Health and Wellbeing

Health concerns are central to family life across the developmental spectrum. Parents of young children often closely monitor their children's health. Youth gradually develop greater responsibility for managing their healthcare. Families become increasingly important as adults face health care changes in old age. Faculty who work in this area are guided by the bio-psychosocial model. Particular areas of study are well-being and physical health in later-life, family functioning and coping with cancer.

Faculty Research

Sharon Christ

Dr. Christ studies 1) the relationships between work characteristics and health across the life course, 2) how adolescent’s exposure to maltreatment affects their social, emotional, and physical health, 3) and how visual impairment impacts health and mortality among aging adults. Her work in these areas has a strong methodological focus.

Cézanne Elias

Dr. Elias' research focus centers on how physical health and wellbeing and patient activation impacts aging individuals, caregivers, and other subsystems within and outside of the family system. She is currently studying the impact of patient-physician behaviors in decision making and pain assessment on health outcomes.

Melissa M. Franks

Dr. Franks’ research is focused on social influences on physical health and psychological well-being in later life. Her current work addresses interpersonal interactions between married partners that promote one partner’s proper management of type 2 diabetes. In her collaborative work with Dr. Friedman, she also explores linkages between social interactions and health outcomes among midlife and older adults managing multiple chronic conditions.

Elliot Friedman

A centerpiece of Dr. Friedman's research is the role of positive psychological functioning in the maintenance of health and the biological mechanisms involved.

Valerie S. Knopik

A major component of Dr. Knopik’s work focuses on women who change substance use behavior during pregnancy, and the correlates that accompany this change in behavior.  Other ongoing research efforts, examine the effects of yoga and mindfulness practices on overall quality-of-life and wellbeing. Dr. Knopik examines mental health outcomes, academic outcomes, and in certain projects, pain outcomes.. She is also a part of collaborations examining genetic, environmental, and physiological contributions to physical health outcomes, including sleep in college students.

Pi-Ju (Marian) Liu

Dr. Liu is interested in care coordination for older adults. She worked with state agencies to evaluate health outcomes of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries receiving coordinated care and long-term services and supports.

Kristine Marceau

A major component of Dr. Marceau’s work is on correlates and consequences of physiological and pubertal development. Dr. Marceau primarily examines mental health outcomes. She is also a part of collaborations examining genetic, environmental, and physiological contributions to physical health outcomes, including sleep and obesity.

Carolyn McCormick

Dr. McCormick is interested in how physiological activity is related to processes like emotion regulation and social engagement and how these processes influence psychopathology.

Kameron Moding

Dr. Moding investigates the development of food preferences, healthy eating patterns, and obesity risk during infancy and early childhood.

Maggie O'Haire

Dr. O’Haire examines the psychosocial effects of human-animal interaction. She studies how interacting with animals (e.g. companion animals, service animals, or therapy animals) may influence human health and well-being across a variety of populations and settings.

A. J. Schwichtenberg

Early childhood sleep trajectories are a key area of Dr. Schwichtenberg’s research. From infancy to school entry, Dr. Schwichtenberg assesses the role(s) of sleep development in at-risk populations (e.g., infants born preterm, siblings of children with an autism spectrum disorder).

Cleveland Shields

Dr. Shields’ research examines how older patients interact with physicians and nurse practitioners to obtain the medical care they need. He also collaborates with colleagues at Purdue and at IU to examine how adolescents talk to their physicians or other health providers about health and sexuality.

Zoe Taylor

Dr. Taylor is interested in individual differences in physiological reactivity and regulation in response to stress, and their relations to processes of risk and resilience. She is particularly interested in exploring how stress physiology is associated with psychological health and how it contributes to other markers of adjustment such as emotion regulation.

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