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Elisabeth Burgess

Gerontology, Director and Professor    ,

Ph.D., University of Southern California
M.A., University of Southern California
B.S., Old Dominion University


Dr. Burgess is a Social Gerontologist whose work focuses on sexuality and relationships over the life course, including issues of sexuality and intimacy for older adults, aging families and intergenerational relationships, and perceptions of aging, stereotypes, and ageism. Her research emphasizes where people are socially located (e.g. assisted living facilities) and how that location influences their experiences. (1) Dr. Burgess recently published several manuscripts (Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences; Journal of Applied Gerontology) based on data she and her research team collected with her National Institute on Aging funded project, “Negotiating Sexuality and Intimacy in Assisted Living.”  This project explores the meaning and experience of sexuality and intimacy in six assisted living facilities through qualitative focus groups, interviews and observations; (2) Dr. Burgess is interested in aging families, social relationships, and intergeneration values transmission. She is currently a co-investigator on the NIA funded, “Convoys of Care” research project lead by Dr. Candace Kemp (Gerontology); (3) Dr. Burgess is currently working with an interdisciplinary team including Dr. Jaye Atkinson (Communication) and Dr. Brenda Blackwell (Georgia Southern University, Criminal Justice) exploring media portrayal of elder fraud and abuse. Understanding societal perspectives of elder abuse can aid in the creation of effective interventions to increase awareness and prevention of elder abuse; (4) Dr. Burgess has collaborated with Dr. Dawn Banauch (Kennesaw State University) on research exploring sexual attitudes and values of college students and published  six articles from this research. They are currently working with GSU Sociology colleagues on a project examining the university climate for LGBT students; and (5) Dr. Burgess is co-editor (with Dr. Stombler, Banauch, Simonds, and Windsor) of a Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader now in its fourth edition, published by W. W. Norton.

In 2009, Dr. Burgess became Director of the Gerontology Institute and continues to hold joint appointments as Associate Professor of Gerontology and Sociology. Trained as a sociologist, Dr. Burgess has always had an interdisciplinary research and teaching agenda. In her role as director, she enjoys the opportunity to explore to the diverse perspectives for studying aging and older adults and having the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and students from across Georgia State University. Furthermore, she works to strengthen ties to Gerontology Alumni and build new partnerships for internships, research, and teaching.


Curriculum Vitae


Recent Publications:

Barmon, C., Burgess, E. O., Bender, A. A., & Moorhead, J. M. (2016) Understanding Sexual Freedom and Autonomy in Assisted Living: Discourse of Residents’ Rights According to Administrators and Staff. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. Published online in advance of print: doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbw068


Burgess, E. O., Bender, A. A., Barmon, C., Moorhead, J. M., & Perkins, M. M. (2016) ‘That is So Common Everyday. . . Everywhere You Go’: Sexual Harassment of Workers in Assisted Living. Journal of Applied Gerontology. Published online in advance of print: DOI:10.1177/0733464816630635


Lorio, A. K., Gore J. B., Warthen L., Housley S. N., & Burgess E. O. (2016) Teaching Dementia Care to Physical Therapy Doctoral Students: A Multimodal Experiential Learning Approach. Gerontology and Geriatrics Education. Published online in advance of print: DOI:10.1080/02701960.2015.1115979