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Talks at Twelve: Carol Devine and Elaine Wethington, Monday, February 22, 2016

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Large and Small Life Events among Overweight and Obese Black and Latino Adults in a Behavior Change Trial
Carol Devine, Division of Nutritional Sciences and Elaine Wethington, Human Development

Monday, February 22, 2016
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room

It is widely believed that stressor exposure can negatively affect health. However, the impact of stressors on health behaviors is not well understood. Professors Wethington and Devine developed an interval life events (ILE) measurement method, which assesses exposure to both major stressors (life events) and minor stressors (hassles), for use in clinical trials or observational studies. They evaluated this method in the Small Changes and Lasting Effects (SCALE) trial. SCALE is a community-based intervention promoting small changes in diet and physical activity among overweight and obese African-American and Hispanic adults to discover how stressors interfere with behavior change or trial participation. In their talk Wethington and Devine will report on their findings.


Professor Elaine Wethington (human development; sociology; Weill Cornell Medicine) studies stress and social support processes across the life course. She is co-principal investigator on SCALE, a weight loss intervention with low income Black and Latino adults in New York City, and co-director and MPI for the Translational Research Institute for Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL).

Professor Carol Devine, Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell, studies how food choices over the life course are shaped by life transitions, social roles, and the lived environment. She is co-investigator on SCALE.


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Networking event on pain in later life sparks new connections

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TRIPLL co-director Elaine Wethington speaking with Information Sciences grad student Alex Adams (l) and Communications associate professor Jeff Niederdeppe (r)

TRIPLL co-director Elaine Wethington speaking with Information Sciences grad student Alex Adams (l) and Communications associate professor Jeff Niederdeppe (r)

On October 21st the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL) hosted a networking event for over 30 invited researchers at the Statler Hotel on Cornell campus.  TRIPLL, an NIH-funded Edward R. Roybal Center, fosters multidisciplinary collaborations among researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, faculty at Cornell’s Ithaca Campus, Cornell Tech, and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR), with the goal of understanding and treating pain in older adults.

An introduction by TRIPLL director Cary Reid (Weill Cornell Medical College) noted key challenges in the field. “Up to half of all older adults live with chronic pain,” Reid said, “but diagnostic and treatment approaches have yet to catch up to this reality.” To address this concern, Reid highlighted a range of resources offered by TRIPLL to engage new researchers in the field, including pilot funding, webinars, feedback on project proposals, matchmaking with potential collaborators, and access to participant populations.

“Promising new approaches to treat pain may come from wide variety of fields,” said TRIPLL co-director and interim BCTR director Elaine Wethington. She continued, “for this event we reached out to researchers in social, behavioral, economic, environmental, biological, communication, and information sciences. Basic scientists can sometimes feel daunted when trying to extend their work to clinical settings and patient populations. TRIPLL provides the guidance and resources to help secure study participants.”

Current and past TRIPLL pilot investigators spoke about the support TRIPLL gave them, helping them secure local and federal support for their research.

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New research initiative to promote positive youth development

(0) Comments  |   Tags: 4-H,   Andy Turner,   Anthony Burrow,   Elaine Wethington,   Jane Mendle,   Karl Pillemer,   Marie Cope,   PRYDE,   youth,   youth development,  

Anthony Burrow and Jane Mendle

Anthony Burrow and Jane Mendle

The BCTR is pleased to announce the launch of a new initiative called the Program for Research on Youth Development and Evaluation (PRYDE). Continuing the legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner, the program will link science and service in innovative ways by involving 4-H communities in basic and applied research designed to understand and improve youth experiences.

PRYDE is led by BCTR faculty affiliates Anthony Burrow and Jane Mendle, both faculty members in the Department of Human Development. The program is supported by a BCTR-funded post-doctoral fellow, Jennifer Agans, as well as an advisory committee of 4-H and BCTR faculty and staff including Andy Turner, Karl Pillemer, Elaine Wethington, and Marie Cope. PRYDE’s initial projects include the development of an interactive mapping tool for Cornell faculty and staff to identify 4-H Youth Development programs with populations that meet their research needs, as well as and a new study to examine the role of purpose in youth engagement in 4-H programs.

These activities will lay the groundwork for PRYDE’s primary goal of creating a nationally prominent program for translational research on youth development to benefit the thousands of urban and rural 4-H participants in New York State and beyond. Stay tuned for resources and opportunities to get involved!

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The midlife crisis myth

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Elaine Wethington

Elaine Wethington

Do a significant number of people experience stress about aging in midlife, leading to sudden life changes and sports car purchases? They do not, according to a new study. A recent post on explains that there is no evidence that people experience greater stress or more major life changes in midlife as opposed to other ages. BCTR acting director Elaine Wethington is referenced in the post, further clarifying another factor that may lead to belief in the myth of the midlife crisis:

Cornell University sociologist Elaine Wethington talks about the midlife crisis as a case of “expected stress.” You think everyone will have a midlife crisis so you feel you have to fit into the mold. If you don't, you think there's something wrong with you.

