Self-Regulation and Aging: Substrates and Health Consequences

  • Segerstrom, Suzanne (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Suzanne C. Segerstrom is an independent investigator (PhD, 1997) who has established a productive research program in personality, self-regulation, and physiology. The application proposes to protect a high level of research effort (80%) by releasing her from teaching, service, and administrative responsibilities. This support will facilitate an expansion of her research program in the interactions among self-regulation, physiology, well-being, and health in older adults. The application has three foci: (i) executive cognitive function and heart rate variability are predicted to covary with self-regulatory success, (ii) self-regulatory success across domains (e.g., control of repetitive thought, acquisition of social or status resources) is predicted to correlate with mental and physical health, and (iii) social resources will have disproportionate effects on health with increasing age, as predicted by socioemotional selectivity theory. Career development activities under the award will include didactic and experiential training in aging, longitudinal design and analysis, and the responsible conduct of research; collaborations with dedicated aging researchers in cognition, neuropsychology, immunology, neurology, and methodology; and spearheading special projects and meetings. Research activities will include analysis of the relationship between executive function and self-regulation in her existing R01-funded, longitudinal research with community-dwelling older adults (N = 150) and studies of self-regulation and health in the R01 sample, a cross-sectional study of younger and older women focusing on immunosenescence (N=76), a longitudinal follow-up in a study of middle-aged adults (N = 96) that began in 1994, and a longitudinal study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and caregivers (N = 266). Proposed studies illustrating future directions examine the role of goal selection and optimization in promoting psychological and physiological well-being in older women with pain and the role of self-regulation in socioemotional selectivity and the contributions of executive cognitive function and heart rate variability to this relationship in older adults. The University of Kentucky and the Department of Psychology provide a rich environment for the development of this work. It is expected that K02 support would allow Dr. Segerstrom to acquire additional expertise in cognition, physiology, and aging; produce and disseminate cutting-edge research in self-regulation, aging, and health; expand her grant portfolio to continue this line of research; and train PhD students in the conduct of this research.
Effective start/end date3/15/122/28/18


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