L. R., Scheidweiler, K.B., Niaura, R.S., & Huestis, M. (2013). Prenatal Tobacco Exposure, Tobacco Biomarkers in Meconium and Neonatal Growth Outcomes. Journal of Pediatrics, 162, 970-975.

Bublitz, M.H., & Stroud, L.R. (2012). Maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring brain development. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 14, 388-97.

Silk, J., Stroud, L., Siegle, G., Dahl, R.E., Lee, K.H., Nelson, E. (2012). Peer Acceptance and Rejection through the Eyes of Youth: Pupillary, Eyetracking, and Ecological Data from the Chatroom-Interact Task. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 7, 93-105.

Bubitz, M.H., & Stroud, L.R. (2012). Childhood sexual abuse is associated with cortisol awakening response over pregnancy: Preliminary findings. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37, 1425-1430.

Salisbury, A.L., Wisner, K.L., Pearlstein, T., Battle, C.L., Stroud, L., & Lester, B.M. (2011). Newborn neurobehavioral patterns are differentially related to prenatal exposure to maternal major depressive disorder or serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Depression and Anxiety.

Allwood, M.A., Handwerger, K., Kivlighan, K.T., Granger, D.A., & Stroud, L.R. (2011). Direct and moderating links of salivary alpha-amylase and cortisol stress-reactivity to youth behavioral and emotional adjustment. Biological Psychology, 88, 57-64.

Stroud, L. R., Papandonatos, G. D., Williamson, D. E., & Dahl, R. E. (2011). The influence of gender and pubertal development on response to CRH challenge: The Pittsburgh Psychobiologic Studies. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36, 1226-38.

Silk, J., Stroud, L., Dahl, R.E., Siegle, G., Lee, K.H., Nelson, E. (2011). Peer Acceptance and Rejection through the Eyes of Youth: Pupillary, Eyetracking, and Ecological Data from the Chatroom-Interact Task. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

LeWinn, K. Z., Stroud, L. R., Molnar, B. E., Ware, J. H., Koenen, K. C., & Buka, S. L. (2009). Elevated maternal cortisol levels during pregnancy are associated with reduced childhood IQ. International Journal of Epidemiology, 38, 1700-1710.

Magid, V., Colder, C., Stroud, L. R., Nichter, M., Nichter, M. (2009). Negative affect, stress, & smoking in college students: Unique associations independent of alcohol and marijuana use. Addictive Behaviors, 34, 973-5.

Stroud, L. R., Paster, R. L., Goodwin, M. S., Shenassa, E., Buka, S., Niaura, R., Rosenblith, J. F., & Lipsitt, L. P. (2009). Maternal smoking during pregnancy and neonatal behavior: A large-scale community study. Pediatrics, 123, e842-e848.

Stroud, L. R., Paster, R. L., Papandonatos, G., Niaura, R., Salisbury, A. L., Battle, C., Lagasse, L., & Lester, B. (2009). Maternal smoking during pregnancy and newborn neurobehavior: Effects at 10-27 days. Journal of Pediatrics, 154, 10-16.

Stroud, L. R., Foster, E., Papandonatos, G. D., Handwerger, K., Granger, D., Kivlighan, K., Niaura, R. (2009). Stress response and the adolescent transition: Performance versus peer rejection stress. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 47-68.

Gilman, S. E., Rende, R., Boergers, J., Abrams, D. B., Buka, S. L., Clark, M. A., Colby, S. M., Hitsman, B., Kazura, A. N., Lipsitt, L. P., Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., Rogers, M., Stanton, C. A., Stroud, L. R., & Niaura, R. S. (2009). Parental smoking and adolescent smoking initiation: An intergenerational perspective on tobacco control. Pediatrics, 123, e274-e281.

Battle, C. L. Zlotnick, C., Pearlstein, T., Miller, I.W., Howard, M., Salisbury, A. L. & Stroud, L. (2008). Depression and breastfeeding: Which postpartum patients take antidepressant medications? Depression and Anxiety, 25, 888-891.

Stroud, L. R., Solomon, C., Shenassa, E., Papandonatos, G. D., Niaura, R., Lipsitt, L. P., LeWinn, K., & Buka, S. (2007). Long-term stability of maternal prenatal steroid hormones from the National Collaborative Perinatal Project: Still valid after all these years. Psycho-neuroendocrinology, 32, 140-150.

Forcier, K., Stroud, L., Papandonatos, G. D., Hitsman, B., Krishnamoorthy, J., Reiches, M., & Niaura, R. (2006). The effects of physical fitness on physiological reactivity to and recovery from acute psychological stressors: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 25, 723-739.

