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Workshop Reports

Reports & Summaries

The Effect of Education on Recent Dementia Trends: A Look Forward

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Aging (NIA) commissioned the Committee on Population to convene an expert meeting on September 14, 2016, to provide advice on the most pressing issues related to dementia trends and education and to generate new ideas for research that will contribute to the welfare of the United States. The meeting agenda included introductory remarks followed by invited presentations and discussions, which included important themes. A meeting summary (PDF, 308KB) is available.


Retrospective Recall and Prospective Observations of Childhood Adversity: Challenges and Opportunities in Their Use in Aging Research

The Reversibility Network, funded by the National Institute on Aging, held its fifth meeting on November 1-2, 2016 in Bethesda, MD. The meeting brought together researchers whose work covers the spectrum of development from infancy through late life to discuss the use of retrospective and prospective measures of early life adversity. The meeting included discussions of 1) associations between adversity and health outcomes in retrospectively and prospectively assessed cohorts; 2) improving identification in adulthood of cohorts identified prospectively in childhood; and 3) the relationship of early adversity to the course of illness and response to treatment: special problems for ascertainment. A meeting summary (PDF, 1.1MB) is available.


Modifying Facets of Personality in Midlife to Promote Well-Being and Healthier Aging

On June 9-10, 2016, the National Institute on Aging Division of Behavioral and Social Research held a workshop to discuss the potential promise of modifying facets of personality to promote well-being and healthier aging. Invited speakers included experts in personality and aging, behavioral treatment research, and behavioral interventions for healthy aging. The workshop was organized in four major sessions: 1) Personality and Healthy Aging; 2) The NIH Stage Model of Behavioral Intervention Development; 3) Targeted, Mechanism-Focused Stage I Behavioral intervention Development; and 4) Revisiting the Stage Model with Technology. Upon adjournment of the meeting, there was consensus among the meeting participants that the field is well-poised to develop and adapt interventions to modify facets of personality to promote health aging. An agenda (PDF, 125K), list of participants (PDF, 73K), and meeting summary (PDF, 153K) are available. 


Expert Meeting on Novel Methodologies and Approaches for Dyadic Analyses in the Context of the Family and Intimate Relationships

On May 20, 2016, the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) convened an expert meeting identify promising new methodological approaches for advancing research on dyadic processes within family and interpersonal relationships that influence health. Presenters provided a brief overview of current and emerging methods in the relationship sciences. Subsequent discussion focused on: (1) behavioral and physiological measures that can characterize high-quality relationships and explain their associations with health outcomes; (2) gold standard methods for operationalizing quality, satisfaction, and other important aspects of dyadic relationships that should be operationalized; (3) current methodological challenges and possible solutions; (4) relationship processes that have not been, but should be, studied, within dyads and beyond; and (5) the most promising new tools for the study of dyadic relationship processes. A meeting summary (PDF, 254 KB) is available.


Expert Meeting on Health Disparities Across the Life Cycle

On June 23, 2016, the Committee on Population (CPOP) convened in Washington, D.C. to consider health disparities across the life cycle. Sponsored by the Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Health (NIH), the meeting offered a chance to elicit expert input about the implications on research priorities from recent findings documenting rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans. Invited speakers shared their views on the state of the science regarding the life course perspective, effects of inequality and social class, education, cohort, and race/ethnicity on health disparities, as well as needed data, analytical frameworks and future research. A meeting summary (PDF, 621K) is available. 


Health Disparities Across the Life Cycle

On June 23, 2016, the Committee on Population (CPOP) convened in Washington, D.C. to consider health disparities across the life cycle. Sponsored by the Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Health (NIH), the meeting offered a chance to elicit expert input about the implications on research priorities from recent findings documenting rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans. Invited speakers shared their views on the state of the science regarding the life course perspective, effects of inequality and social class, education, cohort, and race/ethnicity on health disparities, as well as needed data, analytical frameworks and future research. A meeting summary (PDF, 649K) is available.


Expert Meeting on the Potential Value of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Data as a Resource for National Institute on Aging Studies

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) commissioned the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to convene an expert meeting on May 4, 2016, to discuss the value of using data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and private health insurance claims as a research resource for NIA-funded studies. Research made possible by linkages to CMS data facilitates CMS purposes as well. Participants examined the role that CMS data can play in enhancing NIA behavioral and social research, the research opportunities that exist, and the limitations associated with these data. They also discussed examples of common and novel uses of CMS data, the different types of data available to researchers, as well as the feasibility of linkages to other data infrastructure studies. A meeting summary (PDF, 633K) is available. 


