Beth (Elizabeth) Fauth received her BS degree in Psychology at Syracuse University and her MS and PhD in Human Development at Penn State University. She is currently an associate professor in the Human Development and Family Studies at Utah State University. Beth teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in gerontology, research methods, and is the coordinator of the graduate program in HDFS.
She conducts research on the integration between well-being and social support and the transition into needing assistance in late life. She also conducts research on stress and well-being in family caregivers of persons with dementia, evaluates psychoeducational interventions for dementia caregivers, and the impact of staff interactions on emotion and engagement in dementia care settings. She also works on mental health prevention in other at-risk adult populations. Beth has received awards for excellence in teaching, research, and service, and is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.
Beth integrates human connection not only in work, but also in her hobbies: socializing, cooking, dinner parties, book clubs, and a love for human interest stories are just a few of her favorite pursuits. In her spare time she enjoys camping, hiking and experiencing the outdoors with her family.
- PhD, Penn State University (Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Minor in Gerontology), 2005
- MS, Penn State University (Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Minor in Gerontology), 2002
- BS, Syracuse University (Department of Psychology), 2000
My research focuses on human development and family studies in adulthood and late life, with emphases in biopsychosocial approaches to health and wellbeing across the lifespan, including studies of stress, depressive symptoms, social support. These interests manifest themselves in four main research areas: 1) Caregiving for persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias [both basic research and program evaluation], 2) Quality of life and progression of dementia [basic research], 3) Functional ability and the transition into disability in late life [basic research], and 4) Stress, mood, and well-being across the lifespan, particularly for vulnerable adults [both basic research and program evaluation]:
- Caregiving for Persons with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias: I have collaborated with the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter, the State of Utah Division of Aging Services, USU Extension, and the Federal Corporation for National and Community Service on several program evaluation projects assessing the extent to which the educational, psychological, and family-focused counseling sessions improve outcomes for family caregivers of individuals with dementia, and volunteers providing respite for caregivers via a grant from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). With collaborators across disciplines and universities I adapted an online self-guided Acceptance and Commitment Therapy program for dementia caregivers.
- Quality of Life and Progression of Dementia, and Dementia Prevention: I have used observational methods to examine staff interactions, recreational activities, and client affect and mood in memory care units. I have also served as investigator on the Cache County Dementia Progression Study, where I assessed how the caregiving environment affects the progression of dementia, as well as the financial cost of care. I was an investigator on the Gray Matter’s project (PI: Maria Norton), with interests in understanding how middle aged people can use smartphone technology to improve behaviors (Social Engagement and other lifestyle factors) related to Alzheimer’s risk.
- Functional ability/Disability in Late Life: I collaborate with the Institute for Gerontology at Jönköping University in Sweden, utilizing multiple longitudinal studies of late life. I examine patterns of health and functional decline and the role of psychosocial variables such as depressive symptoms and social support as buffers in the disablement process. I received NIH funding to combine Swedish data into a large longitudinal sample of older adults, studying interrelationships between disease, cognition, physical functioning, social support and well-being over time. I also currently collaborate with Sunshine Terrace and collect data on functional performance in clients across multiple care settings, to determine interdepartmental trends, as well as intra-departmental changes over time in client outcomes.
- Stress, Mood, and Well-being across the Lifespan: Together with HDFS colleague Troy Beckert, I have examined the intersection of daily mood, stress, and health behaviors across adolescents and middle-aged and older adults. I also received a research fellowship from USU Center for Persons with Disabilities and the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services to develop, adapt, and test mental health prevention programs for at-risk populations (college students, and farm, ranch, and food production workers).
I was a 2015 speaker for TEDxUSU (Title: Finding Joy in an Alzheimer’s Reality). Watch my talk on tedX.usu.edu.
I am currently accepting MS and PhD students across multiple funded projects and to work with existing datasets or new projects.