Karen L. Fingerman



HDFS Faculty
Office: SEA 2.326


Office: 512-471-0618
Fax: 512-475-8662


Work: kfingerman@austin.utexas.edu

Research Interests

Karen Fingerman studies adult development and old age.  She has conducted research and published numerous scholarly articles on positive and negative emotions in relationships. Her work has examined parents and children, in-law ties, romantic partners, grandparents and grandchildren, friends, and peripheral social ties. The National Institute on Aging funded her work on problematic social ties across the lifespan and currently funds her research on middle-aged adults, their romantic partners, grown children and aging parents. Her research has drawn on survey methods, observational studies, experimental paradigms, daily diary, and salivary hormone data collection.

Select Publications

Fingerman, K. L., Gilligan, M., VanderDrift, L., & Pitzer, L. M. (in press). In-law relationships before and after marriage:  Husbands, wives, and their mothers-in-law. Research on Human Development.

Fingerman, K. L., Cheng, Y. P.*, Wesselman, E. D.*, Zarit, S., Furstenberg, F. F., & Birditt, K. S., (in press). Helicopter parents and landing pad kids: Intense parental support of grown children. Journal of Marriage and Family.

Fingerman, K. L., Cheng, Y. P.*, Birditt, K. S., & Zarit, S. (2012). Only as happy as the least happy child: Multiple grown children’s problems and successes and middle-aged parents’ well-being. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 67, 184-193. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbr086

Fingerman, K. L., & Birditt, K. S. (2011). Adult children and aging parents. In K. W. Schaie & S. L. Willis (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (7th ed., pp. 219-232). New York: Elsevier.

Fingerman, K. L., Pitzer, L. M.*, Chan, W.*, Birditt, K. S., Franks, M. M., & Zarit, S. (2011). Who gets what and why: Help middle-aged adults provide to parents and grown children. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 66B, 87-98. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbq009 PMC: 20223807

Fingerman, K. L. & Charles, S. T. (2010). It takes two to tango: Why older people have the best relationships. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 172-176. doi: 10.1177/0963721410370297

Current Grants

Family Exchanges Study II (2011-2016), National Institute on Aging (R01AG027769). Principal Investigator: Karen Fingerman.

Supplement to the Family Exchanges II Study (2012-2013), MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society. Principal Investigator: Karen Fingerman.