Professor of Human Development and Sociology
PhD 1987, University of Michigan
Areas of Interest: Medical Sociology, Sociology of the Family, Gender and the Life Course
I am a medical sociologist, jointly appointed in the Department of Human Development and in the Department of Sociology. I study stress across the life course and how factors such as support from others may buffer the impact of stress on mental and physical health. I have been interested in this topic for most of my career because it is a way to “translate” basic research into ways that can improve people’s health. I am currently working on projects relating to work and family stress in young families, the impact of life events on behavior that affects health, and social support in aging families.
I teach basic and advanced undergraduate courses on gerontology, health disparities, and health and social behavior for the Human Development Aging & Health undergraduate concentration, as well as advanced graduate courses on translational research methods. My courses also contribute to the Gerontology minor at Cornell University. I specialize in advising about careers in medicine, public health and related fields and provide research opportunities for students interested in aging and health.
I collaborate with colleagues at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research to develop projects that improve the experience and treatment of pain among older adults. I am also collaborating with faculty at Weill Cornell Medical College, the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and Applied Economics and Management on basic research and interventions to reduce obesity among low income working adults. I have recently begun a new project on marital quality and health among older adults. My research has been funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of NIH, Smith-Lever., and the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences.
Aging and the Life Course: Introduction to Social Gerontology
Phillips-Caesar, Erica, Brian Wansink, Ginger Winston, Carol Devine, Bala Kanna, Elaine Wethington, Walid Michelen, Martin T. Wells, James Hollenberg, Janey Peterson, and Mary Charlson. Forthcoming. “Small Changes and Lasting Effects: Rationale, Design, and Methods.” Contemporary Clinical Trials.
Cawley, John, Matthew Sweeney, Jeffery Sobal, Brian Wansink, David R. Just, Elaine Wethington, and William Schulze. 2015. “The Impact of a Supermarket Nutrition Rating System on Purchases of Nutritious and Less Nutritious Foods.” Public Health Nutrition 18 (1): 8-14.
Wethington, Elaine and Rachel E. Dunifon. 2012. Research for the Public Good: Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
Sutin, Angelina R., Paul T. Costa, Elaine Wethington, and William W. Eaton. 2010. “Turning Points and Lessons Learned: Stressful Life Events and Personality Trait Development across Middle Adulthood.” Psychology and Aging 25:524-33
Ganzel, Barbara, Pamela Morris, and Elaine Wethington. 2010. “Allostasis and the Human Brain: Integrating Models of Stress from the Social and Life Sciences.” Psychological Review 117:134-74.
Wethington, Elaine and Wendy L. Johnson-Askew. 2009. “Contributions of the Life Course Perspective to Research on Food Decision-making.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 38(Suppl. 1):S74-S80.