Mixed Emoti-Con. An interdisciplinary conference on mixed emotions: theory, methods, and applications

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On October 23-24, 2015, the University of Michigan Bio Social Methods Collaborative, with the University of Michigan Institute of Social Research and the National Institute on Aging, held a meeting on the current state of mixed emotions research. Organizers sought to engage conference participants in discussions of open research questions, methodological concerns, and health and policy implications of mixed emotions research. The conference focused on theoretical and methodological issues as well as findings from research studies in a variety of contexts and over the life span. Topics included defining mixed emotions phenomena, simultaneous versus sequential experience of mixed emotions, the value of mixed emotions, and outstanding methodological challenges. A meeting summary (PDF, 478K) is available.


Research Network on Later Life Interventions to Reverse Effects of Early Life Adversity

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The Research Network on Later Life Interventions to Reverse Effects of Early Life Adversity held a meeting on October 6-7, 2015 in New York, NY. The workshop provided an introduction to the Network's goals and conceptual model, and included discussions of 1) mechanisms that may account for the association of early life adversity with adult health outcomes; 2) gene expression mechanisms linking early adversity with adult health; 3) behavioral and brain plasticity in child and adult development; and 4) valid assessment of early adversity in adults. A meeting summary (PDF, 122K) and an agenda (PDF, 29K) are available.


Understanding Pathways to Successful Aging: How Social and Behavioral Factors Affect Health at Older Ages

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On June 11-12, 2015, the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences held a workshop to explore research strategies to enhance mechanistic understanding about social and behavioral influences on aging. To contextualize this discussion and illustrate a range of approaches to testing causal hypotheses, presenters reviewed what is known about three exemplar factors that research has demonstrated are associated with healthy aging: optimism, marital satisfaction, and educational attainment. Subsequent discussions focused on possible research designs that have potential to improve our causal models, including approaches that enable causal inference from longitudinal observational studies, molecular and quantitative genetic approaches, and experimental approaches. These approaches hold potential for illuminating pathways linking a broad range of social and behavioral factors to aging outcomes (beyond the examples discussed at this meeting), and their application may strengthen our mechanistic causal models. This summary report of the workshop discussions and the meeting agenda (PDF, 122K) are available.


Invitational Meeting on Access to Death Records to Support Health Research

The Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) convened an invitational meeting at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to: (1) better understand how the health research community uses death records and how the loss of access to the full Death Master File (DMF) affects health research; (2) better understand the issue from the perspective of the states as represented by the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS); and (3) discuss promising ideas that could facilitate timely, comprehensive, cost-beneficial, and user-friendly means of research access to death records that are consistent with state interests and compliant with state and federal laws. A meeting summary (PDF, 556K) is available.


Future of the Study of the Demography of Aging: A Planning Meeting

The Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) convened a meeting of experts with the National Research Council’s Committee on Population (CPOP) to consider the state of the science and most promising future directions for the demography of aging research. Topics of discussion included: (1) the state of the science in understanding connections between social and environmental factors and mortality, morbidity, and life expectancy; (2) the demography of aging and the family tree; (3) emerging tools, techniques, and approaches to understanding the economics of the demography of aging; (4) lessons learned in CPOP studies of the demography of aging; and (5) the contribution of biodemography to understanding the demography of aging. A meeting summary (PDF, 578K) is available.


NIA Seminar on Loneliness & Social Isolation

On June 4, 2015, the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) convened a seminar sponsored by the Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to solicit expert input on the most promising strategies for advancing intervention development efforts to reduce social isolation and loneliness in mid- to late-life. The seminar included introductory remarks from NIA staff members, four invited presentations, and group discussion. An agenda (PDF, 80K) and meeting summary report (PDF, 615K) of the presentations and discussions are available.


