REBECCA L. UTZ portrait
  • Associate Professor, Sociology Department
  • Co-Director, Consortium for Families & Health Research
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Sociology Department
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, College Of Nursing
  • Faculty Associate, Center on Aging

Research Statement

I am a life course sociologist, embracing the interdisciplinary traditions of demography and gerontology. My substantive research focuses on issues of health and aging in America.  More specifically, I am interested in how families cope with the end-of-life experience, including widowhood and caregiving.  I am also interested in how adolescent health (obesity, primarily) is determined.  My work has involved primary data collection (surveys & qualitative interviews), creation and implementation of intervention studies, and statistical analysis of large population-based data sets.  

Research Keywords

  • Population Sciences
  • Obesity
  • Life Course Theory
  • Gerontology
  • Family Caregiving
  • Bereavement
  • Adolescent Health

Presentations

  • Partners in Hospice Care Research Team at the University of Utah. (March 2013). Partners in Hospice Care: A unique partnership between research and practice. Annual Assembly of American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. New Orleans, LA. Panel, Presented, 03/2013.
  • R. L. Utz, D. Lund, M. Caserta. (Nov 2012). Group Dynamics Matter: Using Support Groups during Bereavement. Gerontological Society of America. San Diego, CA. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/2012.
  • M. Caserta, R. L. Utz, D. Lund. (April 2012). Death Forewarning & Cause of Death: Variations in Bereavement Outcomes. Poster. Association of Death Educators and Consultants. Atlanta, GA. Poster, Presented, 04/2012.
  • R. L. Utz, K. Bearnson, M. Caserta, D. Lund, B. DeVries. (November 2011). Feeling Lonely versus Being Alone: Loneliness and Social Support in Widowhood. Paper. Gerontological Society of America. Boston, MA. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/2011.
  • W. Robinson, K. Keyes, R.. L. Utz, C. Martin, Y. Yang. (October 2011). Will Obesity Prevalence Continue to Increase in the US? Examining Birth Cohort Effects Among Cohorts of US-Born Young Adults. Poster. The Obesity Society. Orlando, FL. Poster, Presented, 10/2011.
  • M. Caserta, D. Lund, R. L. Utz. (August 2011). Individualized Dual Process Intervention for Bereaved Partners After Cancer Deaths – Models & Methods. Poster. The Science of Compassion: Future Directions in End of Life and Palliative Care. Sponsored by National Institute of Nursing Research. Bethesda, MD. Poster, Presented, 08/2011.
  • K. Mooney, P. Berry, M. Caserta, M. Clayton, G. Donaldson, L. Ellington, D. Lund, R. L. Utz. (August 2011). A Program Project Grant Exploring and Supporting Family Caregiving during Hospice End of Life Care through Bereavement. Poster. The Science of Compassion: Future Directions in End of Life and Palliative Care. Sponsored by National Institute of Nursing Research. Bethesda, MD. - Selected as “Top Ten Submission for 2011” to the NINR research program . Poster, Presented, 08/2011.
  • R. L. Utz, D. Lund, M. Caserta, B. DeVries, K. Swenson (November 2010). For Whom Can Grief Be Modified? An Evaluation of the "Living After Loss" Intervention. Paper. Gerontological Society of America. New Orleans, LA. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/20/2010.
  • R. L. Utz, N. Waitzman, J. E. Coffield, J. Metos. (November 2010). Education's Role in Preventing Childhood Obesity: What are the most effective types of school wellness policies? Paper. American Public Health Association. Denver, CO. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 11/10/2010.
  • J. E. Coffield, R. L. Utz, N. Waitzman. (November 2010). Is longer better? The effects of duration of exposure to school wellness policies on adolescent obesity. Poster. American Public Health Association. Denver, CO. Poster, Presented, 11/10/2010.
  • N. Waitzman, R. L. Utz, J. E. Coffield, (November 2010). Worth its weight (loss) in gold: The effects of Utah's Gold-Medal school policy on adolescent obesity by neighborhood SES. Poster. American Public Health Association. Denver, CO. Poster, Presented, 11/10/2010.
  • R. L. Utz. “Finding, Creating, and Analyzing Data on Health Disparities” (September 2010). University of California San Bernardino, RIMI Center for Health Disparities. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/15/2010.
  • R. L. Utz. “A Case-Study of Health Disparities Research: Obesity Related Studies.” (September 2010). University of California San Bernardino, RIMI Center for Health Disparities. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/15/2010.
  • N. Waitzman, K. Smith, J.W. Kim, R. L. Utz (June 2010). The Effects of Neighborhood Change on Childhood Obesity Risk. Paper. American Society for Health Economics. Ithaca, NY. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 08/18/2010.

