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Qian Lu, M.D., Ph.D.

Qian Lu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor  
Director of Culture and
Health Research Center

Director of Research on Emotion, Adjustment, Culture and Health (REACH)
Social Psychology
Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
Medical degree, Shandong Medical University

Download CV
Heyne Building, Room 101B
qlu3 [AT] uh [DOT] edu

Biographical Summary

Dr. Qian Lu is the Director of Culture and Health Research Center and Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston. She completed a Ph.D. in Social and Health Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Lu’s goal is to understand and promote health and well-being through biopsychosocial and cultural lens. She works on several intertwined lines of research including cancer survivorship, psychosocial intervention, Asian cancer survivorship, expressive writing, emotion regulation, social support, cultural differences in cognitive and emotional processes, health disparity, community based participatory research, and a biopsychosoical model of pain. She received Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology Award (Early Career) by American Psychological Association Division 38 (Health Psychology). She is a principal investigator of a NCI funded study (R01) that investigates the effects and mechanisms of a peer mentor and educational intervention among Chinese breast cancer survivors. She is a co-investigator of a NCI funded study (R01) that investigates cultural differences in social support and quality of life between Caucasians and Asian American breast cancer survivors (Kagawa-Singer, PI). She is also a co-investigator of a NIH funded study (R01) to investigate the effects of expressive writing to reduce alcohol use (Neighbors, PI). Her research has also been funded by American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Prospective Graduate Students

Are you interested in any of the following research areas?

  • Health psychology
  • The intersection between social and health psychology
  • The relationship between culture and health
  • Patients with chronic illnesses
  • Diversity
  • Asian American psychology

Do you want to contribute to ongoing projects that focus on expressive writing, social support, emotion regulation, cancer survivorship, and Asian American health?

If you would like to join the Culture & Health Research Center, then apply for admission to the Social Psychology program at the University of Houston. Feel free to email Dr. Qian Lu at qlu3 [AT] uh [DOT] edu if you have any questions or would like to know more.


  • Foundations of Health Psychology (graduate level)
  • Research in Health Psychology (graduate level)
  • Expressive writing (graduate level)
  • Health Psychology

Recent Research Funding

Active Grants

1R01CA180896-01A1 (Q. Lu)
National Institute of Health
A Culturally Sensitive Social Support Intervention; Joy Luck Academy
This study aims to test the health benefits of a randomized controlled trial of close-ended professional, peer, and mentor support program among medically underserved communities.
Role: Principal Investigator

MRSGT-10-011-01-CPPB (Q. Lu)
American Cancer Society
To reduce psychosocial burdens among Chinese speaking breast cancer survivors.
This study aims to test the effect of a culturally sensitive intervention using expressive writing among Chinese speaking breast cancer survivors in multiple communities.
Role: Principal Investigator

1 R01 CA158314-01 (M. Kagawa-Singer)
National Institute of Health-National Cancer Institute
Culture, Support & Quality of Life: Asian American Breast Cancer Survivors
This study aims to explore cultural explanations for the cross-cultural differences found in quality of life studies among Asian and Asian American populations compared with Caucasian poulations.
Role: Co-Investigator, responsible for the quantitative aspect of this mixed quantitative-qualitative method project.

R01 (C. Neighbors)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Guilt and Expressive Writing for Reducing Alcohol Use in College Students
This study aims to evaluate expressive writing as a brief intervention for heavy drinking college students.
Role: Co-Investigator

Completed Funded Research Projects (Selected)

BCTR0707861 (Q. Lu) $300,000
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Testing a Culturally Sensitive Intervention among Chinese Breast Cancer Survivors
This study aims to evaluate the feasibility and potential psychological and physical health benefits of a culturally sensitive social support intervention program among Chinese-speaking breast cancer survivors.
Role: Principal Investigator

