Assistant Research Scientist; Research Associate
University of Connecticut; Cambridge Health Alliance
Janet Chang, Ph.D., is a social-cultural psychologist with substantive interests in mental health and multiculturalism. She investigates ethnic/racial disparities in mental health and sociocultural influences on social support, help seeking, and psychological functioning among diverse ethnic/racial groups, involving studies of White, Latino, and Asian American populations. Dr. Chang received a B.A. with honors from Swarthmore College, with a major in psychology and minor in Asian studies. She earned a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of California, Davis. She was a researcher at the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Trinity College. She is Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Connecticut and Research Associate at the Cambridge Health Alliance (Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research). She previously received awards from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Williams College Gaius Charles Bolin Dissertation Fellowship. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2009-2012), her recent project examined the relationship between social networks and mental health among Latinos and Asian Americans. Her broader research interests lie in the areas of sociocultural, ethnic minority, and clinical-community psychology.
Dr. Chang investigated the influence of social support and familial bonds on the use of mental health treatment among Latinos and Asian Americans. She examined the complexity of these issues, including taking into account the role of generation status and both cohesive and conflictual family bonds—salient factors relevant to these ethnic minority groups, particularly those from immigrant backgrounds. Findings from her research sheds light on social-cultural factors that influence coping, revealing ways to improve the pathway to seeking treatment for mental health problems.
My New Connections Experience
I applied for New Connections because of the invaluable opportunities afforded by this grant. This program is not only about funding but also about professional career development and networking. I knew it would open the door to many significant opportunities, some of which have turned out to be pivotal in my own career.
New Connections is now an integral part of my career. It has given me national and local recognition for the kind of research that I conduct. It has provided me with numerous resources to successfully carry out my work and further my career. Being a grantee and participating in the New Connections network have been transformative in multiple ways – enabling me to advance my research, fostering collaborations with leading scholars and junior researchers, and allowing me to benefit from multiple professional development and training opportunities.
Janet Chang, Ph.D., studies cultural influences on the self and psychological functioning (e.g., help seeking). Her research has focused on protective and risk factors associated with academic achievement among ethnic minority youth and ethnic/racial disparities in mental health, involving studies of White, Latino, and Asian American populations. In her work, she has demonstrated that social-cultural factors affect distress, coping, and mental health service and treatment; barriers contribute to ethnic/racial disparities in health; the influence of cultural norms on coping, self-reporting distress, and self-evaluation; various risk and protective factors affect academic achievement; and culture-specific processes can be adaptive. Her scholarly research has been complemented by her publications on the intricacies of conducting multicultural and community psychology research.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2009
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Vulnerable Populations
- Project Name: The Relationship between Social Networks and Mental Health among Latinos and Asian Americans: The Mediating Effects of Family Cohesion and Acculturative Stress.