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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Behavioral Science of Mental Disorders and Aging Program


This program supports studies of behavioral and psychosocial factors and processes that may influence the risk, presentation, course, and outcome of mental disorders in late life or in relation to the aging process. There is particular interest in supporting research consistent with NIMH’s emphasis on taking a dimensional and trans-diagnostic approach in studies of psychopathology, as articulated in the Institute’s RDoC project. Relevant research typically uses the theories and tools of the social and behavioral sciences, clinical geropsychology, and cognitive and affective science to assess key psychosocial variables, but also may involve neurobiological components so as to examine these constructs across multiple levels of analysis. The integration into the research of indices of the aging process, including concepts and measures drawn from psychological and social theories of adult development and aging, is highly encouraged. Studies may include middle-aged or younger patients as well as older adults when there is a major focus on questions pertaining to the aging process, such as in research on the trajectories of mental disorders with aging.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Studies of behavioral, cognitive and psychosocial factors contributing to aging adults' vulnerability/resilience to mental disorders and associated disability.
  • Studies that identify key behavioral, cognitive and psychosocial aspects that shape the trajectories of mental disorders across the life course and extending into old age.
  • Studies developing and testing more reliable and valid phenotypes, assessments, and biobehavioral markers for late-life mental disorders.


Jovier D Evans, Ph.D.
6001 Executive Boulevard