UMass Professors Study Issues Of Aging

AMHERST – Four professors at UMass, Amherst, who have formed an aging interest group, will soon begin conducting new research on the effects of aging.
New faculty members Rebecca Ready, Psychology, and David Marquez, Exercise Science, are collaborating with aging experts Susan Krauss Whitbourne and Tammy Rahhal, both from the Psychology Department.


Several studies are planned for the near future, including investigation of mood, physical activity, and factors that affect memory and recall in seniors. For example, Ready is going to study experiences and recall of mood in elderly persons and examine associations between mood and physical activity. Other projects will focus on elderly persons who are caring for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Marquez is heading the development of a project that aims to increase physical activity in dementia caregivers and improve their mental and physical health.

Ongoing work includes Rahhal’s research that identifies circumstances under which the memory performance of elderly persons can be maximized. Whitbourne’s research interests include personality and identity in midlife as these affect the ‘Baby Boomers’ and she conducts longitudinal investigation on personality development from college through midlife.

“The elderly population is growing at an unprecedented rate and there is a great need to gain a better understanding of psychological and cognitive changes that are a normal part of the again process,” said Rahhal.

Persons aged 60 and over may be eligible to participate in the research. Studies are beginning in January and are mainly conducted at the UMass Amherst campus.