Beebe Hall
Ithaca, New York
Human Development
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs


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 life events 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.

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.




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.

Agrawal, Tara, Tracy J. Farrell, Elaine Wethington, and Carol M. Devine. Forthcoming, 2018. “Doing Our Best to Keep a Routine: Examining How Low-Income Mothers Manage Child Feeding With Unpredictable Work and Family Schedules.” Appetite 120C:57-66. Doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.10.  Online first, August 31, 2017.


Adams, Philip, Elizabeth L. Murnane, Michael Effenbein, Elaine Wethington, and Geri Gay. 2017. “Supporting the Self-Management of Chronic Pain Conditions with Tailored Momentary Self-Assessments.” Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing. Denver, CO, May 6-11. (peer-reviewed)


Yeary, Karen Hye-cheon Kim, Jeffery Sobal, and Elaine Wethington. 2017. “Religion and Body Weight: A Review of Quantitative Studies.” Obesity Reviews. On-line first, July 27, 2017.


Phillips, Erica G., Mary Charlson, Martin T. Wells, Ginger Winston, Rosio Ramos, Carol M. Devine, Elaine Wethington, Janey Peterson, and Brian Wansink. 2017. “Innovative Approaches to Weight Loss in a High Risk Population: The Small Changes and Lasting Effects (SCALE) Trial.” Obesity 23: 1570-1576


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.


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.

Loeckenhoff, Corinna E., Seth S. Laucks, Alexander D. Port, Judy Tung, Elaine Wethington, and M. Carrington Reid.  2013. “Temporal Horizons in Pain Management: Understanding the Perspectives of Physicians, Physical Therapists, and Their Middle Aged and Older Adult Patients.”  The Gerontologist 53:850-60.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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