Aloen L. Townsend, PhD

Ralph S. and Dorothy P. Schmitt Professor
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Aloen Townsend is the Ralph S. and Dorothy P. Schmitt Professor of Social Work. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and is a Faculty Associate in the University Center on Aging and Health. She received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and joined the Mandel faculty in 2001.

Her primary research interests are in adult development and aging, family relationships, mental and physical health, and the interface between families and formal service systems. Past research projects have focused on multiple roles of middle-generation caregiving women, benefits to families of using adult day services for older relatives with dementia, and physical health and emotional distress in middle-aged and older married couples, all funded by the National Institute on Aging. In collaboration with Hospice of the Western Reserve, she developed a tool for assessing family caregiver strain and resources during end-oflife care (funded by a Social Work Leadership Development Award from the Project on Death in America). Her current research investigates the impact of cancer and comorbidities on psychosocial quality of life of middle-aged and older married couples.

Biosketch
Curriculum Vitae

Teaching Information

Courses Taught

SSBT 508. Adult Development and Dysfunction
SASS 615. Social Statistics and Data Analysis
SASS 618. Measurement Issues in Quantitative Research

Research Information

Research Interests

  • Adult development and aging
  • Research methods and statistics
  • Physical and mental health
  • Families and formal service systems

Research Projects

Physical Health and Emotional Distress of Middle-Aged and Older Married Couples
Aloen L. Townsend, Principal Investigator
Baila Miller, Co-Principal Investigator
The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
Margie Rodriguez Le Sage, Minority Scholar School of Social Work, Michigan State University

Family Assessment Collaboration to Enhance End-of-Life Support
(FACES)

Principal Investigator: Aloen L. Townsend, Ph.D. (Case Western Reserve University)
Co-Investigators:
Karen Ishler, M.A. (Case Western Reserve University)
Carol Matthews, MSN, APRN (Hospice of the Western Reserve)
Elizabeth Pitorak, MSN, APRN (Hospice of the Western Reserve)
Beth Shapiro, MSSA, LISW (Hospice of the Western Reserve)
Elizabeth Vargo, MSSA, LISW (Hospice of the Western Reserve)
Funded by a Social Work Leadership Development Award from the Project on Death in America
(an initiative of the Open Society Institute, part of the Soros Foundations)

Cancer, Comorbidities, and Psychosocial Quality of Life of Married Couples
Aloen L. Townsend, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator), The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
Karen F. Bowman, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator), Department of Sociology
Julia Hannum Rose, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator), School of Medicine
Funded by the Aging and Cancer Research Program (P20 CA103736),
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
03/2005-02/2007

Recent Funding

Recent Grants

Pain and Psychological Distress in Middle‐aged and Older Married Couples
Faculty Mentor (Doctoral Dissertation Scholar: Karen Ishler)
New York Community Trust (Fahs‐Beck Fund for Research & Experimentation)
$3,875
2011–2012

Fellowships with Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board
Faculty Mentor (Seok Joo Kim & Hyunsoo Kim, Doctoral Students)
The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County
$12,000
2010–2011

Care Network for Formal and Informal Caregivers
Co‐Investigator  
(Diana Morris, Principal Investigator, School of Nursing, CWRU)
Prentiss Foundation
$1,250,000 (MSASS Funding:  $27,860)
2004–2010

Publications

Recent Publications

Curl, A., & Townsend, A. (2014).  A multilevel dyadic study of the impact of retirement on self-rated health: Does retirement predict worse health in married couples? Research on Aging, 2014 May;36(3):297-321. doi: 10.1177/0164027513486900. Epub 2013 May 7.

Mehrotra, C., Townsend, A., & Berkman, B.(2014). A National Training Program in Aging Research for Social Work Faculty.  Educational Gerontology, 2014 Apr 1;40(4):242-247.

Lim, J-W., & Townsend, A. (2012). Cross-ethnicity measurement equivalence of family coping for breast cancer survivors.  Research on Social Work Practice., 22(6), 689-703.

Townsend, A. (2012). "Innovative research methods for family gerontology."  In R. Blieszner & V. Bedford (Eds.), Handbook of Families and Aging (2nd ed., pp. 61-88) Santa Barbara, CA:  ABC-Clio (Praeger).

Peek, M. K., Stimpson, J., Townsend, A., & Markides, K. (2006). Well-being in older Mexican American spouses. The Gerontologist, 46(2), 258-65.

