What is the Study?

STARS is a study for healthy women who feel stressed or down. By participating in STARS, over time, you will help us understand more about how to promote stress resilience, which means bouncing back from a stressful experience quickly and in a healthy way. For example, after experiencing stress, negative feelings and stress hormones would fade more quickly. Stress resilience is an important part of healthy aging and well-being.


What is the Goal?

Woman in Grey Sweater

The goal of STARS is to improve the mind and body health of women who lead stressful lives. To meet this goal, we need to understand how stress affects your life, and support you in learning a new breathing technique that we think will help you respond to stress in a healthy way. STARS explores how stress affects your mind, body, and life, by asking you survey questions, measuring your body, asking you to take part in social and thinking tasks, and giving saliva and blood samples.

What does it mean to join?


As a participant in STARS, you will meet with the study team 2 times at UCSF – once at the start and again at the end. Each time you will be asked to:

  • Take part in social and thinking tasks.

  • Wear sensors to measure how your body responds to the tasks.

  • Give saliva and blood samples.

In between meetings with the study team, you can do these tasks from home:

  • Complete surveys online.

  • Track your mood and sleep in daily diaries.

  • Practice your assigned stress-relief habit for 15 minutes each morning for 3 weeks.

Doctor's Visit

Who is conducting?


STARS is being conducted by research scientists at University of California, San Francisco. Intervention practices are designed with input from national experts and advisors in stress, meditation, exercise and breathing. Learn more about our research team here.


How is my information being shared?

Your participation in STARS helps research scientists about how a short-term daily habit can improve women’s health. Your personal information (name, email, etc.) will be separated from your data, so it cannot be traced back to you.

How is the study funded?


We are supported by resources from the University of California, San Francisco, research grants, and gift from the John W. Brick Foundation. We are actively seeking more funding to expand this research on women's health, mood, stress resilience. Please contact us if you'd like to support STARS.


Location of the study

This study is located at the University of California, San Francisco, Laurel Heights and Parnassus Campus. Your study visit may be at one of the two sites in San Francisco, easily accessible by public transportation or by car.