Cohen, R., Paul, R., Stroud, L., Gunstad, J., Hitsman, B., McCaffery, J., Sweet, L., Niaura, R., MacFarlane, A., Bryant, R., & Gordon, E. (2006). Early life stress and adult emotional experience: An international perspective. International Journal of Psychiatry and Medicine, 36, 35 – 52.

Rende, R., Slomkowski, C., Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., Stroud, L., & Niaura, R. (2006). Estimating genetic and environmental influences on depressive symptoms in adolescence: Differing effects on high and low scores. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 237-43.

Koenen, K., Hitsman, B., Lyons, M., Stroud, L., Niaura, R., McCaffery, J., Goldberg, J., Eisen, S. A., True, W., & Tsuang, M. (2006). Post-Traumatic stress disorder and smoking in male veterans: A twin study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 186-90.

Granger, D. A., Kivlighan, K. T., Blair. C., El-Sheikh, M., Mize, J., Lisonbee, J. A., Buckhalt, J. A., Stroud, L. R., Handwerger, K., & Schwartz, E. B. (2006). Integrating the measurement of salivary alpha amylase into studies of child health, development, and social relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23, 267-290.

Stroud, L. R., Glaser, J., & Salovey, P. (2006). The effects of partisanship and candidate emotionality on voter preference. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 25, 25-44.

Cohen, R., Grieve, S., Hoth, K., Paul, R. H., Sweet, L., Tate, D., Gunstad, J., Stroud, L., McCaffery, J., Hitsman, B., Niaura, R., Clark, R., MacFarlane, A., Bryant, R., & Gordon, E. (2006). Early life stress and morphometry of the adult anterior cingulate cortex and caudate nuclei. Biological Psychiatry, 59, 975-82.

Capaldi, V., Handwerger, K., Richardson, E., & Stroud, L. R. (2005). Associations between sleep and cortisol responses to stress in children and adolescents: A pilot study. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 3, 177-192.

Clark, C. R., Bryant, R. A., Williams, L. M., Niaura, R, Paul, R. H., Hitsman, B. L., Stroud, L., Alexander, D. M., & Gordon, E. (2005). The impact of early life stress on psychophysiological, personality and behavioral measures in 740 non-clinical subjects. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 4, 27-40.

Shen, B. J., Stroud, L. R., & Niaura, R. (2004). Ethnic differences in cardiovascular responses to laboratory stress: A comparison between Asian and Caucasian Americans. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 11,181-186.

Law, K. L., Stroud, L. R., Lagasse, L. L. , Niaura, R., Liu, J., & Lester, B. M. (2003). Smoking during pregnancy and newborn neurobehavior. Pediatrics, 111, 1318-1323.

Kassel, J., Stroud, L. R., & Paronis, C. (2003). Smoking, stress, and negative affect: Association and mechanisms across stages of smoking. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 270-304. Commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Niaura, R. S., Stroud, L. R., Todaro, J., Ward, K. D., Spiro, A., Aldwin, C., Landsberg, L., & Weiss, S. T. (2003). Associations between repression, maladjustment, body weight, and body shape in older males: The Normative Aging Study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 10, 221-238.

Niaura, R. S., Todaro, J., Stroud, L. R., Ward, K. D., Spiro, A., Aldwin, C., Landsberg, L., & Weiss, S. T. (2002). Hostility, the metabolic syndrome, and incident coronary heart disease. Health Psychology, 21, 531-541.

Stroud, L. R., Salovey, P., & Epel., E. S. (2002). Sex differences in stress responses: Social rejection versus achievement stress. Biological Psychiatry, 52, 318-327.

Salovey, P., Stroud, L. R., Woolery, A., & Epel, E. (2002). Perceived emotional intelligence, stress reactivity and symptom reports: Further explorations using the Trait Meta-Mood Scale. Psychology and Health, 17, 611-627.

Stroud, L. R., Niaura, R. S., & Stoney, C. M. (2001). Sex differences in cardiovascular reactivity to physical appearance and performance challenges. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 8, 240-250.

Stroud, L. R., Tanofsky-Kraff, M., Wilfley, D. E., & Salovey, P. (2000). The Yale Interpersonal Stressor (YIPS): Affective, physiological, and behavioral responses to a novel interpersonal rejection paradigm. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 22, 204-213.

research overview

Laura Stroud, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital. Her broad research interests include physiological responses to stress, biobehavioral mechanisms in nicotine dependence and sex differences in depression. Stroud currently has two lines of research: the first focuses on the effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy on physiological (adrenocortical) responses to stress in adolescents and infants; the second focuses on sex differences in physiological responses to stress and depression over puberty.

research statement

My broad research interests focus on neuroendocrine and neurobehavioral responses to stress over development and in relation to maternal psychopathology (particularly depression and smoking). My research currently focuses on two primary periods of development: adolescence and infancy. In adolescence, I am interested in normative shifts in the stress response over puberty and the stress response as a mechanism underlying the emergence of sex differences in depression. I also conduct studies examining the influence of maternal smoking on stress repsonses in adolescents. In infancy, I am interested in the influence of maternal smoking and depression during pregnancy on infant neurobehavior and stress response. I currently supervise numerous undergraduate theses and independent projects and have previously co-taught "Stress and Disease" at Brown.

funded research

1. Principal Investigator NIDA R01 Grant
2013-2018 R01 DA036999 $2,885,481
Fetal Behavior, Brain, & Stress Response: Ultrasound Markers of Maternal Smoking.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH.

