Our work group is interested in better understanding and developing interventions to enhance the quality of human relationships. We are especially interested in relationships as people age. One focus of our current work is on promoting the science of person-centered caregiving within nursing home settings. We are developing ways of operationalizing the philosophy of person-centered caregiving, creating interventions, and carrying out research to test the effectiveness of these interventions. A second area of interest is in understanding the social support networks of elderly persons living in community settings and in exploring ways in which technology can be used to enable them to enrich their networks. We are currently investigating the interests of the elderly in using computers to communicate with family and friends.
In this work, we focus on the role of basic relationship processes such as person perception skills, communication skills and relationship maintenance skills. We are interested in learning how these skills are related to the establishment of trust, commitment and interdependence in relationships, and we are also interested in developing methods for teaching relationship skills to a wide variety of persons. We collaborate with community organizations and agencies such as Continuous Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s), Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), mental health agencies, and the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS).
Our work is being published in nationally recognized journals such as The Gerontologist, and being presented regularly at national and international conferences such as the Society for Community Research And Action (SCRA, Community Psychology), the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI, Social Psychology), the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), and the International Association of Relationship Researchers (IARR).
Our group includes students and faculty from the Community Psychology, Community-Clinical Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disorders departments.
DiLollo, A., & Favreau, C. (2010). Person-centered caregiving and speech and language therapy. Seminars in Speech and Language, 31(2), 90-97.
Grosch, K., Medvene, L.J. & Walker, D. (2011). Using a measure of person-perception skills to identify outstanding home care workers. Home Health Care Services Quarterly, 30, 24-41.
Lann-Wolcott, H., Medvene, L.J. & Williams, K. (2011). Measuring the person-centeredness of caregivers working with nursing home residents with dementia. Behavior Therapy, 42, 89-99.
Medvene, L.J. & Coleman, C. (2012). Exploring the applicability of interdependence theory to CNA-resident relationships. Journal of Research In Gerontological Nursing, 5, 43- 54.
Louis J. Medvene, PhD
435 Jabara Hall
Dr. Medvene is a professor of psychology at Wichita State University, and is interested
in social relationships and the skills required to initiate and maintain them, as well as
processes which promote interdependence, trust and commitment. One focus of his
work is on promoting the science of person-centered caregiving in long term care
facilities, most especially as this relates to personalizing relationships between
caregivers and residents. A second focus is on exploring the potential of computers to
enhance the social engagement of persons as they age, either in community settings or
in congregate care facilities
Anthony DiLollo, PhD
Associate Professor, Communications and Sciences Department
427A Ahlberg Hall
Dr. DiLollo is an associate professor of speech-language pathology in the Department of
Communication Sciences and Disorders at Wichita State University. His interests are in person-centered care and the ways in which communication disorders effect individual’s development and maintenance of social networks.
426 Jabara Hall
Amanda is a third year graduate student in the Community-Clinical program. Her clinical
interests are adjustment and psychopathology in older adulthood, and her research
interests are aging, caregivers, and person-centered care. Amanda recently finished her
second year project entitled “Nursing Home Residents’ Role in Person-Centered Care.”
Kari M. Nilsen
426 Jabara Hall
Kari is a second year graduate student in the Community Psychology program. Her main
research interest is interpersonal relationships, with a focus on older adults, and how
these relationships impact quality of life. She has previously done research on cognitive
complexity and person-centered care, and is currently looking at the social networks of
frail elderly Medicaid home and community-based care recipients.
426 Jabara Hall
Rachel is a second year graduate student in the Community Psychology program. Her
research interests include aging, development, domestic violence, and interpersonal
relationships. Her current research involves studying the social support networks of frail
elderly Medicaid home and community-based care recipients, and how it is related to
health and mental health outcomes.
Samuel Ofei-Dodoo, MPH, MA
426 Jabara Hall
Samuel Ofei-Dodoo, MPA, MA, is a first year graduate student in the Community
Psychology program. His research interests focus on how lifestyle choices and
environmental factors influence human health and development and how effective
programs impact the needs and abilities of people of all ages. Samuel recently
completed a Master’s thesis in the department of Aging Studies entitled “Impact of
Moderate Intensity Physical Activity on the Functional Fitness of Older Women.”
Missy is a 2nd year graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders'
Master of Arts program at Wichita State University. Her search for a non-thesis project
led her to the group, with whom she hopes to learn how communication disorders affect
the lives and relationships of those receiving Medicaid home and community-based
care services. She is very excited about the insight she will be gaining by studying
outside of her immediate field.
Rochelle is currently an undergraduate student in psychology. She is interested in
interpersonal relationships, and particularly in family relationships. Her focus is on how
nuclear families interact with each other and the parent-child interaction as both parties
Wichita State University Social Relationships Research Work Group, 2012.
From left to right: Samuel Ofei-Dodoo, Missy Curry, Dr. Anthony DiLollo, Kari Nilsen,
Rachel Smith, Amanda Runyan, Dr. Louis Medvene (Not pictured: Rochelle Webber)