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Healthy Aging and Life Events Lab (Infurna)

Keywords: resilience to major life stressors; adult development and aging; psychosocial and health development; lifespan development; longitudinal research methodology

Lab Research Area:

Under the guidance of Dr. Frank Infurna, the Healthy Aging and Life Events Lab’s mission is to examine resilience to major life stressors and psychosocial and work predictors of healthy aging in adulthood and old age. Health events and life transitions occur across adulthood and old age and we examine the role of these have for shaping the course of well-being and factors that assess why individuals exhibit differential patterns. Furthermore, we focus on examining whether and how psychosocial factors such as perceived control and job characteristics are associated with cognitive functioning, disability, disease, and mortality. To address our research questions, we apply contemporary methods of longitudinal analysis to longitudinal panel surveys.

Upcoming studies plan to expand upon these lines of research by using daily diary research designs to help elucidate the mechanisms involved in why psychosocial factors and job characteristics contribute to healthy aging and why individuals exhibit differential patterns when they are confronted with health events and life transitions.

Lab Director and Principal Investigator: Frank J. Infurna, PhD, Assistant Professor

Dr. Infurna earned his PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University. Before coming to ASU, he was a Visiting Research Scholar at the German Institute for Economic Research and a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Institute of Psychology at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. In his spare time, he enjoys playing and watching sports, reading, traveling, hiking, the outdoors, and doing CrossFit.  Curriculum Vitae.

Graduate Students

Saul Castro, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology

Nicoletta Fraire, Doctoral Student, Developmental Psychology, Department of Psychology


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Join the Team!

If you're an undergraduate with good grades, an interest in research and career plans that include graduate or professional school in medicine, psychology, or a related field, then visit our research opporutunity webpage.  Preference is given to Department of Psychology majors but all are invited to apply!


Select Publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from Dr. Infurna's research and lab. A more complete listing may be found in Dr. Infurna's curriculum vitae.

In press
Hoppmann, C.A., Infurna, F.J., Ram, N., & Gerstorf, D. (in press). Associations among individuals’ perceptions of future time, individual resources, and well-being in old age. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.

Infurna, F.J., & Luthar, S.S. (in press). The multidimensional nature of resilience to spousal loss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Infurna, F.J., Okun, M.A., & Grimm, K.J. (in press). Volunteering is associated with a decreased risk for cognitive impairment. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Infurna, F.J., & Wiest, M. (in press). The effect of disability onset across the adult lifespan. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.  

Infurna, F.J., Wiest, M., Gerstorf, D., Ram, N., Schupp, J., Wagner, G.G., & Heckhausen, J. (in press). Changes in life satisfaction when losing one’s spouse: Individual differences in anticipation, reaction, adaptation, and longevity in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). Ageing and Society.

Pappas, C., Andel, R., Infurna, F.J., & Seetharaman, S. (in press). Blood glucose and cognitive aging in older adults with and without diabetes: Results from the Health and Retirement Study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Schöllgen, I., Morack, J., Infurna, F.J., Ram, N., & Gerstorf, D. (in press). Health sensitivity of older adults: Age differences in the within-person coupling of individuals’ physical health and well-being. Developmental Psychology.   

Gerstorf, D., Hoppmann, C.A., Löckenhoff, C.E.,  Infurna, F.J., Schupp, J., Wagner, G.G., & Ram, N. (2016). Terminal decline in well-being: The role of social orientation. Psychology and Aging, 31, 149-165.

Infurna, F.J., Gerstorf, D., Ram, N., Schupp, J., Wagner, G.G., & Heckhausen, J. (2016). Maintaining perceived control with unemployment facilitates future adjustment. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 93, 103-119.

Infurna, F.J., & Luthar, S.S. (2016). Resilience has been and will always be, but rates declared are inevitably suspect: Reply to Galatzer-Levy and Bonanno. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 199-201.

Infurna, F.J., & Luthar, S.S. (2016). Resilience to major life stressors is not as common as thought. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 175-194.

Schade, H.M., Hülür, G., Infurna, F.J., Hoppmann, C. A., & Gerstorf, D. (2016). Partner dissimilarity in life satisfaction: Stability and change, correlates, and outcomes. Psychology and Aging, 31, 327-339.

Okun, M.A., Infurna, F.J., & Hutchinson, I. (2016). Are volunteer satisfaction and enjoyment related to cessation of volunteering by older adults? The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 71, 439-444.