U01 CA114640-02S5 (PI: M. Chen and Pilot PI: Q. Lu) $75,000
The National Cancer Institute (UCLA Subaward No. Sub0600228, UH Subaward)
Health Benefits of Expressive Writing among Chinese Breast Cancer Survivors
This study aims to test the feasibility of an expressive writing intervention among Chinese-speaking breast cancer survivors.
Role: Pilot Principal Investigator

Research Interests

Psychosocial and cultural influences on health and illness (such as expressive writing, emotion regulation, social support, posttraumatic growth), cancer survivorship, psychosocial interventions to improve adjustment, biopsychosocial model of pain and chronic illness, health disparity, cultural differences, Asian cancer survivors

As a health and social psychologist, Dr. Lu’s goal is to understand biological, psychosocial, and cultural factors that may influence the origin, development, and consequences of diseases and to develop social and behavioral interventions, particularly for vulnerable populations.  Dr. Lu has developed several intertwined lines of research:

Cancer survivorship
  • Developing culturally competent psychosocial interventions for Asian Americans cancer survivors,
  • Cultural and ethnic differences in quality of life and underlying pathways
Cognitive, emotional, and interpersonal process and its health implications
  • Health benefits of expressive writing and emotional disclosure
  • Emotion suppression
  • Cognitive reappraisal and posttraumatic growth
  • Stress, coping, and stigma
  • Social support
Pain and chronic illness
  • Biopsychosocial model of pain
  • Culture, ethnic and gender differences in pain
Research methodology
  • Applying advanced quantitative methods (i.e., multivariate and multilevel modeling) in these areas above.
  • Qualitative methods
  • Mixed qualitative and quantitative methods

Selected Publications

All articles are the sole copyright of the respective publishers. Materials are provided for educational use only.

Lu, Q. #, Man, J.*, You, J.*, & LeRoy, A.* (in press). The link between ambivalence over emotional expression and depressive symptoms among Chinese breast cancer survivors. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.01.007

Rodriguez, L. M., Young, C. M., Neighbors, C., Tou, R.*, & Lu, Q. (in press). Cultural differences and shame in an expressive writing alcohol intervention. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse.

Rodriguez, L., Young, C., Lu, Q., Campbell, M., Neighbors, C. (in press). Evaluating Guilt and Shame in an Expressive Writing Alcohol Intervention. Alcohol.

Bryan, J. L., Lucas, S.H., Quist, M.C., Steers, M.N., Foster, D.W., Young, C.M., & Lu, Q. (in press). God, can I tell you something? The effect of religious coping on the relationship between ambivalence over emotional expression, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Lu, Q. #, You, J.*, Man, J.*, Loh, A., & Young, L. (2014). Evaluating a culturally tailored peer mentoring and education pilot intervention among Chinese breast cancer survivors using a mixed methods approach. Oncology Nursing Forum, 41(6), 629-637. doi:10.1188/14.ONF.629-637 DownloadAcrobat file

You, J.*, & Lu, Q. # (2014). Social constraints and quality of life among Chinese-speaking breast cancer survivors: a mediation model. Quality of Life Research, 23(9), 2577-2584. doi:10.1007/s11136-014-0698-4 DownloadAcrobat file

Bryan, J. L.*, & Lu, Q.  (2014). Vision for improvement: expressive writing as an intervention for people with Stargardt’s disease. Journal of Health Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1359105314536453 DownloadAcrobat file

Wen, Z.W., Li, X. M., Lu, Q., Brunson J.*, Zhao, M., Tan, J.F., Wan, C.H., & Lei, P.G. (2014). Health related quality of life in patients with chronic gastritis and peptic ulcer and factors with impact: a longitudinal study. BMC Gastroenterology, 14(1), 149. doi:10.1186/1471-230X-14-149 DownloadAcrobat file

Bryan, J. L. *, Quist, M. C., Young, C. M., Steers, M.-L. N, Foster, D. W., & Lu, Q. (2014). Canine comfort: pet affinity buffers the negative impact of ambivalence over emotional expression on perceived social support. Personality and Individual Differences, 68, 23-27. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.04.003 DownloadAcrobat file