Townsend, A., Ishler, K., Vargo, E., Shapiro, B., Pitorak, E., & Matthews, C. (2006). The FACES project: An academic-community partnership to improve end-of-life care for families.  Journal of Gerontological Social Work (Special Issue on “Partnering with the Community through Research and Curricular Innovation”). 2007;50(1-2):7-20.

Pot, A. M., Zarit, S. H., Twisk, J. W. R., & Townsend, A. L. (2005). Transitions in Caregivers' Use of Paid Home Help: Associations With Stress Appraisals and Well-Being. Psychology and Aging, 20(2), 211-219.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.20.2.211

Min, M., Townsend, A., Miller, B., & Rovine, M.  (2005). Supplemental private health insurance and depressive symptoms in older married couples. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 61, 293-312.

Jarrott, S., Zarit, S., Stephens, M. A., Townsend, A., & Greene, R. (2005). Instrumental help and caregivers’ distress: Effects of change in informal and formal help.  American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, 20(3),181-190.

Norton, T., Gupta, A., Stephens, M. A., Martire, L., & Townsend, A. (2005). Stress, rewards, and change in the centrality of women’s family and work roles: Mastery as a mediator. Sex Roles, 52(5-6), 325-335.

Miller, D., & Townsend, A. (2005). Urban hassles as chronic stressors and adolescent mental health: The Urban Hassles Index.  Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 5, 85-94.

Rodriguez LeSage, M., & Townsend, A. (2004). Acculturation and depressive symptoms in Mexican American couples. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 10, 131-154.

Miller, B., Townsend, A., & Ishler, K. (2004).Change in marital dissatisfaction, health, and depression in older married couples.  Journal of Mental Health and Aging, 10, 65-77.

Atienza, A., Stephens, M. A., & Townsend, A. (2004). Role stressors as predictors of changes in women’s optimistic expectations.  Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 471-484.

Gaugler, J., Jarrott, S., Zarit, S., Stephens, M. A., Townsend, A., & Greene, R. (2003). Respite for dementia caregivers: The effects of adult day service use on caregiving hours and care demands.  International Psychogeriatrics, 15, 37-58.

Zarit, S., Stephens, M. A., Townsend, A., Femia, E., & Greene, R. (2003). Give day care a chance to be effective: A commentary (Commentary on “Evaluation of geriatric day care units: Effects on patients and caregivers” and authors’ reply). The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 58, Issue 3, 1 May 2003, Pages P195–P196, https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/58.3.P195.

Gaugler, J., Zarit, S., Townsend, A., Stephens, M. A., & Greene, R. (2003). Evaluating community-based programs for dementia caregivers: The cost implications of adult day services. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 22, 118-133.

Gaugler, J., Jarrott, S., Zarit, S., Stephens, M.  A., Townsend, A., & Greene, R. (2003). Adult day service use and reductions in caregiving hours: Effects on stress and psychological well-being for dementia caregivers.  International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 18, 55-62.

Atienza, A., Stephens, M. A., & Townsend, A. (2002). Dispositional optimism, role-specific stress, and the well-being of adult daughter caregivers. Research on Aging, 24, 193-217.

Norton, T., Stephens, M.  A., Martire, L., Townsend, A., & Gupta, A. (2002). Change in the centrality of women’s multiple roles: Effects of role stress and rewards. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 57, Issue 1, 1 January 2002, Pages S52–S62, https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/57.1.S52

Edwards, A., Zarit, S., Stephens, M. A., & Townsend, A. (2002). Employed family caregivers of cognitively impaired elderly: An examination of role strain and depressive symptoms.  Aging & Mental Health, 6, 55-61.

Townsend, A., Miller, B., & Guo, S. (2001). Depressive symptomatology in middle-aged and older married couples: A dyadic analysis. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 56B, S352-S364.

Leitsch, S.,  Zarit, S., Townsend, A., & Greene, R. (2001). Medical and social adult day service programs: A comparison of characteristics, dementia clients, and their family caregivers.  Research on Aging, 23, 473-498.

Miller, B., Townsend, A., Carpenter, E., Montgomery, R., Stull, D., & Young, R. (2001). Social support and caregiver distress: A replication analysis. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 56B, S249-S256.

Stephens, M. A., Townsend, A., Martire, L., & Druley, J. (2001). Balancing parent care with other roles: Interrole conflict of adult daughter caregivers. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 56B, P24-P34.

Presentations

Recent Presentations

Townsend, A., Oh, Y., Ishler, K., Rose, J.  (November, 2012). Health and depressive symptomatology of aging male cancer survivors: A matched comparison design. Poster presented at the 65th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, San Diego, CA.

Education

Doctor of Philosophy
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Master of Arts
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Bachelor of Arts
Occidental College