Health & Well-being in Social Context

creating a culture of wellnessFaculty and Graduate Students in this research concentration are concerned with investigation into the processes that promote health and well-being at the individual, familial, community, and societal levels.

Working within a Human Development and Family Studies framework, researchers examine these processes across the life span and in interaction with socio-economic, community, cultural, environmental, and institutional systems. Adopting the World Health Organization’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” HDFS faculty use multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches as well as a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to better understand the social and psychological contexts of health and well-being.

Research projects in this area encompass basic, applied and policy-oriented research. Some of the numerous topics actively being studied in our department include: prevention and intervention activities in various contexts and across the life span; strategies for coping with chronic illness; disability studies and the social aspects of disability in the context of the family; children’s conduct and mood disorders; youth development; risk & resilience; sexual health; cancer survivorship and personal development; policies to improve nutrition and health; weight bias and discrimination.

Graduate students in HDFS are offered opportunities to be involved at all levels of research via investigator-initiated, externally-funded grants as well as through government-funded contracts. Research practical experiences in health and policy settings are encouraged as students progress through their doctoral experience.

For students interested in our health and well-being concentration, please see the Center for the Study of Culture, Health and Human Development, the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy, and the Rudd Center for more information on research opportunities in these areas.

More information and a view of the complete range of health and well-being research activities can be obtained by exploring the work of our individual faculty members.