Department Chair and Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
4341 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Psychology and Social Behavior
gerontology, social relationships, health
My research focuses on social psychological factors that affect older adults’ psychological and physical health, particularly their friendships and family relationships. I am interested in such issues as: 1) how aspirations and expectations for social network involvement change as people grow older, and how these changes influence their life satisfaction; 2) how older adults seek to compensate for, or adapt to, the loss of important social relationships, 3) how experiences of conflict versus support with social network members affect older adults’ emotional health; 4) how interactions with family members and friends influence older adults’ self-care practices and health behaviors, and 5) how older adults strive to achieve an optimal balance of solitude and social contact in their lives. Other work is concerned with the antecedents and consequences of loneliness in young adulthood and later life.
A new study is examining how family members may help or hinder each other’s efforts to improve their health behavior. We are investigating this question in the context of a clinical trial funded by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases that is focused on promoting weight loss and increased physical activity among Latina women who have an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes or complications from diabetes.