""Associate Professor
email
Heritage Hall 460

Research and Teaching Interests: Aging; Health, Disability and Mortality; Families and the Life Course; Gender and Racial/Ethnic Inequality; Quantitative Methods

Office Hours: T/R 2:00-3:30PM or by appointment (Fall Semester)

Education:

  • BA, Cornell University, Human Development & Family Studies
  • MA, The Pennsylvania State University, Sociology and Demography (Dual-Title)
  • PhD, The Pennsylvania State University, Sociology and Demography (Dual-Title)

As a social demographer, my research lies at the intersection of health, families, and aging. I focus on the development and consequences of ill-health—with attention to variations by marital status, gender, and race/ethnicity, and among vulnerable populations. My work is interdisciplinary—cutting across sociology, gerontology, human development, and health services.

I am currently engaged in two primary streams of inquiry on health and disability among midlife and older adults. The first focuses on the social context of disablement. In this work, I situate the psychosocial consequences of physical disability within older adults’ interpersonal social relationships, with specific attention to marriage and gender. I draw on life course and stress process perspectives to understand how functional limitations affect the quality of social relationships, and how those relationships buffer the psychosocial effects of functional impairments.

My second stream of research is concerned with the development and consequences of multimorbidity, which is the co-occurrence of chronic health conditions, functional limitations, and other age-related conditions outside the traditional disease paradigm. As part of a multidisciplinary research team with colleagues from several other institutions, I am examining how such complex clinical presentations affect older adults’ perceptions of their health and their healthcare use. I am especially interested in how chronic diseases and functional limitations co-occur with what the medical/health services disciplines refer to as “geriatric syndromes”—other common age-graded conditions (e.g., vision impairment, cognitive impairment) that are outside of the traditional disease paradigm. Geriatric syndromes are significant because they present situational challenges that make navigating the physical and social world difficult.

In addition to these two streams of research, I am branching into new areas via collaboration. For example, I am involved in a research team bridging scholarship in family sociology, criminology, human development, and health to investigate how youth violent victimization shapes union formation and other family behaviors, and the subsequent consequences thereof for well-being in adulthood.

At various universities, I have taught a number of courses including, Families and Society, Working Class Families, Sociology of Marriage; Social Problems, Introduction to the Sociology of Aging, Population Dynamics, Aging and the Life course, and Graduate Research Methods.

  • Introduction to Medical Sociology
  • Social Statistics
  • Outstanding Publication Award. Section on Aging and the Life Course, American Sociological Association, 2014
  • Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the Nebraska Association for Sociology Graduate Students, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2013-2014
  • Editorial Board, Research on Aging (2016- Present)
  • Editorial Board, Society & Mental Health (2015-Present)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Health & Social Behavior (2016-2018)
  • External Advisory Group, Carolina Center on Alzheimer’s Disease and Minority Research (CCADMR)
  • American Sociological Association
  • Population Association of America
  • Interdisciplinary Association of Population Health Science (IAPHS)
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • Southern Sociological Society
  • National Council for Family Relations
  • Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (SLLS)
  • American Society of Criminology