Andel, R., Infurna, F. J., Hahn, E. A., Crowe, M., Marchiondo, L., & Fisher, G. G. (2015). Job strain and trajectories of change in episodic memory before and after retirement: Results from the Health and Retirement Study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 69, 442-446.

Infurna, F. J., & Mayer, A. (2015). The effects of mastery and constraints on mental and physical health: Conceptual and methodological considerations. Psychology and Aging, 30, 432-448.

Infurna, F. J., Rivers, C. T., Reich, J., & Zautra, A. J. (2015). Childhood trauma and personal mastery: Their influence on emotional reactivity to everyday events in a community sample of middle-aged adults. PLOS ONE, 10, e0121840.

Infurna, F. J., Gerstorf, D., Ram, N., Sprangers, M. A. G., Schupp, J., & Wagner, G. G. (2014). Linking concurrent self-reports and retrospective informant-reports about the last year of life: A prevailing picture of life satisfaction decline. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 69, 695-709.

Infurna, F. J., & Gerstorf, D. (2014). Perceived control relates to better functional health and lower cardio-metabolic risk: The mediating role of physical activity. Health Psychology, 33, 85-94.  

Fisher, G. G., Stachowski, A., Infurna, F. J., Faul, J. D., Grosch, J., & Tetrick, L. E. (2014). Mental work demands, retirement, and longitudinal trajectories of cognitive functioning. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19, 231-242.

Books & Book Chapters

In press
Infurna, F.J.(in press). Mastery across adulthood. The SAGE Encyclopeida of Lifespan Human Development.

Infurna, F.J., & Infurna, C.J. (in press). The development of perceived control. In J. Specht (Ed.), Personality development across the lifespan. Elsevier.

Belton, D.A., Ebbert, A.M., & Infurna, F.J.(in press). Social intelligence. Global Encyclopedia of Public Adiministration, Public Policy, and Governance.

Infurna, F.J., & Reich, J. (2016). Perceived control: 50 years of innovation and another 50 to go. In J. W. Reich, & F.J.Infurna (Eds.), Perceived control: Theory, research, and practice in the first 50 years (pp. 1-22). New York: Oxford University Press.

Infurna, F.J., Gerstorf, D., Ram, N., & Heckhausen, J. (2016). Analytic strategies for the study of adaptation to major life events: Making the most of large-scale longitudinal surveys. In H.-P. Blossfeld, J. von Maurice, & J. Skopek (Eds.), Methodological Issues of Longitudinal Surveys: The Example of the National Educational Panel Study (pp. 19-35). Springer VS.  

Infurna, F.J., & Mayer, A. (2016). Longitudinal/Panel designs. The Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging, 1-7.

Reich, J. W. & Infurna, F.J.(Eds.) (2016). Perceived control: Theory, research, and practice in the First 50 Years. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Zautra, A.J., Infurna, F.J., Zautra, E., Gallardo, C.E., & Velasco, L. (2016). The humanization of social relations: Nourishment for resilience. In A. Ong, & C. E. Löckenhoff (Eds.), Emotion, Aging, and Health (pp. 207-227). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


In the news and more!


Prestigious Oxford University Press publishes new book by Emeritus Professor Dr. John Reich and Assistant Professor Dr. Frank Infurna, “Perceived Control: Theory, Research, and Practice in the First 50 Years” (posted 4 Oct 2016).



From The New York Times: When a Spouse Dies, Resilience can be Uneven  featuring work by Department of Psychology faculty Drs. Frank Infurna and Suniya Luthar (posted 26 Sep 2016).


Resilience In the News.

Researchers have a new theory about how tragedies affect us  (Washington Post, 3/25/16)
Science Explains Why Time Doesn’t Necessarily Heal Emotional Pain  (Huffington Post, 3/25/16)
Most people aren’t resilient to life’s hardships, researchers find  (Quartz, 3/20/16)

New research from the Healthy Aging and Life Events Lab shows that resilience is not as common as once thought with most people being deeply affected and taking several years to recover - time they may not have. Future research aims to further explore notions of resilience by examining whether resilience manifests similarly across outcomes, risk, and protective factors that promote more positive outcomes, and ways in which we can enhance individuals’ capability to be resilient in adulthood. Given the sheer size of this giant Boomer cohort, research with this group promises to be a data big box store for decades.