Yeung, N.C.Y.*, Lu, Q. #, & Lin, W. (2014). Specificity may count: not every aspect of self-efficacy is beneficial to quality of life among Chinese cancer survivors in China. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21(4), 629-637. doi:10.1007/s12529-014-9394-6 DownloadAcrobat file

You, J.*, & Lu, Q. # (2014). Sources of social support and adjustment among Chinese cancer survivors: gender and age differences.Supportive Care in Cancer, 22(3), 697-704. doi:10.1007/s00520-013-2024-z DownloadAcrobat file

Yeung, N.C.Y.*, & Lu, Q. # (2014). Affect as a mediator between self-efficacy and quality of life among Chinese cancer survivors in China. European Journal of Cancer Care, 23(1), 149-155. doi:10.1111/ecc.12123 DownloadAcrobat file

Jiang, H., Wang, L., Zhang, Q., Liu, D.X., Ding J., Lei, Z., Lu, Q., & Pan, F. (2014).Family functioning, marital satisfaction and social support in hemodialysis patients and their spouses. Stress and Health. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/smi.2541 DownloadAcrobat file

Yeung, N.C.Y.*, & Lu, Q. #(2014). Affect mediates the association between mental adjustment styles and quality of life among Chinese cancer survivors. Journal of Health Psychology, 19(11), 1420-1429. doi:10.1177/1359105313493647 DownloadAcrobat file

Lu, Q., Tsao, J. C. I., Zeltzer, L. K. (2013). Ethnic differences in experimental pain response in children. Health Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0032428 DownloadAcrobat file

Lu, Q., Zheng, D. H.*, Young, L., Kagawa-Singer, M., & Loh, A. (2012). A pilot study of expressive writing intervention among Chinese-speaking breast cancer survivors. Health Psychology. 31, 548-551. Download Acrobat file

Umezawa, Y., Lu, Q. #, You, J.*, Kagawa-Singer, M., & Maly, R. (2012). Belief in divine control, coping, and race/ethnicity among older women with breast cancer. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 44, 21-32. DownloadAcrobat file

Kaur, J. S., Coe, K., Rowland, J., Braun, K. L., Conde, F. A., Burhansstipanov, L., Heiney, S., Kagawa-Singer, M., Lu, Q., & Witte, C. (2012). Enhancing Life after Cancer in Diverse Communities. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.27491. DownloadAcrobat file

Yang, Z., Meng, Q., Luo, J., Lu, Q., Li, X. J., Li, G. F., & Wan, C. H. (2011). Development and Validation of the Simplified Chinese Version of EORTC QLQ-H&N35 for Patients with Head and Neck Cancer. Supportive Care in Cancer, 1-10.

Lu, Q., Kevin, K., Owen, J., Kawashima, T., Leisenring, W., Myers, C. D., Zebrack, B., Tsao, J. C. I., Mertens, A. C., Robison, L. L., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2011). Pain in Adult Childhood Cancer Survivors: a Report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Pain, 152(11), 2616-24. Download Acrobat file

Hass, K.*, Lu, Q. #, Evans, S., Tsao, J. C. I., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2011). Relationship Between Resting Blood Pressure and Laboratory-Induced Pain Among Healthy Children. Gender Medicine, 8(6), 388-98.

Uysal, A. *, & Lu, Q. (2011). Self-concealment and Pain in Healthy and Chronic Pain Samples. Health Psychology, 30(5), 606-14. Download Acrobat file

Lu, Q., Uysal, A.*, & Teo, I.*. (2011). Need Satisfaction and Catastrophizing: Explaining the Relationship among Emotional Ambivalence, Pain, and Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Health Psychology, 16(5), 819-27. Download Acrobat file

Allen, L. B.*, Lu, Q., Tsao, J. C. I., Haynes, L. P., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2011). Depression mediates the relationship between alexithymia and somatization in a sample of healthy children. Journal of Health Psychology, 16(8), 1177-1186.

