Linda K. George
Arts and Sciences Professor of Sociology

My research falls into three broad areas: (1) social factors and the onset, course, and outcome of mental and physical illness, (2) social factors and aging, and (3) the organization and delivery of health services. I am working on funded research projects in all three areas. I have been the principal and co-principal investigator of two major epidemiologic studies. The first examines social factors and mental illness throughout adulthood. The second focuses on social factors related to both physical and mental health among older adults. I also am director of the one core of the Clinical Research Center for the study of depression in later life, funded by NIMH. The focus of my CRC project is the effects of social factors on the course of outcome of geriatric depression. In all of these studies, tje social factors examined include age, gender, race, urban vs rural residence, socioeconomic status, social stress, and social relationships. The major health services project in which I am involved is a randomized trial of outpatient commitment. This study is evaluating the extent to which outpatient commitment can increase the odds that the chronically mentally ill will be able to live in the community rather than being subjected to frequent involuntary commitments to state mental hospitals. The importance of this project is its potential to demonstrate that outpatient commitment is a less coercive and less expensive form of treatment for the chronically mentally that also improves their quality of life.

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