Researching attitudes about aging: Q&A with assistant professor Allyson Brothers

Allyson Brothers is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. She earned her bachelor’s in psychology from Roanoke College and her master’s in applied psychological research from Penn State University before coming to CSU to pursue her Ph.D. in human development and family studies. Learn more about her research interests and what brought her to CSU below.

  1. Allyson Brothers, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, College of Health and Human Sciences, Colorado State University, October 14, 2016What brought you to the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at CSU?

HDFS is a perfect fit for me, ideologically. The focus on promoting optimal development across the entire lifespan resonates with my teaching and research philosophies. I love that we, as a department, contribute our talents and effort on making people’s lives better. The recognition that so many elements of human lives – including social and emotional development, as well as environmental influences – have real and important effects on health and well-being.

  1. What are your research interests, and how did you get into that topic?

My research focuses on the attitudes people hold about aging, and how these thoughts and expectations can shape health and well-being. For example, expecting aging to be all about loss and decline can have really detrimental effects on how someone actually ages, and may, for example, interfere with the efforts they could be taking to enter later life in good physical and emotional health. I find this area of research fascinating because of the strong empirical link between physical and mental health. It also intrigues me as an avenue for interventions and programs that can help people to stop and think about their (often inaccurate) expectations about what it means to grow older.

  1. What’s your teaching philosophy?

I love teaching! My approach to the classroom, whether a physical classroom or an online classroom, is to provide ways that students can connect research and evidence to their own lives and experiences. In this way, I believe that truly meaningful learning can occur.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about campus?

I’m proud to be part of a community of such curious and driven individuals who are investigating such a variety of pressing and fascinating questions about our world. I love walking across the Oval during the first week of classes and feeling the vibrant energy and buzz of students who are excited to be here. I find this truly inspiring!

Last year, Brothers was awarded the CHHS Outstanding Graduate Award.

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences.