Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Nancy Adler

Nancy Adler

Nancy E. Adler is the Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, and Director of the Center for Health and Community. She is also the Lisa and John Pritzker Professor of Psychology, in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. She received a BA from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. After serving as Assistant and Associate Professor at UC, Santa Cruz, she came to UCSF to initiate a graduate program in Health Psychology. She has served as director of that program, an NIMH-sponsored postdoctoral program in “Psychology and Medicine: Translational Research on Stress, Behavior and Disease,” and a postdoctoral “Health and Society Scholars Program” funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Adler is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society (APS) and the American Psychological Association (APA). She has served as President of the Division of Population and Environmental Psychology of the APA and received its Superior Service Award; she is also a member of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and the Society for Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Adler has been awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Advancement of Women, the George Sarlo Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and the Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award from UCSF, and the Outstanding Contribution to Health Psychology award from APA’s Division of Health Psychology and the APA Distinguished Scientific Award for the Application of Psychology. She has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). She chaired an IOM committee on the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and currently chairs a committee on women’s health research. She served on the IOM Membership Committee and is now on the Report Review Committee of the National Academies of Science and was named a National Associate of the National Academies. She recently completed a term on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the NIH.

Dr. Adler’s earlier research examined the utility of decision models for understanding health behaviors with particular focus on reproductive health. This work identified both determinants of consequences of unwanted pregnancy. Her current work examines the pathways from socioeconomic status (SES) to health. As director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on SES and Health, she coordinates research spanning social, psychological and biological mechanisms by which SES influences health. Within the network she has focused on the role of subjective social status in health.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Gender Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Judgment and Decision Making

Journal Articles:

  • Adler, N. E., Boyce, T., Chesney, M., Cohen, S., Folkman, S., Kahn, R., & Syme, S. L. (1994). Socioeconomic status and health: The challenge of the gradient. American Psychologist, 49, 15-24.
  • Adler, N. E., Epel, E., Castallazzo, G., & Ickovics, J. (2000). Relationship of subjective and objective social status with psychological and physiological functioning in preliminary data in healthy white women. Health Psychology, 19(6), 586-592.
  • Adler, N. E., & Matthews, K. (1994). Health psychology: Why do some people get sick and some stay well? Annual Review of Psychology, 45, 229-59.
  • Adler, N. E., & Newman, K. (2002). Socioeconomic disparities in health: Pathways and policies. Health Affairs, 34(1), 6-14.
  • Adler, N. E., Ozer, E., & Tschann, J. (2003). Abortion among adolescents. American Psychologist, 58(3), 211-217.
  • Adler, N. E., & Rehkopf, D. H. (in press). U.S. Disparities in health: Descriptions, causes, and mechanisms. Annual Review of Public Health.
  • Adler, N. E., Singh-Manoux, A., Schwartz, J., Stewart, J., Matthews, K., & Marmot, M. G. (in press). Social status and health: A comparison of British civil servants in Whitehall II with European- and African-Americans in CARDIA. Social Science & Medicine.
  • Adler, N.E., & Snibbe, A.C. (2003). The role of psychosocial processes in explaining the gradient between socioeconomic status and health. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 119-123.
  • Fernald, L. C. H., & Adler, N. E. (in press). Blood pressure and socio-economic status in low-income women in Mexico: a reverse gradient? Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
  • Goodman, E., Huang, B., Schafer-Kalkhoff, T., & Adler, N. E. (2007). Perceived socioeconomic status: A new type of identity which influences adolescents' self rated health. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, 479-487.
  • Milstein, A., & Adler, N. E. (2003). Out of sight, out of mind: Why doesn’t widespread clinical quality failure command our urgent attention? Health Affairs, 22(2), 119-127.
  • Moore, P. J., Adler, N. E., Williams, D. R., & Jackson, J. S. (2002). Socioeconomic status and health: The role of sleep. Psychosomatic Medicine, 64, 337-344.
  • Park, C. L. & Adler, N. E. (2003). Coping style as a predictor of health and well-being across the first year of medical school. Health Psychology, 22(6), 627-631.
  • Singh-Manoux, A., Marmot, M. G., & Adler, N. E. (2005). Does subjective social status predict health and change in health status better than objective status? Psychosomatic Medicine, 67, 855-861.

Other Publications:

  • Adler, N. E. (2004). Rigor and vigor: Spanning basic and applied research. In A. H. Eagly, R. M. Baron, & V. L. Hamilton (Eds.), The social psychology of group identity and conflict: Theory, application, and practice (pp. 83-96). Washington, DC: APA Books.

Nancy Adler
Health Psychology Program
University of California, San Francisco
3333 California Street, Suite 465
San Francisco, California 94143
United States of America

  • Phone: (415) 476-7759
  • Fax: (415) 476-7744

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