Cynthia Levine

Image of Cynthia Levine

Cynthia Levine, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
(206) 616-1435
Guthrie 221
Advising: Accepting new graduate students in 2025-2026.
Interests: inequality, race, culture, gender, socioeconomic status, health


My research, which lies at the intersection of social and health psychology, examines the relationship between social and psychological factors and health and well-being among people from diverse backgrounds. I am especially interested in how social contexts might be changed to improve the health of people from lower status or stigmatized groups and reduce health disparities.

My work focuses, in particular, on showing that health and well-being depend upon fit between people and their social contexts. When people’s traits, thoughts, and feelings fit with what is normative and valued in their communities and institutions, and they feel included, rather than excluded, they are more likely to be healthy. This insight is especially important in an increasingly diverse, yet still unequal, society, where minority status due to race, socioeconomic status, immigration status, gender, sexuality, and other identities can threaten people’s sense of inclusion and fit. Given that many groups experience a lack of fit in majority or mainstream contexts such as schools or workplaces, changing these contexts to improve fit has the potential reduce health disparities.

Please visit my website (link above) for more information on the specific research questions my lab is currently investigating.


Stanford University

  • Levine, C. S. (2017). Psychological buffers against poor health: The role of the socioeconomic environment. Current Opinion in Psychology, 18, 137-140.
  • Levine, C. S., Atkins, A. H., Waldfogel, H. B., & Chen, E. (2016). Views of a good life and allostatic load: Physiological correlates of theories of a good life depend on the socioeconomic context. Self and Identity, 15, 536-547.
  • Levine, C. S., Miyamoto, Y., Markus, H. R., Rigotti, A., Boylan, J. M., Park, J., . . . Ryff, C. D. (2016). Culture and healthy eating: The role of independence and interdependence in the U.S. and Japan. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 1335-1348.
  • Curhan, K. B., Levine, C. S., Markus, H. R., Kitayama, S., Park, J., Karasawa, M., . . . & Ryff, C. D. (2014). Subjective and objective hierarchies and their relations to psychological well-being: A U.S. / Japan comparison. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 855-864.
  • Levine, C. S., & Ambady, N. (2013). Nonverbal behaviour’s role in racial gaps in healthcare: Implications and solutions. Medical Education, 47, 867-876.
  • Stephens, N. M., & Levine, C. S. (2011). Opting out or denying discrimination? How the framework of free choice in American society influences perceptions of gender inequality. Psychological Science, 22, 1231-1236.