Elaine Wethington

Professor Emerita and Graduate School Professor


I am Professor Emeritus (Active) of Human Development and of Sociology and Professor Gerontology in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. I am also an Adjunct Research Professor at the Survey Research Center, University of Michigan. As a medical sociologist, Since 2003, I have been Co-Director and Director of the Pilot Study Core for the Cornell Edward R. Roybal Center (currently the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life). I study stress across the life course and how factors such as support from others may buffer the impact of stress on mental and physical health.  I have been interested in this topic for most of my career because it is a way to “translate” basic research into ways that can improve people’s health.  I am currently working on projects relating to work and family stress in young families, the impact of life events and stress on lifestyle and health behaviors, social relationships and support among older adults, disparities in the diffusion of curative care for Hepatitis C, and multi-level intervention designs to improve health. I am a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Gerontological Society of America.

I collaborate with colleagues at Weill Cornell Medical College, the University of Michigan, the Jeb Brooks Policy School, and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research to develop projects that aim to improve public health and promote equitable access to health care.   My research has been funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute on Food and Agriculture, Smith-Lever., and the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences.

Research Focus

  • Medical Sociology
  • Sociology of Aging and the Life Course
  • Translational Research Methods


Wethington, Elaine and Rachel Dunifon.  2012.  Research for the Public Good: Applying the Methods of Translational Research to Improve Human Health and Well Being.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Chang, Pamara F., Natalya N. Bazarova, and Elaine Wethington. 2020. “How Older Adults with Chronic Pain Manage Social Support Interactions with Mobile Media.” Health Communication. DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2020.1846272  PMCID: PMC8105429

Zhang, Xue, Mildred E. Warner, and Elaine Wethington. 2020. “Can Age-Friendly Planning Promote Equity in Community Health across the Rural-urban Divide in the US?” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17(4):1275 doi: 10.3390/ijerph17041275 PMCID: PMC7068446

Agrawal, Tara, Tracey J. Farrell, Elaine Wethington, and Carol M. Devine. 2019. “Change and Continuity in Low-income Working Mothers’ Food Practices for Young Children in Response to Life Events.”  Maternal and Child Health Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-019-02755-y. Published online June 28, 2019.

Wethington, Elaine, Christopher Eccleston, Geri Gay, Rachael Gooberman-Hill, Patricia Schofield, Liz Bacon, Wen Dombrowski, Robert Jamison, Max Rothman, Lauren Meador, Cara Kenien, Karl Pillemer, Corinna Loeckenhoff, and M. Carrington Reid.  2018. “Establishing a Research Agenda on Mobile Health Technologies and Later-Life Pain Using an Evidence-Based Consensus Conference Approach.” Journal of Pain. 19(12):1416-1423. PMCID: PMC6289607

Adams, Philip, Elizabeth L. Murnane, Michael Effenbein, Elaine Wethington, and Geri Gay. 2017. “Supporting the Self-Management of Chronic Pain Conditions with Tailored Momentary Self-Assessments.” Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing. Denver, CO, May 6-11. PMCID: PMC6176683

Yeary, Karen Hye-cheon Kim, Jeffery Sobal, and Elaine Wethington. 2017. “Religion and Body Weight: A Review of Quantitative Studies.” Obesity Reviews. On-line first, July 27, 2017.

Phillips, Erica G., Mary Charlson, Martin T. Wells, Ginger Winston, Rosio Ramos, Carol M. Devine, Elaine Wethington, Janey Peterson, and Brian Wansink. 2017. “Innovative Approaches to Weight Loss in a High Risk Population: The Small Changes and Lasting Effects (SCALE) Trial.” Obesity 25(5):833-841. PMCID: PMC5404988

Ong, Anthony, Bert Uchino, and Elaine Wethington. 2016. “Loneliness and Health in Older Adults: A Review and Synthesis.” Gerontology 62(4):443-9. doi:10.1159/000441651. PMCID: PMC6162046

Blake, Christine E., Elaine Wethington, Tracy J. Farrell, Carole A. Bisogni, and Carol M. Devine.  2011. “Behavioral Contexts, Food Choice Coping Strategies, and Diet Quality of Employed Parents.”  Journal of the American Dietetic Association 111:401-407. PMCID: PMC3418595

Sutin, Angelina R., Paul T. Costa, Elaine Wethington, and William W. Eaton.  2010. “Perceptions of Stressful Life Events as Turning Points Are Associated with Self-Rated Health and Psychological Distress.”  Anxiety, Stress, & Coping 23:479-492. PMCID: PMC2891226

Ganzel, Barbara, Pamela Morris, and Elaine Wethington.  2010. “Allostasis and the Human Brain:  Integrating Models of Stress from the Social and Life Sciences.”  Psychological Review 117:134-174.  PMCID: PMC2808193

Sabir, Myra, Elaine Wethington, Risa Breckman, Rhoda Meador, M. Carrington Reid, and Karl Pillemer.  2009. “A Community-Based Participatory Critique of Social Isolation Intervention Research for Community-Dwelling Older Adults.”  Journal of Applied Gerontology 28:218-34. PMCID: PMC4142440