Worried about a midlife crisis? Don't. There's no such thing. - Psychology Today

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The Legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner



Evans, Sternberg, Wethington, Ceci, Hamilton, and Eckenrode

The BCTR is named in honor of Urie Bronfenbrenner, the renowned developmental psychologist who taught at Cornell for over fifty years. This September 18th a panel of Cornell faculty reflected on Urie's enduring legacy in the field. In his introduction, BCTR director John Eckenrode expressed the hope that the panel discussion would rectify a knowledge gap among newer members of the College of Human Ecology (CHE) and the university about Urie and his importance to human development and the college as a whole.  The panel was moderated by BCTR associate director Stephen Hamilton.

The panelists were all professors of human development who were influenced by Urie's work. All but Sternberg were also colleagues of Urie's in the CHE department of human development. Elaine Wethington, center associate director, was co-author with Bronfenbrenner, Stephen Ceci, and others on The State of Americans: This Generation and The Next. Stephen Ceci worked on Urie's research projects in the 1980s. Gary Evans  took a class with Urie as a faculty member and went on to  co-teach with Urie. Robert Sternberg was acquainted with Urie and feels the impact of Urie's research in his own work.

Gary Evans

Gary Evans

Gary Evans noted that, while the impact of Urie's research is profound, he was also an engaged and influential teacher. Evans quotes Urie himself on teaching:

As a teacher, I have seen as my main goal enabling students to experience the adventure, and hard-won harvest, of disciplined, creative thought that goes beyond any one discipline. To be sure transmitting knowledge is also important, but today’s knowledge is sure to be surpassed by tomorrow’s. Thus, the greatest gift one can give to the young is to enable them to deal critically and creatively with new answers, and the new questions, that the future brings.

In the event video, Evans refers to this quote and to figures in a handout, which can be seen here.

Stephen Hamilton relayed a story of Urie testifying before a senate committee and being asked what it takes to produce a well-functioning human being. Urie replied, simply, "Somebody's gotta be crazy about the kid."

For an anecdote about the strange, interesting story about Urie and the naming of the College of Human Ecology, see minute 15:40 of the event video.


Panelists recall legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner - Cornell Chronicle

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The Legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner


September 18, 2014

Welcome by John Eckenrode, director, BCTR
Stephen Ceci, Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology
Gary Evans, Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology
Robert Sternberg, Professor of Human Development
Elaine Wethington, Professor of Human Development; associate director, BCTR
Moderated by Stephen Hamilton, Professor of Human Development; associate director, BCTR

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The Legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner, Thursday, September 18, 2014

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The Legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner
Stephen Ceci, Gary Evans, Robert Sternberg, Elaine Wethington

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Ten-Eyck Room, Nevin Welcome Center The Plantations

This event will feature leading faculty in the College of Human Ecology reflecting about Urie Bronfenbrenner’s impact on current research and practice and on their own work. The format will be an interactive, informal conversation.

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TRIPLL researchers receive Community Collaboration Award

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Pillemer, Reid, Wethington

Pillemer, Reid, Wethington

This April, researchers from the BCTR's Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL) were awarded the Faculty Excellence in Community Collaboration Award from Cornell Engaged Learning + Research and the Office of Academic Diversity InitiativesKarl Pillemer, Cary Reid, and Elaine Wethington were the recipients. The award recognized TRIPLL's unique approach to researcher-community partnerships and its involvement of students in engaged research.

TRIPLL is an academic-community collaboration among investigators at Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell-Ithaca, Columbia University Mailman School of Public, the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY), and the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, Inc. TRIPLL's model of translational research involves an ongoing cycle of basic science, health-relevant findings, human health application, intervention, diffusion to practice, and public health impact.

TRIPLL engages graduate and undergraduate students through research assistantships, internships, seminars, and workshops. Students' areas of research include advance care planning, music therapy, social isolation, disaster preparedness, and use of opioids for pain.

Service-learning event honors student, faculty projects - Cornell Chronicle

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Boomers pioneer new retirement housing trends

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Elaine WethingtonA recent article on Yahoo! Finance reports that, according to the National Association of Home Builders, almost one fourth of remodelers surveyed last year were doing work so that boomers could age in place. The BCTR's Elaine Wethington, co-director of the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life, was quoted in the article,

For many, the desire to age in place stems from the difficulty boomers have had in caring for their own elderly parents who lived far away. Such long-distance relationships have left many adult children feeling “stressed and powerless,” says Elaine Wethington, a sociology professor who directs the Translational Research on Aging Center at Cornell University. By remaining close to their own kids, boomers are hoping to make things easier as they age.

Boomers pioneer new retirement housing trends - Yahoo! Finance

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“Women, Science and Motherhood” features Wethington

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Elaine WethingtonThe BCTR's Elaine Wethington talks about the career vs. motherhood choice that female academics face and her own decision to pursue her academic career in a new video produced by the Cornell Institute for Women in Science. Stanka Fitneva, professor of psychology at Queen's University, Canada, also describes her personal experience of having a child while working in academia. Additionally, Wendy M. Williams, professor of human development at Cornell and founder and director of the Cornell Institute for Women in Science, offers commentary and historical perspective.

Women, Science and Motherhood: Then and Now

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