NIH Workshop: Multiple Approaches to Understanding and Preventing Elder Abuse

As part of a national priority to promote elder justice, a key focus of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, NIH is hosting a one-day workshop on understanding and preventing elder abuse and mistreatment. Elder abuse and mistreatment is a growing public health problem, and it has a devastating impact on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. Despite growing awareness, the research field is still relatively new and there remain significant research gaps in detecting, preventing and intervening in elder abuse. Increased understanding of the origins of abuse, risk profiles and effective interventions may resonate across contexts of family violence, including elder abuse, child abuse and intimate partner violence. The purpose of this meeting is to focus on the application of lessons learned across fields, and common challenges and opportunities in elder abuse, child abuse, intimate partner violence and other related fields. An agenda (PDF, 622K), list of background resources (PDF, 111K), including reports from prior workshops, a list of participants (PDF, 397K), and a summary report (PDF, 271K), and video cast of the proceedings are available.


Expert Planning Meeting on Economic Decision-Making in Aging Populations

The National Research Council’s Committee on Population and the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive & Sensory Sciences convened a meeting of experts to consider the state of the field and new research directions of relevance to NIA on economic decision making for older populations. Discussions centered on the challenges of financial management in aging, the ability of aging individuals to meet these challenges, and the role of family, community, and others with respect to enabling aging individuals to manage their financial conditions, with a primary emphasis on the impact of poor economic decision making on the health of older persons. A meeting summary report (PDF, 220K) is available.


Expert Meeting on Pathways and Mechanisms Linking Behavioral and Social Factors to Health

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) commissioned the National Academies Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences to convene  an expert meeting to advise NIA on the most promising avenues for research to illuminate the pathways by which social, psychological, economic, and behavioral factors affect health in midlife and at older ages. Discussion focused on potential strategies for pooling and integrating existing longitudinal data, analytic techniques and intervention designs that permit causal analysis, exploring short-term processes as a window on long-term pathways, and the potential of genetically informed designs and approaches from the neurosciences to advance analysis of pathways. A meeting agenda (PDF, 52K) and summary report (PDF, 587K) are available.  Speaker biographies (PDF, 78K) are also available.


Network on Reversibility Meeting

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The third and final Network on Reversibility meeting was held on October 14th and 15th, 2013 in London, UK. This workshop was hosted by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) with support from the National Institute on Aging.  Meeting participants concluded a two year survey of a range of human and animal studies that a) clarified the observed links between early pre and postnatal adversity and adult health; b) suggested both psychological and biological mechanisms that accounted for these links and c) indicated directions for adult internventions that might diminish the risk of early adversity. Meeting participants suggested a set of focused objectives for future research including a) more accurate estimates of risk of adult illness attributable to early adversity, b) animal and human pilot studies of interventions to reduce that risk, c) more basic research on neuroplasticity particuarly that directed at "reopening" critical periods of learning that typify early childhood and d) a special focus on the pregnancy and early infancy as an unusual opportunity for interventions that would reduce risk in both parent and child. An agenda, attendee list, and executive summary of the meeting is available here.


White House workshop on Psychological Science and Behavioral Economics in the Service of Public Policy

On May 22, 2013, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), NIH, in collaboration with the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the Association for Psychological Science (APS), convened a meeting of eminent scientists from the fields of psychology and behavioral economics.  The presentations highlighted the potential for social and behavioral research to play a more influential role in the service of public policy, discuss strategies for bringing important research findings to the attention of policy makers, and identify lessons that can be learned from approaches undertaken in the United Kingdom Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team to leverage behavioral research findings. While NIA does not support policy research per se, findings from the basic behavioral and social science research that it does support are an important resource for informing policies that address the multiple causes of the U.S. health disadvantage. A meeting summary (PDF, 849K) and speaker biographies (MS Word, 2.0M) are now available.


Conference on Policy Research and Data Needs to Meet the Challenges of Population Aging in Asia, New Delhi, India

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The second of two planned conferences convened by the Committee on Population (CPOP) at the National Academies of Science.  This conference, organized in conjunction with the Indian National Science Academy, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Indonesian Academy of Sciences, and Science Council of Japan and supported by NIA, assembled leading scientists to present the latest trends in population aging in Asia, to discuss the potential for greater international collaboration and to engage senior Asian policymakers and planners in dialogue.  A NAS publication, Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives contains the peer-reviewed collection of papers from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand that were presented at this conference hosted by the Indian National Science Academy in New Delhi, and papers from the first conference, which was hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing in 2010. The papers in the volume highlight the contributions from new and emerging data initiatives in the region and cover subject areas such as economic growth, labor markets, and consumption; family roles and responsibilities; and labor markets and consumption. The full report is available from the National Academies Press website.

