Stefanie Mayer, PhD

Assistant Professor

Stefanie E. Mayer, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry Center for Health and Community. She is a clinical psychologist and received her PhD from the University of Michigan. Stefanie`s research focuses on the biopsychosocial pathways by which stress exposure – throughout the lifespan – can get “under the skin” and increase risk for adverse physical and mental health outcomes. She has a particular interest in examining stress and adversity during the early developmental years as these experiences produce lifelong alterations in psychological and biological (e.g., neuroendocrine, immune, cellular aging) processes that shape responses to stress later in life (e.g., chronic stress during adulthood), which can have detrimental health consequences. Stefanie seeks to understand these pathways, and develop more effective interventions to reverse the negative effects of early life stress. She is particularly interested in tailoring mindfulness and compassion based approaches to promote stress resilience in those exposed to early adversity. 


Deep rest: An integrative model of how contemplative practices combat stress and enhance the body's restorative capacity.

Psychological review

Crosswell AD, Mayer SE, Whitehurst LN, Picard M, Zebarjadian S, Epel ES

Do diurnal salivary cortisol curves carry meaningful information about the regulatory biology of the HPA axis in healthy humans?


Abelson JL, S?nchez BN, Mayer SE, Briggs H, Liberzon I, Rajaram N

Intergenerational effects of maternal lifetime stressor exposure on offspring telomere length in Black and White women.

Psychological medicine

Mayer SE, Guan J, Lin J, Hamlat E, Parker JE, Brownell K, Price C, Mujahid M, Tomiyama AJ, Slavich GM, Laraia BA, Epel ES

Daily stress appraisals and C-reactive protein in a sample of Black and White women.


J.Y. Guan, E. Hamlat, M. Mujahid, C. Price, A.J. Tomiyama, B.A. Laraia, E.S. Epel, S.E. Mayer

Childhood maltreatment and within-person associations between cortisol and affective experience.

Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Kuhlman KR, Abelson JL, Mayer SE, Rajaram N, Briggs H, Young E

The long shadow of childhood trauma for depression in midlife: examining daily psychological stress processes as a persistent risk pathway.

Psychological medicine

Mayer SE, Surachman A, Prather AA, Puterman E, Delucchi KL, Irwin MR, Danese A, Almeida DM, Epel ES

The roles of comorbidity and trauma exposure and its timing in shaping HPA axis patterns in depression.


Mayer SE, Peckins M, Kuhlman KR, Rajaram N, Lopez-Duran NL, Young EA, Abelson JL

Negative Cognitive Style and Cortisol Reactivity to a Laboratory Stressor: a Preliminary Study.

International journal of cognitive therapy

Ivan Vargas, Gerald J. Haeffel, Ross Jacobucci, Julia T. Boyle, Stefanie E. Mayer, Nestor L. Lopez-Duran

Cumulative lifetime stress exposure and leukocyte telomere length attrition: The unique role of stressor duration and exposure timing.


Mayer SE, Prather AA, Puterman E, Lin J, Arenander J, Coccia M, Shields GS, Slavich GM, Epel ES

Chronic stress, hair cortisol and depression: A prospective and longitudinal study of medical internship.


Mayer SE, Lopez-Duran NL, Sen S, Abelson JL

More than a feeling: A unified view of stress measurement for population science.

Frontiers in neuroendocrinology

Epel ES, Crosswell AD, Mayer SE, Prather AA, Slavich GM, Puterman E, Mendes WB

Mediators of compassionate goal intervention effects on human neuroendocrine responses to the Trier Social Stress Test.

Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Erickson TM, Mayer SE, Lopez-Duran NL, Scarsella GM, McGuire AP, Crocker J, Abelson JL

The psychology of HPA axis activation: Examining subjective emotional distress and control in a phobic fear exposure model.


Mayer SE, Snodgrass M, Liberzon I, Briggs H, Curtis GC, Abelson JL

Trait and state rumination interact to prolong cortisol activation to psychosocial stress in females.


Shull A, Mayer SE, McGinnis E, Geiss E, Vargas I, Lopez-Duran NL

The Cortisol Awakening Response and Depressive Symptomatology: The Moderating Role of Sleep and Gender.

Stress and health : journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress

Vargas I, Mayer S, Lopez-Duran N

HPA-axis stress reactivity in youth depression: evidence of impaired regulatory processes in depressed boys.

Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Lopez-Duran NL, McGinnis E, Kuhlman K, Geiss E, Vargas I, Mayer S

Modeling neuroendocrine stress reactivity in salivary cortisol: adjusting for peak latency variability.

Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Lopez-Duran NL, Mayer SE, Abelson JL

Brief cognitive intervention can modulate neuroendocrine stress responses to the Trier Social Stress Test: buffering effects of a compassionate goal orientation.


Abelson JL, Erickson TM, Mayer SE, Crocker J, Briggs H, Lopez-Duran NL, Liberzon I