Research Groups

  • Partners in Hospice Care -- Bereavement Team, Other. 01/2011 - present.

Grants, Contracts & Research Gifts

  • Enhancing the Effectiveness of Respite Services for Family Caregivers. PI: Dale Lund. Health Disparities Grant, Cal State San Bernardino, 10/01/2009 - 10/01/2010. Total project budget to date: $0.00
  • Development and testing of a data infrastructure for conducting a large, multi-level longitudinal analysis of the determinants of childhood obesity. PI: Jim VanDerslice & Liz Joy. F Marion Bishop Foundation, 10/01/2009 - 08/01/2010. Total project budget to date: $25,000.00
  • Living After Loss: An Intervention Study to Test the Effectiveness of the Dual Process Model of Coping. PI: Caserta. 10/01/2004 - 06/01/2010. Total project budget to date: $0.00

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • United States of America

Publications

  • R. L. Utz, C. Berg, J. Butner. (2016) “It’s A Family Affair: Reflections About Aging & Health within a Family Context.” The Gerontologist, 57(1): 129-135. Published, 12/23/2016.
  • K. B. Dassel, R. L. Utz, K. Supiano, N. McGee, S. Latimer (2016). “The Influence of Hypothetical Death Scenarios on Multidimensional End-of-Life Care Preferences” American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care. December 17, 2016. 10.1177/1049909116680990. In press, 12/17/2016.
  • Caserta, M., D. Lund, & R. L. Utz. (2016). Inventory of Daily Widowed Life (IDWL). In R. Neimeyer (Ed), Techniques of Grief Therapy: Assessment and Application (pp.65-70). Philadelphia, PA: Routledge. Accepted, 12/06/2016.
  • Utz, R. L. (2016). Widow/Widower. In Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Sage Publications. Published, 12/06/2016.
  • Caserta, M, D. Lund, R.L. Utz, & J. Tabler. (2016) “’One Size Doesn’t Fit All’ – Partners in Hospice Care, an Individualized Approach to Bereavement Intervention” OMEGA: Journal of Death & Dying, 73(2): 107-125. Published, 09/15/2016.
  • Quinn, T. C., & Utz, R. L. (2015). “Personal Religiosity and Mental Health Care Utilization among Adolescents.” Education, Social Factors, and Health Beliefs in Health and Health Care Services (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Volume 33) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 33, 139-159. Published, 12/2015.
  • Reither EN, Land KC, Jeon SY, Powers DA, Masters RK, Zheng H, Hardy MA, Keyes KM, Fu Q, Hanson HA, Smith KR, R. L. Utz, Claire Yang Y. (2015). “Clarifying hierarchical age, period, cohort models: A rejoinder to Bell and Jones. Social Science & Medicine. S0277-9536(15) 30029-0. Published, 11/2015.
  • Tabler, J. R. L. Utz, L. Ellington, M. Reblin, M. Caserta, M. Clayton, D. Lund. (2015). “Missed Opportunity: Hospice Care and the Family” Journal of Social Work in End of Life and Palliative Care. 11 (3/4), 224-243. *Selected as 2015 Best Paper by journal. Published, 10/2015.
  • Tabler, J. & R. L. Utz. (2015). “The Influence of Adolescent Eating Disorders or Disordered Eating Behaviors on Socioeconomic Achievement in Early Adulthood” International Journal of Eating Disorders. 48 (6) : 622-632. Published, 08/2015.
  • Utz, R.L. & Anita Pascoe (2015). Widowhood. In Encyclopedia of Family Studies. Wiley-Blackwell. Published, 04/2015.
  • Lund, D. R. L. Utz, M. Caserta, S. Wright, S. Llanque, C. Lindfelt, H. Shon, C. Whitlatch, J. Montoro-Rodriguez. (2014). "Time for Living & Caring: A Tailored Intervention to Make Respite More Effective for Caregivers” International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 79 (2). 157-178. Published, 08/2014.
