Karen Fingerman, PhD

Karen Fingerman, PhD
Professor & Director, Aging Network/Graduate Portfolio in Aging & Health The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Fingerman is a Professor of Human Development & Family Sciences at UT Austin. She studies adult development and aging and directs the Aging Network (an interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students who study aging) and the Graduate Portfolio in Aging & Health. Her research has asked how relationships with family members, friends, and acquaintances change from young adulthood to old age, with particular attention to emotional qualities of ties and support exchanges. She has published over 140 scholarly articles on families and friends in late life. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has funded her work for nearly 20 years. Her prior work has been funded by the Brookdale Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation Network on Transitions to Adulthood and the MacArthur Foundation Network on an Aging Society. Her research has drawn on experience sampling, daily diary, electronically activated recorders (EAR) survey methods, observational techniques, experimental paradigms, and salivary hormone data collection techniques.

Dr. Fingerman directed the Family Exchanges Study, a longitudinal study involving middle-aged adults, their romantic partners, grown children and aging parents. This project has shown the ways in which midlife adults negotiate demands and connections with generations above and below as well as considering the implications of family ties for young adults and older adults. Dr. Fingerman is currently conducting the NIA-funded Daily Experiences and Well-being in Late Life Study looking at over 300 older adults’ social relationships and physical and cognitive functioning in a daily context using a variety of sensory and ecologically valid assessments.