College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Martha Rueter

  • Professor emeritus

Martha Rueter

Areas of interest

Family Interactions in families with genetically unrelated parents and children
Adoptive Families Family Communication
Child and Adolescent Adjustment
Family Research Methods
Family Observation Methods


Martha Rueter Joined Family Social Science as an assistant professor in 1999, was promoted to associate professor in 2003, and retired in 2019.

She served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on research projects that attracted more than 10 million dollars of support from institutions such as the National Institutes of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Development.  This research explored how parent-child communication can promote children’s health and well-being, and advanced knowledge of how parent-child communication operates differently across various kinds of families, including traditional families, step-families, adoptive families, and families created through assisted reproductive technology. A selection of her research can be found on the UMN Libraries Experts website.

Throughout her academic career, Rueter served on review panels for the National Institutes of Health and multiple national journals as well as numerous UMN committees. She served as an advisor or committee member for numerous graduate students and her advisees credited her as a brilliant scientist who challenged and supported them, and created safe spaces where they could “challenge the known and explore the unknown.”  

She received a bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, two master’s degrees from Penn State, and a doctoral degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State University.