April 2021

Announcing Research Support awards for 4 Network members and their co-authors
Application for GSA Preconference Workshop submitted
Requesting ideas for a new Meet & Greet for Network members


As I write, flowers are blooming here in the Northeastern U.S., their blossoms bringing some measure of hope that spring will bring an end to the pandemic that has turned everything upside down for the last many months. I know there is great unevenness across the world in the numbers of vaccines, cases, and deaths, and I hope that all of you are coping well under the weight of it all! I write today with good news about Network activities.

  • First, we received many excellent proposals in response to our RFP, Unequal Prospects for Continued Work in Later Life amid a Global Pandemic: Possible Solutions. Unfortunately, we were unable to fund them all, but we did stretch to fund the following four proposals:
  • Inequalities in older adults’ COVID-19 related work transitions and coping strategies: A sequential explanatory mixed-methods analysis, Leah R. Abrams, PhD, MPH, Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow on Aging & Work, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Analyzing the experience of older workers at the intersection of gender and race during the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Takashi Yamashita, Ph.D., MPH; Maia Punksungka, MA, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Public Health, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Samuel Van Vleet, BA; Abby Helsinger, MS; and Phyllis A. Cummins, Ph.D., Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University
  • Supporting careers in transition: Piloting a growth mindset-based program for supervisors, Investigators: Prof. Dr. Susanne Scheibe & Dr. Antje Schmitt, Organizational Psychology Department, University of Groningen, The Netherlands; Collaborators, Ciska Vreede, Noorderlink HR Network Groningen, Cees Frankruijter, Mindset Institute Groningen
  • Telecommuting arrangements and older workers thriving: The mediating role of metastereotyping, Eduardo André da Silva Oliveira, PhD, University of Porto, Portugal and Jolanta Perek-Białas, PhD, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland

  • Second, we have submitted a proposal to GSA for a preconference workshop on the theme: Unequal prospects for continued work in later life: Possible solutions. The workshop will feature findings from a new report developed by the Committee on Understanding the Aging Workforce and Employment at Older Ages, sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. In addition, there will be panelists presenting findings from research on older workers conducted during the pandemic, along with a keynote speaker, Teresa Ghilarducci, Director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, who will address “false assumptions supporting the ‘working longer’ agenda. The focus will be on those most affected by the pandemic—women, and racial and ethnic minorities. Workshop participants will draw from these early research findings to develop recommendations for mechanisms and processes for ameliorating the consequences of twin shocks— the pandemic and the ensuing recession—and for much needed new workplace-based research tracking the employer-employee relationship over time.
  • Finally, our MEET & GREET Sessions have been very successful, with great attendance, discussion and a finished product summary of the discussion available to all Network members. If you might be interested in a session having to do with how to design better research in the workplace, please let me know.  Here is our idea for one that might be of interest:
  • (1) What are the limitations on the research to date about the employer-employee relationship, meaning how do we know what really helps to make it possible to work as long as people want to/need to?
  • (2) If we were to design new research on this topic, what would it look like in order to overcome some of these limitations?

I welcome your comments on this and any other idea you might suggest for a Meet & Greet among Network members.

In the meantime, please feel free to direct any questions, suggestions, or ideas about Network activities to me jamesjc@bc.edu
With best regards to all of you.

Jacquelyn James
Director, Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work
Boston College 
Network Steering Committee: Cal Halvorsen, Kendra Jason, Ruth Kanfer, Christina Matz-Costa, Phyllis Moen, Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, Sara Rix, Harvey Sterns, Philip Taylor, Johanna Thunell