2. Principal Investigator NIMH R01 Grant
2011-2017 R01 MH092450 $2,832,209
HPA and Neural Response to Peer Rejection: Biomarkers
of Adolescent Depression Risk.
National Institute on Mental Health, NIH.

3. Principal Investigator NIDA R01 Grant
2011-2016 R01 DA031188 $2,987,301
Maternal smoking: HPA and epigenetic pathways to infant
neurobehavioral deficits.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH.

4. Principal Investigator NIDA R03 Grant

2013-2014 R01 DA035896

Imaging the developing fetal brain: Novel markers of risk for maternal smoking

National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH

5. Principal Investigator NIMH R01 Grant
2007-2014 1 R01 MH079153 $3,420,656
Maternal Depression, Placental HPA Regulation, & Fetal-Neonatal Stress Response.
National Institute of Mental Health

6. Co-Investigator NIMH R01 Grant (Salisbury, PI)
2013-2018 R01 MH078033 $307,099 (Sub)
Fetal and Neonatal Response to Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure: Child Outcomes
National Institute on Mental Health

1. Principal Investigator NIDA R01 Grant
2005-2012 R01 DA 019558 $2,250,000
Prenatal Smoking, Fetal Behavior, and Infant Withdrawal
National Institute of Drug Abuse

2. Principal Investigator NIDA R01
Administrative Supplement 2006-2012 R01 DA019556
Prenatal Smoking, Fetal Behavior, and Infant Withdrawal
National Institute of Drug Abuse

3. Principal Investigator
National Science Foundation Research Project
2007-2012 $325,966
Stress Response & the Adolescent Transition
National Science Foundation

4. Principal Investigator Clinical Innovator Award
2007-2012 $324,140
Maternal Smoking: Fetuses in Withdrawal?
Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI)

5. Co-Investigator NIDA R21 (J. Silk & R. Dahl, PI's)
2007-2011 $37,900 (Sub)
Emotion Regulation in Adolescence: A Social Affective Neuroscience Approach
National Institute of Drug Abuse

6. Co-Principal Investigator NSF Research Project (A. Aizer, PI)
2008-2011 (Sub $30,000)
Prenatal conditions and postnatal environments: Impact on future socio-economic status.
National Science Foundation

7. Principal Investigator K-23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award.
2002-2007 $561,732 K23 MH65443
HPA Reactivity, Puberty, & Sex Differences in Depression.
National Institute of Mental Health.

8. Principal Investigator NICHD R01 Grant
2003-2007 $467,810 1 R01 HD043844
Prenatal Neuroendocrine Mediators of Risk for Young Adult Smoking
National Institute of Child Health and Development

9. Collaborator, National Science Foundation Research Project (Seifer)
2003-2007 $399,605
Emotion Processing and Social Competence in Head Start Children.
National Science Foundation

10. Principal Investigator
Center of Excellence in Women's Health Seed Funding
2005-2007 $20,000
Sex differences in neural circuits of social rejection stress:
Mechanism underlying sex differences in depression?
Center of Excellence in Women's Health, Brown Medical School

11. Principal Investigator NIDA R01 Diversity Supplement
2006-2007 $14,861 3 R01 DA019558-02S1
Prenatal Smoking, Fetal Behavior, and Infant Withdrawal
National Institute of Drug Abuse

12. Principal Investigator NARSAD Junior Investigator Award
2002-2005 $60,000
Maternal Depression During Pregnancy and Adrenocortical Stress Reactivity in Infants
National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression(NARSAD).

13. Principal Investigator NARSAD Junior Investigator Award
2000-2004 $60,000
Adrenocortical Stress Reactivity and the Emergence of Gender Differences in Depression.
National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

14. Principal Investigator Pilot Project: Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC)
1999-2004 $100,000
HPA Reactivity and Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy
National Cancer Institute

15. Faculty Scholar Research Mentorship Award
2002-2005 $18,140 per year
Tobacco Etiology Research Network of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

16. Principal Investigator B-START Grant
2001-2003 1 R03 DA14394 $50,000
Prenatal Smoking Exposure and Infant Cortisol Reactivity.
National Institute on Drug Abuse.