Jessica A. Kelley

Professor; Director, Graduate Program in Sociology

Mather Memorial Building 230

Other Information

Education: Ph.D., Purdue University, 2002

Professor Jessica A. Kelley studies the causes and consequences of health disparities over the life course, particularly those related to race, socioeconomic status, and disability.  She has expertise in the quantitative analysis of longitudinal and panel data, including latent trajectories and multilevel modeling.  Her recent research has focused on: life course influences on later-life functional disparities among Black and White adults; how cohort trends and social change affect later-life health profiles; social influences on the experience of disability; neighborhoods and social exclusion of older adults.

Jessica currently serves as Co-Editor (with Dr. Roland J. Thorpe, Jr. of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) of the book series Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics.  She is also Associate Editor of Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences and serves on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Aging and Health, Research on Aging, and Journal of Aging and Social Policy.  Jessica currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Resource Center for Minority Data at ICPSR.  She also recently completed terms as Chair of the Section on Aging and the Life Course in the American Sociological Association and Member-at-Large for the Behavioral and Social Sciences section of the Gerontological Society of America.

Some of her previous work focused on issues of access to healthy food in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. Jessica is featured on discussing family-based strategies for healthy eating. She also completed a cooking-based intervention project for residents of public housing. The project was featured on WVIZ in a story on Be Well: Obesity – Poverty and Food Deserts.


Kelley, Jessica A., Dale Dannefer, Luma al Masarweh. 2018.  “Addressing Erasure, Microfication, and Social Change: Age-Friendly Initiatives and Environmental Gerontology in the 21st Century.”  Invited book chapter in Age Friendly Communities: A Global Perspective, edited by Christopher Phillipson, Tine Buffel, & Sophie Handler.  Polity Press.


Kelley, Jessica and Jiao Yu. 2018. “Social Change, Social Institutions, and Cohorts: Contextualizing Men’s Later Life Health Profiles.” Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics.  Volume 39.  Springer Publishing.

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