Edna Brown, PhD

Associate Professor, Human Development &

Family Sciences (Affiliate)

Research Overview

Coping with divorce and coping with illness are two major life transitions that affect a large percentage of our adult population. Drawing on my background in developmental psychology, sociology, and social work, my research focuses on the impact of stressful life transitions on health and well being during middle and later adulthood. Using life course theories, I have examined how social (i.e., gender, social class, family configurations; social relations) and cultural contexts (i.e., race, ethnicity, religion), affect coping, health, and well being during normative and non normative life transitions. The social and cultural contexts provide meaning and substance for interpreting research findings.

Current research collaborations address health and mental health disparities among older adults in urban multiethnic, multicultural communities. My research objective is to understand the contextual factors that influence the health promoting behaviors and the development of health promoting interventions that focus on reducing health disparities. My previous research endeavors investigated the psychological, social, and cultural contexts related to marital stability, adjustment to divorce and health outcomes.


I earned a Joint Doctorate in Developmental Psychology and Social Work at the University of Michigan and completed a NICHD funded postdoctoral and NIMH research investigator position at the Institute for Social Research at UM.

Recent Publications


Featured Publications

Brown, E. (2010). Work, retirement, race, and health disparities. In Toni C. Antonucci and James S. Jackson (Eds.), Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics: Life-Course Perspectives on Late-Life Health Inequalities, 29, (233- 249). New York: Springer Publishing.

Brown, E., Orbuch, T., & Maharaj, A. (2010) Social networks and marital stability among Black American and White American couples. In Kieran Sullivan and Joanne Davila (Eds.), Support Processes in Intimate Relationships (319-334). New York: Oxford University Press.

Birditt, K., Brown, E., Orbuch, T., & McIlvane, J. (2010). Marital conflict behaviors and implications for divorce over 16 years. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 1188-1204.

Brown, E., Orbuch, T., & Bauermeister, J.A. (2008) Religiosity and marital stability among Black American couples and White American couples. Family Relations 57: 185-196.

Brown, E., Caldwell, C., Antonucci, T. (2008). Religiosity as a Moderator of Family Conflict and Depressive Symptoms among African American and White American Young Grandmothers. Journal of Human Behavior and the Social Environment. 18, 4, 397-413.

Brown, E. (2007). Care recipients’ psychological well being: The role of sense of control and caregiver type. Aging and Mental Health, 11 (4), 405-414.

Fiori, K. L., Brown, E. E., Cortina, K. S., & Antonucci, T. C. (2006). Locus of control as a mediator of the relationship between religiosity and life satisfaction: Age, race, and gender differences. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 9, 239-263.

Fiori, K. L., McIlvane, J., Brown, E. E., & Antonucci, T. C. (2006). Social relations and depressive symptomatology: Self-efficacy as a mediator. Aging and Mental Health, 10, 1-13.

Brown, E., Jackson, J.S, & Faison, N. (2006). The work and retirement experiences of Aging Black Americans. In J. B. James & P. Wink (Eds.), Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics: The Crown of Life: Dynamics of the Early Post-retirement Period Vol. 26, (pp. 39- 60). New York: Springer.

Orbuch, T., & Brown, E. (2006). Divorce in the context of being African American. In M. Fine and J. Harvey (Eds.), In Handbook of Divorce and Dissolution of Romantic Relationships (pp. 481-498) New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Brown, E., & Jackson, J. S. (2004). Age-related issues among minority populations. In C. Spielberger, and R. K. Lee (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology. (pp. 79-90). London: Elsevier.


Contact Information
Mailing AddressDepartment of Human Development and Family Studies
348 Mansfield Road, Unit 2058
Storrs, CT 06269-2058
Office LocationFamily Studies Building