Trainee Spotlight – September 2017

Introducing our Trainee Spotlight for September 2017, Renee Cloutier!

Trainee: Renee Cloutier, M.S.

Current Mentor: Heidemarie Blumenthal, Ph.D.

Affiliation: University of North Texas

I am entering my fifth year in the Experimental Psychology/Behavioral Science PhD program at the University of North Texas working with Dr. Heidemarie Blumenthal in the Teen Stress and Alcohol Research (StAR) Laboratory. After obtaining my PhD, I plan to
trainee pursue a post-doctoral position that will prepare me for a career as an academic researcher studying the etiology of substance use among adolescents and emerging adults.

More specifically, my research focuses on the interaction of social contexts (e.g., peer rejection) and cognitive factors (e.g., substance use motives) on acute (e.g., self- administration, craving) and long-term (e.g., disorder, maturing out) substance use outcomes. I use laboratory based experimental designs to uncover some of the underlying processes; for example, my dissertation tests whether social anxiety symptoms and exposure to acute peer rejection (vs. neutral) leads to greater marijuana use willingness among adolescents and whether marijuana motives helps account for these associations (1F31DA041105). I have also coordinated several projects using different standardized social stress tasks (e.g., Trier, Cyberball) and modifications of these tasks (e.g., 2D vs. 3D Cyberball) to examine associations between physiological (e.g., salivary cortisol, skin conductance) and psychological (e.g., state anxiety) markers of stress reactivity with current and prospective symptoms of psychopathology. Ultimately, my goal is to identify ways in which researchers may model substance use and related risk-processes in the laboratory as well as translate such information in designing tailored interventions.

Representative publications:

*Cloutier, R.M., Blumenthal, H., & Mischel, E. (2016). An examination of social anxiety in marijuana and cigarette use motives among adolescents. Substance Use and Misuse. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2015.1110174

*Blumenthal, H., Cloutier, R. M., Zamboanga, B. L., Bunaciu, L., & Knapp, A. A. (2015). A laboratory-based test of the relation between adolescent alcohol use and panic-relevant responding. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. doi: 10.1037/pha0000022

Cloutier, R.M., Liu, K., Kearns, N. Ruggero, C.J., Lewis, S.F., & Blumenthal, H. (2017). Posttraumatic stress severity is associated with coping motives for alcohol use among in-patient and community recruited adolescents. Under Review.

Cloutier, R.M., John, J., Adams, M., Kearns, N.T., Chambers, D., & Blumenthal, H. (2017). The varying role of adolescent affect in acute alcohol desires following different social stressors. Poster accepted for the 51st annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral Cognitive Therapies, (San Diego, CA, 2017).

Cloutier, R.M., Blumenthal, H., Douglas, M., Laslett, H., & Liu, K. (2016). A prospective study of psychophysiological responding to an acute social stressor and the development of social anxiety symptoms. Paper presented at the 16th biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD.

*denotes papers initially presented at ABCT conferences

Congratulations, Renee!

If you would like to talk with Renee about her research, feel free to stop by her poster at this year’s convention on Friday, November 17th from 8:30-9:30am.

Also, if you would like to nominate a trainee (i.e., undergraduate/graduate student or post-doc) for the SIG-AB Trainee Spotlight, please email Emma Brett at We look forward to featuring more of our student and trainee members throughout the year!

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