 


Conference on Policy Research and Data Needs to Meet the Challenges of Population Aging in Asia—Beijing, China

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The first of two planned conferences convened by the Committee on Population (CPOP) at the National Academies of Science.  This conference, organized in conjunction with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Indonesian Academy of Sciences, and Science Council of Japan and supported by NIA, assembled leading scientists to present the latest trends in population aging in Asia, to discuss the potential for greater international collaboration and to engage senior Asian policymakers and planners in dialogue.  A NAS publication, Aging in Asia: Findings from New and Emerging Data Initiatives contains the peer-reviewed collection of papers from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand that were presented at this conference hosted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, and papers from the second conference, which was hosted by the Indian National Science Academy in New Delhi. The papers in the volume highlight the contributions from new and emerging data initiatives in the region and cover subject areas such as economic growth, labor markets, and consumption; family roles and responsibilities; and labor markets and consumption. The full report is available from the National Academies Press website.


Positive Psychobiology

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There is increasing recognition that positive psychological functioning (PPF; including constructs such as optimism, positive emotions, and social connectedness) influences health above and beyond negative psychological functioning (including constructs such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness). Most research on the relationship between PPF and markers of health to date has focused on deteriorative biological processes and related health outcomes. Significantly less is known about restorative biological processes that may underlie health-relevant aspects of PPF. It seems possible that the biology associated with PPF is not merely the inverse of the processes associated with negative psychological functioning, particularly because the absence of negative psychological functioning does not necessarily indicate the presence of PPF. Despite greater exploration in recent years of the relationship between PPF and physical health, understanding of the underlying mechanisms is still limited.  To address this need, the Princeton University Center for Research on Experience and Wellbeing (CREW), an Edward R. Roybal Center for Translation Research in the Behavioral and Social Sciences of Aging funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), hosted the Workshop on Positive Psychobiology in Miami, Florida, on March 12 and 13, 2013. A diverse group of experts gathered to review the status of the field, discuss current challenges, and identify future research priorities. A meeting summary report is available.


Directions for Sociology Research Relevant to NIA

On August 2, 2008, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) convened a discussion of research, data, and training needs in the area of sociology research relevant to the NIA. The gathering was timed to coincide with the 103rd annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Boston. This document summarizes points made during the presentations and discussion. There was no attempt to define a consensus. The agenda is included as appendix I.


Network On Reversibility: Mid-Life Reversibility Of Early Established Biobehavioral Risk Factors

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Links between early prenatal and postnatal adverse experiences and physical and mental health in late adulthood have become well established.  Animal and human studies suggest that some of these risk persistence mechanisms are malleable. In fact, preventive interventions well into adult life may blunt or even reverse their negative effect on trajectories of health in aging individuals. In February 2013, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR) convened a diverse team of experts for a second meeting on the Network on Reversibility with the goals to develop a program of research that tests feasible preventive interventions that might counter or compensate for risk persistence mechanisms influenced or induced by early adversity and to marshal a transdisciplinary approach to estimate the likely impact of such a program. A summary report of the workshop is available here.


Expert Meeting on Cost-Effective Household Screening Methods for the Health and Retirement Study

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) commissioned the Committee on National Statistics to convene an expert meeting to advise the NIA on approaches to identifying eligible participants aged 51 to 56 years old in 2016 for the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Traditional methods of screening households for the HRS have been expensive; identifying individuals from a narrow age band and recruiting statistically meaningful samples of Hispanic and black minorities are two key cost drivers during previous waves of screening. The expert meeting considered alternative screening methods that potentially could be less expensive without sacrificing a high quality, representative sample. A meeting summary is available here.


Motivation and Aging: Toward the Next Generation of Behavioral Interventions

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Expert Meeting, June 18-19, 2012, The National Academies. The purpose of this meeting was to bring together select individuals with expertise in behavioral interventions, motivation theory, aging and life course development, and personality psychology to discuss how to apply knowledge and approaches from these fields to successful interventions to increase motivation in aging populations and improve aging outcomes. Discussions were designed to explore how a contemporary understanding of motivation can help us understand why some adults in mid-life or older adulthood develop economic and health-related problems associated with dependence, loneliness, and failures of self-control, and the interventions that may maximize autonomy, social engagement, and responsible care of self and others. Background paper (PDF, 196K), think pieces (PDF, 171K), a detailed agenda (PDF, 110K),  and the participant list and biographies (PDF, 92K) are available.