Elaine Wethington


Elaine Wethington

G58 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Phone: (607) 255-2918 Fax: (607) 255-9856
Email: ew20@cornell.edu
View Cornell University Contact Info
Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:
Dr. Elaine Wethington is Professor of Human Development, Sociology, and Gerontology in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. She is one of the Associate Directors of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. Her major research interests include social relationships, integration, and isolation in midlife and older adulthood, and the role of stressful in affecting mental and physical health across the life course. She is editor-in-chief of Society and Mental Health, the official journal of the Section of the Sociology of Mental Health of the American Sociological Association. Since 2003 she has been Co-Director and Director of the Pilot Study Core for the Cornell Edward R. Roybal Center for the Translation of the Behavioral and Social Sciences of Aging, the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life. Her current research focuses on developing efficient measures of toxic stress in families, relationship transitions, and exposure to major and minor stressors that can be used in longitudinal studies of the population in surveys, randomized controlled trials with frequent follow-up, and on smartphones. She is also one of the co-investigators of the Program in Youth Development and Engagement in BCTR, directing the social media project.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

I teach basic and advanced undergraduate courses on gerontology, health disparities, and health and social behavior 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.

Current Professional Activities:

Co-Principal Investigator and Pilot Study Director, Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (Edward. R. Roybal Center at Cornell; a Weill Cornell - Ithaca collaboration)

Editor-in-chief, Society and Mental Health

Member, American Sociological Association, Gerontological Society of America, and American Public Health Association

Current Research Activities:
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.

Current Public Engagement Activities:
Co-investigator, Program of Research on Youth Development and Engagement, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research


A.B. 1972 - Indiana University, Bloomington, History

M.A. 1975 - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, History

Ph.D. 1987 - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Sociology

Courses Taught:

HD/SOC 2510, Aging and the LIfe Course: Introduction to Social Gerontology
HD3570/SOC3670, Social Inequalities in Physical and Mental Health
HD/SOC 4570, Health and Social Behavior
HD 6510, Seminar on Interdisciplinary Community-Based Scientific Research on Health Disparities

Related Websites:


Administrative Responsibilities:

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Human Development

Selected Publications:
Garner, Christine D., Stephanie L. Ratcliff, Loralei T. Thornburg, Elaine Wethington, Cynthia R. Howard, and Kathleen M. Rasmussen. 2016. “Discontinuity of Breastfeeding Care: ‘There’s No Captain of the Ship.’” Breastfeeding Medicine 11(1):32-9. PMCID: PMC4742991 Eldridge, Johanna, Carol M. Devine, Elaine Wethington, Luz Aceves, Erica Phillips-Caesar, Brian Wansink, and Mary Charlson. 2016. “Environmental Influences on Small Eating Behavior Changes to Promote Weight Loss among Black and Hispanic Populations.” Appetite 96(1):129-37. PMCID: PMC4685945 Ong, Anthony, Bert Uchino, and Elaine Wethington. 2016. “Loneliness and Health in Older Adults: A Review and Synthesis.” Gerontology 62(4):443-9. doi:10.1159/000441651. PMCID: PubMed – in process Winston, Ginger J., Erica G. Phillips, Elaine Wethington, Martin Wells, Carol M. Devine, Brian Wansink, Rosio Ramos, Janey Peterson, and Mary Charlson. 2015. “The Relationship between Social Network Body Size and the Body Size Norms of Black and Hispanic Adults.” Preventive Medicine Reports 2:941-5. PMCID: PMC4685945 Winston, Ginger, Erica G. Phillips, Elaine Wethington, Carol M. Devine, Martin T. Wells, Janey C. Peterson, Jessica Hyppolyte, Rosio Ramos, Guillerma Martinez, Johanna Eldridge, and Mary Charlson. 2015. “Social Network Characteristics Associated with Weight Loss among Black and Hispanic Populations.” Obesity 23:1570-6. PMCID: PMC4669882 Phillips-Caesar, Erica, Brian Wansink, Ginger Winston, Carol M. Devine, Bala Kanna, Elaine Wethington, Walid Michelen, Martin T. Wells, James Hollenberg, Janey Peterson, and Mary Charlson. 2015. “Small Changes and Lasting Effects (SCALE) Trial: The Formation of a Weight Loss Behavioral Intervention Using EVOLVE.” Contemporary Clinical Trials 41:118-28. PMCID: PMC449882 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. doi: 10.1017/S1368980014001529. Wethington, Elaine and Rachel Dunifon. 2012. Research for the Public Good: Applying the Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well Being. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Blake, Christine E., Elaine Wethington, Tracy J. Farrell, Carole A. Bisogni, and Carol M. Devine. 2011. “Behavioral Contexts, Food Choice Coping Strategies, and Diet Quality of Employed Parents.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 111:401-407. PMCID: PMC3418595 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. Sutin, Angelina R., Paul T. Costa, Elaine Wethington, and William W. Eaton. 2010. “Perceptions of Stressful Life Events as Turning Points Are Associated with Self-Rated Health and Psychological Distress.” Anxiety, Stress, & Coping 23:479-492. PMCID: PMC2891226 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 117:134-174. PMCID: PMC2808193 Sabir, Myra, Elaine Wethington, Risa Breckman, Rhoda Meador, M. Carrington Reid, and Karl Pillemer. 2009. “A Community-Based Participatory Critique of Social Isolation Intervention Research for Community-Dwelling Older Adults.” Journal of Applied Gerontology 28:218-34. PMCID: PMC4142440 Wethington, Elaine, Risa Breckman, Rhoda Meador, Mark S. Lachs, M. Carrington Reid, Myra Sabir, and Karl Pillemer. 2007. “The CITRA Pilot Studies Program: Mentoring Translational Research.” The Gerontologist 47:845-50. PMCID: PMC3981742 Wethington, Elaine and Karl Pillemer. 2007. “Translating Basic Research into Community Practice: The Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging (CITRA).” Forum on Public Policy Online. (http://www.forumonpublicpolicy.com Winter 2007). PMCID: PMC4401078 Sabir, Myra, Risa Breckman, Rhoda Meador, Elaine Wethington, M. Carrington Reid, and Karl Pillemer. 2006. “The CITRA Research-Practice Consensus Workshop Model: Exploring a New Method of Research Translation in Aging.” The Gerontologist 46:833-39. Devine, Carol M., Margaret Jastran, Jennifer A. Jabs, Elaine Wethington, Tracy J. Farrell, and Carole A. Bisogni. 2006. “ ‘A Lot of Sacrifices:’ Work-Family Spillover and the Food Choice Coping Strategies of Low Wage Employed Parents.” Social Science and Medicine 63:2591-603. PMCID: PMC1694441 Wethington, Elaine. 2005. “The Life Course Perspective on Health: Implications for Health and Nutrition.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 37:115-20.

Selected Keywords:
Medical sociology, Gerontology, Sociology of mental health and illness, Aging, Translational research, Stress, Social support, Midlife, Human development

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.