Behavioral Health and Aging Research Projects and Publications

The research team in the Behavioral Health and Aging Research Lab is devoted to promoting mental health and wellbeing across the lifespan, with a focus on developing and adapting behavioral health interventions that are responsive to the unique needs and strengths of older adults.

Research Studies

Social Connection Study

Have you been feeling isolated and alone? Dr. Emily Bower in the School of Graduate Psychology is conducting a study to learn more about social connections and how it may prevent isolation and promote healthy aging. 

Eligible participants will complete an interview and assessments via Zoom video and online surveys. Compensation is provided for time. 

If you or someone you know is 60 years or older, contact the Behavioral Health and Aging Research Lab to learn more about the study. Call 503-352-6439 or email BowerLab@pacificu.edu. All calls are confidential.

This study is approved by the Pacific University Human Subjects Research Ethics Committee. irb@contact.pacificu.edu | 503-352-6508

AFSP Study

Have you noticed a decline in your memory or thinking? Dr. Emily Bower in the School of Graduate Psychology is conducting a study to learn more about health factors that may increase or decrease risk of suicide for some people who notice changes in memory or thinking. 

Eligible participants will complete an interview and assessments via Zoom video and online surveys. Compensation is provided for time.

If you or someone you know is 60 years or older and have noticed a change in memory or thinking, contact the Behavioral Health and Aging Research Lab to learn more about the study. Call 503-352-6439 or email BowerLab@pacificu.edu. All calls are confidential.

This study is approved by the Pacific University Institutional Research Board, effective Dec. 6, 2021, expiring June 1, 2023. IRB 0004173 FWA00007392. Reference 098-21.

Recent Publications and Presentations

Members of the Behavioral Health and Aging Research Lab team have recently published or presented the following:

Bower, E. S., & Mai, J.* (in press). Suicide in later life. Comprehensive Clinical Psychology, 2nd Edition.

Mai, J.*, Loskot, T.*, Newman, A.*, Bower, E. & Van Orden, K. (2022, April). Evaluating the validity of the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale for lonely older adults [Poster presentation]. 2022 Western Psychological Conference, Portland, OR.

Bower, E.S., Newman, A*, Reohr, P.*, Van Orden, K. A. (2021, November). Social connection planning for lonely or social isolated older adults. In J. Lee (Chair), Social Connection in Times of Physical Distancing. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, online.

Simons, K. V., Bower, E. S., Gillespie, S. M., Mills, W. L. (2021). Care transitions to the community from VA nursing homes: Experiences of social connection and disconnection. JAMDA, 22(3), 682-688. doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2020.07.029

Sullivan, J. L., Engle, R. L., Shin, M. H., Davila, H., Tayade, A., Bower, E., Pendergast, J., & Simons, K. V. (2021). Social connection and psychological adjustment psychosocial adjustment among older male Veterans who return to the community from VA nursing homes. Clinical Gerontologist, 44(4), 450-459. doi: 10.1080/07317115.2020.1812141

Dozier, M. E., & Bower, E. S. (2021). Assessment and treatment of hoarding disorder in rural-dwelling older adults. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Hilgeman, M., Simons, K., Bower, E. S., Jacobs, M. L., Hagemann, L., Eichorst, M, Luci, K. (2021). Improving suicide risk detection and clinical follow-up after discharge from nursing homes. Clinical Gerontologist., 44(5), 536-543. doi: 10.1080/07317115.2021.1927280

Van Orden, K. A., Bower, E., Beckler, T. Rowe, J., & Gillespie, S. (2021). The Use of Robotic Pets with Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Clinical Gerontologist.

Madrigal, C., Bower., E., Simons, K., Gillespie, S. M., Van Orden, K., & Mills, W. L. (2021). Assessing social functioning during COVID-19 and beyond: Tools and considerations for nursing home staff. JAMDA, 22(10), 1989-1997. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2021.07.022

Van Orden, K. A., Bower, E., Lutz, J., Silva, C., Gallegos, A. M., Podgorski, C. A., Santos, E. J., & Conwell, Y. (2020). Strategies to promote social connections among older adults during ‘social distancing’ restrictions. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 29(8), 816-827. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.05.004

Loskot, T*., Alcaraz, J., & Reohr, P. (2022, November). Perceptions of cognitive aging and health behaviors among Hispanic and Latino/x older adults: Results from a qualitative and community-engaged study. Poster presented at the 78th Oregon Public Health Association Annual Conference & Meeting, Corvalllis, OR. 

Reohr, P. , Loskot, T.*,  Alcaraz, J., & Deleon Dale, S. (2022, November). Willingness to seek help and perceptions of control over cognitive aging among Hispanic and Latino/x older adults: Results from a qualitative and community-engaged study. Poster presented at the 78th Oregon Public Health Association Annual Conference & Meeting, Corvalllis, OR. 

Alcaraz, J., Loskot, T.*, & Reohr, P. (2022, November). Perceived effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health aging among Hispanic and Latino/x older adults: Results from a qualitative and community-engaged study. Presentation conducted at the 78th Oregon Public Health Association Annual Conference & Meeting, Corvalllis, OR

* indicates student/trainee/mentee

Contact Us

Behavioral Health and Aging Research Lab
503-352-6439 | BowerLab@pacificu.edu