Rachel Koffer, PhD

Pathways T32 Pre-doctoral Training Fellow

My work focuses on developing and testing model-based operationalization of stress process theory: examining the multi-time scale processes that link everyday stressors (e.g., interpersonal disagreements, deadlines) to long-term health and well-being across adulthood.Having graduated from Brandeis University with a double major in psychology and economics, I deeply value examining research issues from the perspectives of multiple fields. During my second and third years at Penn State, I gained a broad understanding of the theoretical approaches, issues, and methodology for analyzing big data, through an NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) on Big Data Social Science. Now, as a pre-doctoral fellow in Pathways T32 program funded by the National Institute of Aging, I study the biological pathways (e.g., corticosteroids, telomere length) that link acute and chronic psychosocial stressors to later life health—the biopsychosocial pathways from intraindividual variability to developmental change. I continue to enjoy an interdisciplinary approach to linking theory and methods, drawing from computer science data mining approaches, developmental growth curve modeling and person-specific approaches, and ecological approaches to studying categorical species abundance.


Brick, T. R., Koffer, R., Gerstorf, D., & Ram, N.. (2017). Feature Selection Methods for Optimal Design of Studies for Developmental Inquiry. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73(1), 113 - 123. presented at the Jun-02-2017. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbx008
Koffer, R., Ram, N., & Almeida, D. M.. (2017). More than Counting: An Intraindividual Variability Approach to Categorical Repeated Measures. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 73(1), 87 - 99. presented at the Mar-09-2019. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbx086
Koffer, R., Ram, N., Conroy, D. E., Pincus, A. L., & Almeida, D. M.. (2016). Stressor diversity: Introduction and empirical integration into the daily stress model. Psychology and Aging, 31(4), 301 - 320. presented at the Jan-01-2016. doi:10.1037/pag0000095
Lee, S., Koffer, R., Sprague, B. N., Charles, S. T., Ram, N., & Almeida, D. M.. (2016). Activity Diversity and Its Associations With Psychological Well-Being Across Adulthood. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, gbw118. presented at the Dec-09-2016. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbw118
Koffer, R., & Ram, N.. (2015). Intraindividual Variability. In S. Krauss Whitbourne, Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging (pp. 683-688). Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. doi:10.1002/9781118521373.wbeaa247