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, and is the coordinator of the gerontology certificate program at USU. 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 has an ongoing study of staff interactions, emotions, and activities in dementia care settings. Beth has received awards for excellence in teaching and research, such as the Researcher of the Year Award in her department and the 2010 Teacher of the Year Award. 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 three main research areas: 1) Caregiving for persons with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, 2) Quality of life and progression of dementia, and 3) Functional ability/disability in late life:
- Caregiving for Persons with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias: I have collaborated with the Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter and the State of Utah Division of Aging Services 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. I also have interests in the use of technology (smart phone apps) to support improving the care environment.
- Quality of Life and Progression of Dementia, and Dementia Prevention: I have an ongoing project involving 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 am interested in uncovering how the caregiving environment affects the progression of dementia, as well as the financial cost of care. I am 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.
- Together with HDFS colleague Troy Beckert, I co-founded the Intergenerational Lifespan Lab, a large-scale project evaluating development and intergenerational interactions across the lifespan found at usulifespandevelopment.weebly.com.
I was a 2015 speaker for TEDxUSU (Title: Finding Joy in an Alzheimer’s Reality). Watch my talk on tedX.usu.edu.