Staff Directory

Esther S. Chang, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology

Phone: 949-480-4240

Fax: 949-480-4126


Faculty - Full-Time


  • Ph.D., Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California-Irvine
  • M.A. General Psychology, Columbia University
  • B.A. Politics and International Policy Analysis, Oberlin College

Positions Held

  • 2013 – Present, Associate Professor of Psychology, Soka University of America
  • 2007-2013, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Soka University of America 

Research Interests

  • Transnational Families
  • Mentoring
  • Shared Agency
  • Life Goals
  • Parenting

Selected Papers, Publications, Presentations, & Exhibits

  • Heckhausen, J., Chang E.S., Chen, C., & Greenberger, E. (2013). Striving for Educational and Career Goals During the Transition After High School: What is Beneficial?Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1385-1398. doi:10.1007/s10964-012-9812-5
  • Chang, E.S. (2013). Negotiating family obligations and educational goals among college-enrolled youth on Jeju Island, Korea. Journal for Research on Adolescence, 23, 25-34. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2012.00814.x
  • Chang, E.S. (in press). 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.
  • Chang, E.S., Chen, C. & Kim, E (in press). Have You Set Your Life Priorities Straight?: Ethnic and Intergenerational Differences in Life Goal Priorities. Journal of Comparative Family Studies.
  • Chang, E.S. & Greenberger, E. (2012). Parenting Satisfaction at Midlife among European and Asian American Mothers with a College-Enrolled Child. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 3, 263-274. doi:10.1037/a0026555 
  • Chang, E.S., Greenberger, E., Chen, C., Heckhausen, J., & Farruggia, S.P. (2010). Non-parental adults as social resources for adolescents in the transition after high school. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 1065-1082. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00662.x
  • Chang, E.S., Heckhausen, J., Greenberger, E., & Chen, C. (2010). Shared agency with parents for educational goals: Ethnic differences and implications for college adjustment.Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 1293-1304. doi:10.1007/s10964-009-9488-7.   
  • Heckhausen, J. & Chang, E.S. (2009). How ambition can help overcome social inequality in the transition to adulthood.Research on Human Development, 6, 235-251.
  • Chang, E. S. (2008). Ethnic differences and similarities in shared agency between older youth and parents. Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Irvine, 2007. Dissertation abstracts international, 68, (7-B).
  • Germo, G., Chang, E.S., Keller, M., & Goldberg, W.A. (2007). Child sleep arrangements and family life: Perspectives from mothers and fathers.Infant and Child Development, 16, 433-456.  
  • Lench, H. & Chang, E.S. (2007). Belief in an unjust world: when beliefs in a just world fail.Journal of Personality Assessment, 89, 1-10. 
  • Chang E.S., Chen, C., Greenberger, E., Dooley, D., & Heckhausen, J. (2006). What do they want in life?: The life goals of a multi-ethnic, multi-generational sample of high school seniors.Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 321-332.
  • Lee, J., Miller, L., & Chang, E. S. (2006). Religious identity among Christian Korean American adolescents. Psychological Reports, 98, 43-56.
  • Lee, J., Chang, E. S., & Miller, L. (2006). Ethnic-religious status and identity formation: A qualitative study of Korean American Christian youth. Journal of Youth Ministry, 5, 9-40.

Courses Taught at SUA

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • Psychology of Education
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • Core 1
  • Core 2
  • Learning Cluster on Education
  • Learning Cluster on Educational Policy
  • Learning Cluster on Adolescence
  • Learning Cluster on Beauty