Research Interests

Broadly speaking, we work to conceptualize the relationships between mood, cognition, and medical and functional aspects of health in ways that are informative to the evolving needs of mental health and medical professionals delivering integrated care to older adults. The American population is rapidly aging, with enormous growth of the population over age 65. Improving our understanding of adverse developmental and clinical trajectories has become a significant public health concern. In addition, depression throughout the lifespan is a major public health burden. Indeed, depression is broadly associated with adverse health outcomes including frailty, dementia, loss of independence, and increased mortality.

Indeed, many older adults experience increasing levels of support from friends and family.  Caregiving of older adults with life-limiting conditions is becoming increasingly common as the American population ages. Over 42 million Americans provide care to adults with limitations, and over 60 million provide functional support to another adult at some point each year. The economic value of informal caregiving is estimated at over $450 billion annually. Elder care in general is emerging as a critical public healthcare issue, with informal caregiving as one key aspect. Many older adults prefer to age in place, and despite the escalating challenges associated with aging and dementia care, many family members wish to provide in-home support for as long as possible.  To promote these efforts, much of our research and clinical work focuses on caregiving relationships and caregiver support groups.

In summary, our research represents the intersection of gerontology, health psychology, and clinical neuropsychology with an emphasis on depression, cognition, and caregiving.

If you are interested in using the Paulson-Lichtenberg Frailty Index, please see:
Paulson-Lichtenberg Frailty Index

The following are some recent publications:

Lichtenberg, P. A., Sugarman, M. A., Paulson, D., Ficker, L. J., Rahman-Filipiak, A. (In Press). Psychological and Functional Vulnerability Predicts Fraud Cases in Older Adults: Results of a Nationally Representative Longitudinal Study. Clinical Gerontologist.

Paulson, D., Bassett, R. (In Press). Prepared to care: Adult attachment and filial obligation. Aging & Mental Health.

Paulson, D., Horner, M. D., Bachman, D., (2015). A Comparison of Four Embedded Effort Indices for the RBANS in a Memory Disorders Clinic. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 30 (3) 207-216. 

Paulson, D., Lichtenberg, P. (2015). The Paulson-Lichtenberg Frailty Index: Evidence for a self-report measure of frailty. Aging and Mental Health, 19 (10), 892-901.

Hershenberg, R. Paulson, D., Gros, D. F., Acierno, R. (2014). Does amount and type of activity matter in behavioral activation? A preliminary investigation of the relationship between pleasant, functional, and social activities and outcome. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 13, 1-16.

Miller, L. R., Eshelman, A., Paulson, D., Armstrong, R., Brown, K. A., Moonka, D., Abouljoud, M. (2014). Beyond survival: How well do transplanted livers work? A comparison of standard-risk, high-risk, and living donor recipients. American Journal of Transplantation, 28, 691-698.

Russo, T. F., Leach, C. A., Lysack, C. L., Paulson, D., Lichtenberg, P. A.(2014). Efficacy of a train-the-trainer curriculum for increasing occupational therapists’ mental health knowledge. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 30 (1), 90-106.

Sugarman, M. A., Jacobs, D. R., Paulson, D., Tomlinson, M., Lichtenberg, P. A. (2014). Examination of the cognitive profile of adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome using the Dementia Rating Scale-2: A pilot study. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 39 (1), 102-109. DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2013.870330

Paulson, D., Bowen, M. E., & Lichtenberg, P. A. (2013). Does brain reserve protect older women from vascular depression? Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 69 (2), 157-167.

Paulson, D., Lichtenberg, P. A. (2013). Vascular depression and frailty: A compound threat to longevity. Aging and Mental Health, 17 (7), 901-910.

Lysack, C. L., Leach, C., Russo, T. F., Paulson, D., Lichtenberg, P. A. (2013). DVD training for depression identification and treatment in older adults: A two group randomized waitlist control study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67 (5),584-593.

Paulson, D., Lichtenberg, P. A. (2013). Vascular depression: An early warning sign of frailty. Aging and Mental Health. 17 (1), 85-93. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2012.692767.

Lichtenberg, P.A., Stickney, L., Paulson, D. (2013). Is psychosocial vulnerability related to the experience of fraud in older adults? Clinical Gerontologist. 36 (2), 132-146. DOI: 10.1080/07317115.2012.749323.

Lichtenberg, P.A., Stickney, L., Paulson, D. (2013). Is psychosocial vulnerability related to the experience of fraud in older adults? Clinical Gerontologist. 36 (2), 132-146. DOI: 10.1080/07317115.2012.749323.

Raykov, T., Lichtenberg, P. A. Paulson, D. (2012). Examining the missing completely at random mechanism in incomplete data sets: A multiple testing approach. Structural Equation Modeling, 19, 399-408. DOI: 10.1080/10705511.2012.687660

Paulson, D., Bowen, M. E., Lichtenberg, P. A. (2011). Successful aging and longevity in older-old women: The role of depression and cognition. Journal of Aging Research. 2001. doi:10.4061/2011/912680

Paulson, D., Lichtenberg, P.A. (2010). Effect of caregiver family status on caregiver stress and care recipient symptom severity. Clinical Gerontologist, 34, 132-143. doi:10.1080/07317115.2011.539518