• Chancellor EDGES Fellow
  • Professor
  • Pronouns: she/her/hers
  • Phone: (979) 458-2268
  • Email: hfoster@tamu.edu
  • Office: LASB 379
  • Document: CV
Holly Foster


I am a Professor of Sociology and Chancellor EDGES Fellow at Texas A&M University and an Affiliated Scholar at the American Bar Foundation. I investigate the social exclusion of women in prison and the countervailing processes families and close friends engage in when circumstances permit, using survey and interview data I collected over two separate studies resulting in a sole authored book project. My second sole authored mixed-methods book project investigates the rights of children of incarcerated parents from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders including children themselves, with myriad implications, including most broadly for justice reform efforts. I also have a long standing and on-going collaborative research stream investigating the myriad influences of parental incarceration and personal justice-system contacts on outcomes over the life course, including the concept of ‘social exclusion’ or disconnection from major social institutions including schooling, housing, civic participation and health care. In another collaborative strand of research using survey data, I also analyze the correlates and consequences of children’s and adult’s exposure to violence (direct victimization and indirect exposures including witnessing) on a range of developmental outcomes, and how to prevent and reduce violence exposure, re-exposure, and later life health and personal consequences whenever possible. My research publications include those in the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Problems, The Annual Review of Sociology, The Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Sociology of Education, Social Science & Medicine and Law and Society Review, as well as other special topics journals. I am currently serving as Chair in 2023-2024 of the Children & Youth Section of the American Sociological Association.

Courses Taught at Texas A&M

  • SOCI 304: Criminology
  • SOCI 304: Criminology (Honors)
  • SOCI 314: Social Problems
  • SOCI/WGST 421: Gender and Crime
  • SOCI 489: Juvenile Delinquency
  • SOCI 627: Crime, Punishment and the Life Course

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. University of Toronto

Research Interests

    • Justice Reform
    • Crime
    • Incarceration
    • Violence Exposure (victimization and witnessing)
    • Life Course
    • Social Inequality
    • Health
    • Quantitative and Mixed Methods

Awards & Honors

  • 2019-2022. Chancellor Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellowship, Texas A&M University.
  • 2015. 21st Century America Scholar at University of California-Irvine, School of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
  • 2005. Award for Best Publication in Sociology of Mental Health section of the American Sociological Association for co-authored paper in Social Forces (2003).

Selected Publications

    • Foster, Holly, John Hagan, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Jess Garcia. 2022. “Association Between Intergenerational Violence Exposure and Maternal Age of Menopause.” Menopause – The Journal of the North American Menopause Society 29 (3) 284-292. https://doi.org/10.1097/GME.0000000000001923
    • Foster, Holly and Chantrey J. Murphy. 2021. “The Correlates and Consequences of Maternal Efficacy among Imprisoned Women.” Pp. 126-148 in Latinas in the Criminal Justice System: Victims, Targets and Offenders, edited by Lisa Pasko and Vera Lopez. New York: New York University Press.
    • Hagan, John, Holly Foster and Chantrey J. Murphy.  2020. “A Tale Half Told: State Exclusionary and Inclusionary Regimes, Incarceration of Fathers, and the Educational Attainment of Children.” Social Science Research 88-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2020.102428
    • Hagan, John and Holly Foster. 2020. “Imprisonment, Opioids and Health Care Reform Among Young Adults:  The Failure to Reach a High-Risk Population.”  Preventive Medicine 130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.105897
    • Foster, Holly and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. 2018. “Individual, Family, Neighborhood, and Regional Poverty/Socioeconomic Status and Exposure to Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents: Considering the Global North and South.” Pp. 654-686 in The Cambridge Handbook of Violent Behavior and Aggression, edited by A. Vazsonyi, D. Flannery, & M. DeLisi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Foster, Holly. 2017. “Family Complexity and the Stress Process in Prison: How Sibling Living Arrangements of Minor Children Influence Maternal Role Strains.” Social Sciences 6(3), 13 pages. (Peer-reviewed paper in special issue, edited by Bryan Sykes on “The Demography of Crime, Mass Incarceration and Population Regulation.”)
    • Foster, Holly and John Hagan.  2017. “Maternal Imprisonment, Economic Marginality, and Unmet Health Needs in Early Adulthood.”  Preventive Medicine 99: 43-48.
    • 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 John Hagan.  2016. “Maternal and Paternal Imprisonment and Children’s Social Exclusion in Adulthood.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 105: 101-143.
    • 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 and Jocelyn Lewis. 2015. “Race/Ethnicity and Living Arrangements of Children of Incarcerated Mothers:  Comparative Patterns and Maternal Experiences.” Pp. 92-106 in Understanding Diversity:  Celebrating Difference, Challenging Inequality, edited by Claire M. Renzetti and Raquel Kennedy Bergen.  New York: Pearson. (peer-reviewed).
    • Foster, Holly and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn.  2015. “Children’s Exposure to Community and War Violence and Mental Health in Four African Countries.” Social Science & Medicine 146: 292-299.