Social and Behavioral Sciences
Chen has made significant contributions to health psychology and health disparities research, including identifying the psychobiological pathways underlying socioeconomic disparities in child health. Her work identified child-, family-, and neighborhood-level social factors contributing to health disparities, and the cellular and genomic pathways through which these social factors operate. She has made unique contributions to resilience literature, identifying psychosocial factors that buffer low-income children from poor health, and is known for the shift-and-persist theory regarding coping strategies beneficial to low-income children. Recently, she contributed to a theory regarding physical health costs of upward mobility among low-income youth of color (skin-deep resilience).