Esther S. Chang

Esther S. Chang, PhD

Faculty - Full-Time
esther chang
Professor of Psychology
Director of Social and Behavioral Sciences Concentration

Esther Chang came to Soka University in 2007 after earning a PhD in Psychology and Social Behavior from UCI. Her dissertation study developed a theoretical framework for understanding cross-cultural differences and similarities in parent-adolescent relationships. 

Esther Chang’s teaching and research interests at Soka are in Lifespan Developmental Psychology, Psychology of Education, and Cross-Cultural Psychology.

The best way to reach Esther is to book an appointment with her online.

  • Oberlin College, B.A., 1995 (Politics and International Policy Analysis)
  • Columbia University, M.A., 2000 (General Psychology)
  • University of California-Irvine, Ph.D., 2007 (Psychology and Social Behavior)
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • Psychology of Education
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • Capstone in Psychology
  • Advanced Topics in Psychology (Evolutionary Psychology, Cultural Genomics).
  • Mother-daughter relationships
  • Body image development
  • Occupational goals
  • Life goals after the pandemic
  • Political participation


  1. Chang, E.S. & Germo, G. (2021). Generativity and shared agency with foster youth for education. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.
  2. Chang, E.S., Shane, J., Villarreal, B., & Heckhausen, J. (2022). Shared agency for occupational goals with parents, romantic partners, and important non-parental adults. Frontiers in Psychology, section: Developmental Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.902288 **Note. Edited by: Kai S. Cortina
  3. Shao, J., Chang, E.S., & Tsong, Y., Chen, C., & Borelli, J.L. (2023). The mother-daughter shared agency in weight management scale (SAWMS): Development, validation, and implications for body dissatisfaction. Journal of Eating Disorders, 11.
  4. Shao, J.*, Chang, E.S., & Chen, C. (2018). The relative importance of parent-child dynamics and minority stress on the psychological adjustment of LGBs in China. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 
    **This is a publication of the American Psychological Association. **
  5. Chang, E.S. (2016). Kirogi women’s psychological well-being: The relative contributions of marital quality, mother-child relationship quality, and youth’s educational adjustment. Journal of Family Issues. doi: 10.1177/0192513X16632265
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology, Soka University of America, 2007 – 2013
  • Associate Professor of Psychology, Soka University of America, 2013 – 2017
  • Professor of Psychology, Soka University of America, 2017-present
  • 2001 Martha Newkirk Fellowship Endowment, UCI
  • 2002-2007 Summer Research Support, School of Social Ecology, UCI
  • 2004-2006 Outstanding Social Ecology School Mentor Award, UCI
  • 2004 Travel & Tuition Award, Advanced Training Institute in Structural Equation Modeling (American Psychological Association in Hawaii)
  • 2005 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship, Honorable Mention
  • 2006 School of Social Ecology Dean’s Dissertation Data Gathering Award, UCI
  • 2007 School of Social Ecology Dean’s Dissertation Writing Fellowship, UCI
  • 2007 Ford Foundation Diversity Dissertation Fellowship, Honorable Mention
  • 2013 Pacific Basin Research Center, Summer Research Fellowship, SUA
  • 2019 Faculty Merit Award, SUA