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Lydia W. Li

Associate Professor of Social Work

Lydia W. Li

Lydia Li is Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Michigan. Her research interest is aging and health. Her current research projects include community context and mental health in old age, community-based interventions for late-life depression, and alternative therapies for older adults to manage pain. She is interested in cross-cultural research. She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and a Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar. She is serving as the co-chair of the 2016 GSA program committee, a non-panel reviewer of the Public Policy Research Funding Scheme in Hong Kong, an associate editor of BMC Geriatrics, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.  She has been the advisor of the Specialist in Aging Certificate and the lead faculty of the Gerontology Learning Community at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She is affiliated with the Center for Chinese Studies and Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan.

Research Interests/Focus

Community contexts and health in later life, community-based interventions for pain management and late-life depression, long-term support and services for frail older adults and their families


Year Degree   School
2000 PhD Social Welfare University of Wisconsin, Madison
1989 MSW Social Work University of Hong Kong, China
1984 Honor's Diploma Social Work Hong Kong Baptist College, China

Xu, L., Tang, F., Li, L. W., & Dong, X. (in press). Grandparent caregiving and psychological well-being among Chinese American older adults –The roles of caregiving burden and pressure. Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

Liu, J., Li, L. W., Xu, H., & Zhang, Z. (in press). Community facilities and depressive symptoms of older persons in China. SSM- Population Health.

Davitt, J., Li, L. W., & Rastigue, K. (2016). Policies to protect the rights of older adults and support family caregivers. Handbook for Social Work in Health and Aging (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Li, L. W., & Long, Y. (2016). Health care experience of older persons with chronic illness in rural and urban China:  A qualitative study in Shandong, China. University of Michigan Deep Blue.

Li, L. W., Xu, H., Zhang, Z., & Liu, L. (2016). An ecological study of social fragmentation, socioeconomic deprivation, and suicide in rural China: 2008-2010. SSM- Population Health.

Pan, X., Liu, J., Li, L. W., & Kwok, J. (2016). Posttraumatic growth in aging individuals who have lost their only child in China. Death Studies.

Xu, H., Li, L. W., Zhang, Z., & Liu, J. (2016). Is natural experiment a cure? Re-examining the long-term health effects of China’s 1959-1961 famine. Social Science and Medicine, 148, 110-122.

Li, L. W., Liu, J., Xu, H. & Zhang, Z. (2016). Understanding rural-urban differences in depressive symptoms among older adults in China. Journal of Aging and Health, 28(2), 341-362.

Cheung, S.-T., Chi, I., Fung, H., Li, L. W., & Woo J. (Eds.). (2015). Successful Aging: Asian Perspectives. New York: Springer.

Li, L. W. & Zhang, J. (2015). Challenges to successful aging in transitional China. In Cheung, S.-T., Chi, I., Fung, H., Li, L. W., & Woo J. (Eds.), Successful Aging: Asian Perspectives 33-50. New York: Springer.

Cheung S.-T., Li, L. W., Woo, J., Fung, H., & Chi, I. (2015). Successful aging in East Asia: a concerted effort of the State, the family, and the individual. In Cheung, S.-T., Chi, I., Fung, H., Li, L. W., & Woo J. (Eds.). Successful Aging: Asian Perspectives 339-346. New York: Springer.

Long, Y. & Li, L. W. (2015). "How would we deserve better?" Rural-urban dichotomy in health-seeking for the chronically ill elderly in China. Qualitative Health Research. Sage Journals.

Li, L. W., Liu, J., Zhang, Z., & Xu, H. (2015). Late-life depression in rural China: Do village infrastructure and availability of community resources matter? International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 30(7), 729-736.

Zhang, J., & Li, L. W. (2015). Provincial variation in marketization and successful aging in China: A multilevel analysis. Journal of Population Aging.

Li, L. W., Essex, E. & Long, Y. (2014). Quality of life as perceived by older persons with chronic illness in rural and urban Shangdong, China. Journal of Cross Cultural Gerontology, 29(4), 417-428.

Chen, S., Boyle, L., Conwell, Y., Chiu, H., Li, L. W. & Xiao, S. (2013). Dementia care in rural China. Mental Health in Family Medicine, 10(3), 133-141.

Li, Lydia, McLaughlin, S. (2012). Caregiver confidence: Does it predict changes in disability among elderly health care recipients? The Gerontologist, 52(1), 79-88.

Li, L. W., Long, Y., Essex, E., Sui, Y., & Gao, L. (2012). Elderly Chinese and their family caregivers' perceptions of good care: A qualitative study in Shangdong, China. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 55(7), 609-625.

Ingersoll-Dayton, B., Dunkle, R. E., Chadiha, L. A., Lawrence-Jacobson, A., Li, L., & Weir, E. (2011). Intergenerational ambivalence: Aging mothers whose adult daughters are mentally ill. Families in Society, 92(1), 114-119.

Li, L. W., & Conwell, Y. (2010). Pain and self-injury ideation in elderly men and women receiving home care. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58, 2160-2165.

McLaughlin, S. J., Connell, C. M., Heeringa, S. G., Li, L. W., & Roberts, S. (2010). Successful aging in the United States: Prevalence estimates from a national sample of older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 65B(2), 216-226.

Li, L. W., & Conwell, Y. (2009). Effects of changes in depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning on physical disability in home care elderly. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 64A(2), 230-236.

Li, L., & Sui, Y. (2009). Family: Roles of the elderly. In D. Pong (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Modern China. Detroit, MI: Charles Scribner’s Sons, Gale/Cengage Learning.

Li, L. W., Zhang, J., & Liang, J. (2009). Health among the oldest-old in China: Which living arrangements make a difference? Social Science and Medicine, 69(2), 220-227.

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