SFU and UBC researchers receive funding to study day-to-day social experiences and health in older adults

February 05, 2024
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Assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Social Relationships, Health, and Aging Theresa Pauly is the Principal Investigator on a new project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant Program.

The title of this project is, “A comprehensive investigation of daily social events and health in older adults.” Pauly will be working on this project together with researchers locally (Dawn Mackey, SFU; Frances Chen, UBC) and internationally (Patrick Klaiber, Netherlands; Susan Charles, US).

Research has shown that positive social interactions such as spending time with loved ones can promote health in older adults. In contrast, negative social events such as conflicts can have adverse health effects. However, the everyday mechanisms through which social relationships get under our skin and relate to health are still not well understood. Through this project, Pauly’s research team aims to address this gap by using innovative methods such as ambulatory daily life assessments, to measure how social factors relate to physiological stress responses in a daily context. Concurrently, this research will also identify resources can contribute to older adults’ resiliency such as savoring and being physically active.

The findings from this project will provide insight for future interventions and help inform public health efforts to improve older adults’ health and mitigate the risks associated with dysregulation of stress response systems. By better understanding paths to older adults’ resiliency, this research led by Pauly will help alleviate some of the pressure that the healthcare system might be facing.