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Health and Coping Lab (Luecken)

Keywords:  childhood adversity; cortisol; health; culture; self-regulation

Lab Research Area:

Research conducted in The Health and Coping Lab examines developmental, cultural, and cognitive influences on stress, coping, and physical health. Our primary areas of focus include women’s health, infant health and development in low resource environments, mediators of physiological stress responses, and the influence of childhood adversity on biological stress systems and physical health in adulthood.

Lab Director and Principal Investigator: Linda J. Luecken, PhD, Professor

Dr. Luecken is a member of the clinical and developmental faculty. Her research interests broadly include health psychology; women and children's health; the impact of childhood adversity on cardiovascular and hormonal stress reactivity; and the biological and health benefits of early intervention. Dr. Luecken's program of research involves studies of perinatal health in low-income and ethnic minority women; long-term physiological and health correlates of childhood adversity; and risk and protective influences on the emergence of biological, behavioral, and emotional self-regulation in low income and ethnic minority children.

Doctoral Students

Shannon Jewell, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology. 

Broadly, Shannon is interested in investigating biopsychosocial moderators of the impact of stress on mental and physical health among ethnic minority populations. For example, Shannon has examined how family support buffers cortisol output among Mexican American postpartum mothers experiencing economic stress. As part of her training, Shannon has gained significant expertise in psychobiological markers such as cortisol and heart rate variability. She earned her B.S. in Psychological Sciences from ASU in 2013, and her M.A. in Psychology from ASU in 2015.

Mariam Hanna, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology. 

Mariam is currently working with Dr. Linda Luecken in the Health and Coping Lab studying families, stress, and health. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include understanding how family relationships can serve as a source of risk or resilience in youth mental and physical health. Currently Mariam focuses on the role of fathers on youth physiological outcomes.


Jennifer Somers, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology.

Jenn is interested in how parent-child relationships are associated with physiological and emotional functioning. Her current research includes examining interactive effects between children’s biology and environment on emotional and social development. Before joining the Health and Coping lab in fall 2015, Jenn worked on a wide range of projects, including studies examining parent-child relationships and children’s stress reactivity and randomized controlled trials of parenting programs for high-risk families. She received her Bachelors in Psychology and English from Pomona College. In her spare time, she enjoys running and trying out new recipes and restaurants.

Lab Alumni

Rika Tanaka, PhD, 2015; University of Toronto
Nicole Mahrer, PhD, 2015; Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Danielle Roubinov, PhD, 2014; UCSF
Jenna Gress Smith, PhD, 2014; VA Medical Center, Phoenix
Melissa Hagan, PhD, 2013; SFSU
Catherine Purdom Marreiro, PhD 2013; Ray Dolby Brain Health Center, California Pacific Medical Center
Amy Kraft Mistler, PhD, 2010, VA Medical Center, Durham NC
Bradley Appelhans, PhD, 2006, Rush Medical Center
Adam McCray, PhD, 2005; VA Medical Center, Phoenix

Select Publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from Dr. Luecken's research. A more complete listing may be found in her curriculum vitae.

In press

Luecken, L.J., Hagan, M.E., Wolchik, S.A., Sandler, I.N., & Tein, J.Y. (in press). A longitudinal study of the effects of child-reported maternal warmth on cortisol stress response 15 years after parental divorce. Psychosomatic Medicine.

Roubinov, D., Luecken, L.J., Gonzales, N.A., & Crnic, K.A. (in press). Father involvement in Mexican-origin families: Development of a culturally sensitive measure. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.


Luecken, L.J., MacKinnon, D.P., Jewell, S.A., Crnic, K.A., & Gonzales, N.A. (2015). Effects of prenatal factors and temperament on infant cortisol regulation in low-income Mexican American families. Developmental Psychobiology, 57, 961-973.

Jewell, S.L., Luecken, L.J., Gress-Smith, J., Crnic, K.A., & Gonzales, N.A. (2015). Economic stress and cortisol among postpartum low-income Mexican American women: buffering influence of family support. Behavioral Medicine, 41, 138-144.

Luecken, L.J., Hagan, M., Mahrer, N., Wolchik, S.A., Sandler, I.N., & Tein, J.Y. (2015). Effects of a prevention program for divorced families on youth cortisol reactivity 15-years later. Psychology and Health, 30, 571-582.


Hagan, M., Roubinov, D., Marreiro, C., & Luecken, L.J. (2014). Childhood interparental conflict and cortisol reactivity in young adulthood: Examining curvilinear relations. Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 871-880.

Mahrer, N., Luecken, L.J., Wolchik, S. Tein, J.Y., & Sandler, I.N. (2014). Exposure to maternal distress in childhood and cortisol activity in young adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 38, 570-576.

2012 and earlier

Gress, J.L., Luecken, L.J., Lemery-Chalfant, K., & Howe, R. (2012). Postpartum depression prevalence and impact on infant health, weight, and sleep in low-income and ethnic minority women and infants. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 16, 887-893.

Kraft, A.J. & Luecken, L.J. (2009). Childhood parental divorce and cortisol in young adulthood: Evidence for mediation by family income. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34, 1363-1369.

Luecken, L.J., Appelhans, B.A, Kraft, A.J., & Enders, C. (2009). Emotional and cardiovascular sensitization to daily stress following childhood parental loss. Developmental Psychology, 45(1), 296-302.

Lab News!

Congratulations to Dr. Rika Tanaka (left), 2015 PhD grad from the lab!


Congratulations Dr. Gress-Smith and Dr. Roubinov, the 2014 graduates of the Health & Coping lab!



Dr. Linda Luecken, Dr. Keith Crnic, and Dr. Nancy Gonzales were awarded a 5-year NIH grant "Emerging Regulatory Capacity in low-income Mexican American children." The project began 7/1/2014 and will follow 322 mothers and their babies for at ages 3, 4.5, & 6.

Rika Tanaka received the 2013 APA Div 38 student research award for her poster "Childhood abuse and nighttime systolic blood pressure dip: The mediating role of hostility."

Congratulations Dr. Hagan and Dr. Purdom Marreiro, the newest graduates of the Health & Coping lab!

Cat Purdom received an APA dissertation award to study stress reactivity, cognition, and Type I Diabetes.

Amy Kraft graduated with her PhD in 2010.

Jenna Gress was awarded an NRSA fellowship to study resilience processes in ethnic minority women at risk for postpartum depression.

Amy Kraft was awarded a prestigious American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for her dissertation project: "Childhood Family Conflict and Physical and Cognitive Responses to Interpersonal Interactions in Adults."