Robert F. Houser
Assistant Professor

Robert Francis Houser is a quantitative psychologist with backgrounds in behavioral psychology, social psychology, behavior modification, educational psychology, and quantitative research methods.  He is an assistant professor and statistical programmer/analyst at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy where he teaches several statistics and research methodology courses.

Dr. Houser has a strong background in statistical analysis and has over 25 years of experience analyzing public health, social welfare, education and nutrition research data.   He helps graduate students and faculty members plan research studies, assists faculty with analysis of their research projects, oversees graduate student research assistants and serves on Ph.D. oral examination committees. 

Dr. Houser’s research interests include; physical activity and cognitive functioning, psychological and health factors related to learning, Mastery learning and statistical analysis, food security and dietary adequacy, the effects of poverty on the physical, psychological, and educational development of children, health psychology and self-regulation of eating behavior and physical activity, the impact of nutrition knowledge and motivational factors on health and diet, the relationship between body image and self-esteem, and the origins and malleability of food preferences.  He has been the primary data analyst on several large nutrition studies and has extensive experience managing the processes of data coding, entry and analysis. Dr. Houser has extensive experience teaching health professionals from around the world how to work with research data and computers. 

He has served as a mentor to several Masters- and PhD-level students at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. 


  • Ph.D., Psychology, Tufts University
  • M.S., Psychology, Tufts University
  • B.S., Psychology, Northeastern University

Research Activities

Dr. Houser is currently involved with several research projects including a study conducted by Yue Huang and Dr. Alice Lichtenstein that developed a rubric for assessing the nutrition quality of casual dining restaurant entrées and examined the association of price and estimated nutrition score.  The purpose of the study was to determine whether cost is associated with the nutrition quality of casual dining restaurant food in Boston, MA.  Dr. Houser is currently collaborating with researchers Juliana FW Cohen, Megan Lehnerd, and Eric B Rimm on the analysis and writing of a research publication entitled "DASH Diet and Health Outcomes among U.S. Children and Adolescents: NHANES 2003-2012".

His recent research projects include alcohol consumption patterns of Hispanic elders in MA, diet and CVD risk among expat Dubai manual laborers and an evaluation of an intervention aimed at reducing child malnutrition in Nepal. 

With funding from a National Science Foundation grant, Dr. Houser contributed to the development and improvement of a public domain tool for teaching statistics that was originated by Tufts alum, Dr. David Lane, a Professor at Rice University.  Dr. Lane was the principal creator and developer of this resource although many others at Rice University, University of Houston-Clear Lake and Tufts University made substantial contributions.

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