The major purpose of the Life Course Development (LCD) program is to expand our knowledge of social relationships across the lifespan and their implications for mental and physical health. We examine a wide variety of relationships including those with family, friends, spouse, parents, children and peripheral ties from middle childhood to the oldest-old. We are interested in identifying the aspects of relationships (e.g., types of support, conflict, contact frequency) that are most beneficial and or harmful to health and whether these associations vary by key demographic and contextual factors such as marital status, gender, age, race, and education.
LCD research is both interdisciplinary and cross-national in nature. Our primary research staff consists of clinical, developmental and social psychologists. Our research projects have at one time or another also involved people from sociology, social work, anthropology, pharmacy, and the nursing and medical schools. In addition to our work focusing on minority groups in the United States, we have been involved with research studies in Japan, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. All of these studies are designed to further specify our knowledge base concerning social relations among different groups of people varying by age, gender, minority group status in this country, and also by cultural background in other Western and Eastern industrialized countries. Our ultimate goal is to link these social relations with mental and physical health. With this knowledge we hope to help in the design and implementation of intervention and prevention programs to maximize the health and well-being of individuals and families, as well as the communities within which they live.