Uysal, A.*, & Lu, Q. (2010). Self-handicapping and pain catastrophizing. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(5), 502-505.

Lu, Q., & Stanton, A. L. (2010). How benefits of expressive writing vary as a function of writing instructions, ethnicity and ambivalence over emotional expression. Psychology & Health, 25(6), 669-684.Download Acrobat file

Tsao, J. C. I., Allen, L. B. *, Evans, S., Lu, Q., Myers, C. D., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2009). Anxiety Sensitivity and Catastrophizing: Associations with Pain and Somatization in Non-clinical Children. Journal of Health Psychology, 14(8), 1085-1094.

Zeltzer, L. K., Recklitis, C., Buchbinder, D., Zebrack, B., Casillas, J., Tsao, J. C. I., et al. (2009). Psychological Status in Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Report From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. J Clin Oncol, 27(14), 2396-2404. Download Acrobat file

Allen, L. B., Lu, Q., Tsao, J. C. I., Worthman, C. M., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2009). Sex differences in the association between cortisol concentrations and laboratory pain responses in healthy children. Gender Medicine, 6(Part 2), 193. Download Acrobat file

Evans, S., Tsao, J. C. I., Lu, Q., Kim, S. C., Turk, N., Myers, C. D., et al. (2009). Sex Differences in the Relationship Between Maternal Negative Life Events and Children's Laboratory Pain Responsivity. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 30(4), 279-288. Download Acrobat file

Tsao, J. C. I., Lu, Q., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2008). Beyond traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy: Novel psychological and alternative approaches to pediatric pain. Journal of Pain Management, 1(2), 81-89. Download Acrobat file

Evans, S., Lu, Q., Tsao, J. C. I., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2008). The role of coping and race in healthy children's experimental pain responses. Journal of Pain Management, 1(2), 151-162. Download Acrobat file

Zeltzer LK, Lu Q, Leisenring W, Tsao JCI, Recklitis C, Armstrong G, Mertens AC, Robision LL, Ness KK. (2008) Psychosocial outcomes and health-related quality of life in childhood cancer survivors: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 17(2): 435-46. Download Acrobat file

Lu Q., Tsao, J. C. I., Myers, C. D., Kim, S. C., & Zeltzer, L. K. (2007). Coping predictors of children's laboratory-induced pain tolerance, intensity, and unpleasantness. Journal of Pain, 8(9), 708. Download Acrobat file

Tsao, J.C.I., Lu, Q. Su, K., Myers, C.D. & Zeltzer, L.K. (2006) Structural equation modeling of the relationships among parent and child anxiety sensitivity and child laboratory pain. Journal of Pain. 2006 May; 7(5):319-26. Download Acrobat file

Tsao, J.C.I., Lu, Q. Su, K., & Zeltzer, L. (2006) Relationships among anxious symptomology, anxiety sensitivity and laboratory pain response in children: A structural equation modeling approach. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, 33: 207-215. Download Acrobat file

Lu, Q., Zeltzer, L., Tsao, JCI, Kim, SC & Naliboff, B.D. (2005) Heart rate mediation of sex differences in pain tolerance in children. Pain, 118, 185-193. Download Acrobat file

Lu, Q., Lu, M., & Dunkel Schetter, C. (2005) Learning from success and failure in psychosocial interventions: An evaluation of low birth weight prevention trials. Journal of Health Psychology. 10, 185-195. Download Acrobat file

Zhang, A. Q., & Lu, Q. (2002) The regulation of self-efficacy and attributional feedback on motivation. Social Behavior and Personality, 30, 281-288

Zhang, A.Q., Guan, P.L., Zhou, F.G, & Lu, Q. (2002). The models of judgments of behavior responsibility in Chinese culture from an attributional perspective. Social Behavior and Personality, 31, 205-214