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Jennifer E. Graham-Engeland
Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Professor-in-Charge of the Graduate Program
Summary Statement

Jennifer Graham-Engeland directs the Stress & Health lab; her research emphasizes psychological and physiological mechanisms underlying stress and health connections.

  • Biobehavioral Health - BBH
  • Graduate Program
  • Stress and Health Lab
  • Alumni Society
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  • Stony Brook University, PhD, Social and Health Psychology, 2003
Currently Accepting Graduate Students
Office Address
129 Biobehavioral Health Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
  • Stress and health
  • Affect (emotion) and health
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic pain

Detailed Research Interests

Jennifer Graham-Engeland investigates the impact of psychological stress on physical health and the psychological, physiological and behavioral mechanisms underlying stress and health connections. She emphasizes the impact of cognitive and emotional responses to stress (e.g., rumination, meaning-making, anger) that are potential targets for non-pharmacological intervention. Drawing on perspectives from social psychology and psychoneuroimmunology, specific topics include: 1) adaptive consequences of recognizing and expressing negative emotion; 2) how emotion, depressed mood, inflammation, and physical pain are bi-directionally connected; 3) the use of immune-related biomarkers (particularly inflammatory markers) as outcomes or mediators of stress and health phenomena, and 4) the relevance of situational forces (e.g., relationship dynamics) and individual differences (e.g., hostility, loneliness, and gender) on stress and health connections, with particularly emphasis on chronic pain and inflammation. For more information, see The Stress and Health Lab web pages.

Professional Experience

Dr. Jennifer Graham-Engeland joined the Biobehavioral Health faculty at Penn State in 2006. She is now the Professor-in-Charge of the Graduate Program in Biobehavioral Health. Dr. Graham-Engeland also serves on the editorial board for the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine and is a standing member of the NIH study section “Social Psychology, Personality, and Interpersonal Processes (SPIP)”. In addition, Dr. Graham-Engeland is also a dedicated instructor; she has taught multiple graduate and undergraduate courses, including Integrative Integration in Biobehavioral Health, Gender and Health, and Professional Development for graduate students.

Grants and Research Projects

Inflammatory Mediators of Stress and Cognitive Aging

NIH R01 AG042595-01   Graham-Engeland  & Engeland (PI) 

10/2012 - 10/2017,  NCE – 10/2018

National Institute on Aging (NIA), with National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH)
This project is investigating the degree to which inflammation mediates associations between psychological stress, rumination, and indicators of cognitive ability over time among midlife adults.

Role: PI (Multiple PI: Christopher Engeland)


Integrative Biobehavioral and Psychosocial Risk for Cognitive Decline in the Elderly

NIH R01 AG056487-01  Engeland & Graham-Engeland (PI)         

07/01/2018 - 04/30/2023                                       

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

The major goals of this project are to investigate the role of three interactive factors – negative and positive affect, inflammation, and lipid profiles – on cognitive aging outcomes, and the impact of cumulative lifetime stress on associations between affect and inflammation with cognition.

Role: PI (Multiple PI: Christopher Engeland)


How Pain, Mood, Stress, Social and Health Behavior, and Inflammation are Connected in Undergraduate Students with and without Chronic Pain

Social Science Research Institute   Graham-Engeland (PI)           


Penn State University                          

This project provided pilot data for future research on the connections between stress, mood, health behaviors, pain, and inflammation. Survey, daily-diary, and salivary-based biomarkers were collected.

Role: PI


Early Psychosocial Intervention and Child and Parent Cardiovascular Disease Risk

NIH R01 12255789   Schreier (PI)                                       


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

This project builds on the Family Foundations (FF) intervention, an ongoing NICHD-funded (PI: Feinberg, HD058529) randomized controlled trial, to determine effects of a perinatal coparenting-focused intervention on both child and parent inflammatory markers and other biomarkers of CVD risk.

Role: Co-Investigator


For more information about current projects and recent publications, see the Stress and Health Lab web pages