  • Caserta, M, D. Lund, R.L. Utz, & J. Tabler. (forthcoming) “’One Size Doesn’t Fit All’ – Partners in Hospice Care, an Individualized Approach to Bereavement Intervention” OMEGA: Journal of Death & Dyning. (2). 157-178. Accepted, 07/2014.
  • Utz, R. L. (2014) “Walking the Dog: Comparison of Health & Health Behaviors Among Pet Owners.” Social Indicators Research, 116 (2): 327-339. Published, 02/2014.
  • Utz, R. L. K Swenson, D. Lund, M. Caserta, B. DeVries. (2014). Feeling Lonely vs. Being Alone: Loneliness and Social Support Among Recently Bereaved Older Adults. Journal of Gerontology, Series B 69B (1): 85-94. Published, 02/2014.
  • De Vries, B, R. L. Utz, D. Lund, & M. Caserta. (2014). Friend and Family Contact and Support in Early Widowhood. Journal of Gerontology, Series B: 69B (1): 75-84. Published, 02/2014.
  • M. Caserta, R. L. Utz, D. Lund, K. Bearnson, B. deVries. (2014) “Coping Processes Among Bereaved Spouses” Death Studies, 38 (3). 145-155. Published, 02/2014.
  • W. Robinson, R. L. Utz, K. Keyes, C. Martin, Y. Yang. (2013) “Birth cohort effects on abdominal obesity in the United States: the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, and Generation X.” International Journal of Obesity 37: 1129-1134. Published, 08/2013.
  • Utz, R. L. (2015). Bereavement. In Encyclopedia of Adult Development and Aging. Wiley-Blackwell. Accepted, 06/2013.
  • Caserta, M, R. L. Utz, D. Lund. (2013) “Spousal Bereavement Following Cancer Death” Illness, Crisis, Loss: 21 (3), 185-202. Published, 04/2013.
  • Utz, R. L., Caserta, M. Lund, M. (2013). An Evaluation of the Living After Loss Intervention - Part 1: Do Bereavement-Related Outcomes Vary by the Content of Support Groups? Grief Matters: The Australian Journal of Grief & Bereavement 16(2): 32-35. Published, 04/2013.
  • Utz, R. L., Lund, D. Caserta, M. (2013). An Evaluation of the Living After Loss Intervention – Part 2: Do Bereavement-Related Outcomes Vary by the Dynamics of Support Groups? Grief Matters.: The Australian Journal of Grief & Bereavement 16 (2): 36-40. Published, 04/2013.
  • W. Robinson , K. Keyes, R. L. Utz, C. Martin, Y. Yang. (2013). "Birth Cohort effects among US-born adults born in the 1980s: Foreshadowing future trends in US obesity prevalence." International Journal of Obesity , 37. 448-454. Published, 03/2013.
  • M. Hollingshaus & R. L. Utz. (2013) “Race & Ethnic Disparities in Depression After Major Health Diagnosis” Society and Mental Health. 3 (1). 22-29. Published, 02/2013.
  • Utz, R. L., M. Caserta, D. Lund. (2012) “Grief, Depressive-Symptoms, and Physical Health Among Recently Bereaved Spouses” The Gerontologist, 52 (4). 460-471. Published, 10/2012.
  • Utz, R. L., D. Lund, M. Caserta & S. Wright. (2012). “The Benefits of Respite Time-Use: A Comparison of Employed and Non-Employed Caregivers” Journal of Applied Gerontology, 31 (3): 438-461. Published, 10/2012.
  • M. Caserta, R. L. Utz, D. Lund, K. Bearnson, B. deVries. (forthcoming) “Coping Processes Among Bereaved Spouses” – Accepted for publication Death Studies. Accepted, 06/2012.
  • H. Uphold-Carrier & R. L. Utz. (2012) “Parental Divorce among Young and Adult Children: A Long Term Quantitative Analysis of Mental Health and Family Solidarity” Journal of Marriage and Divorce, 53 (4): 247-266. Accepted, 01/2012.
  • Coffield, E. Utz, R. Waitzman, N. Metos, J. (2011). Counterweight: Can School Wellness Policies Curb the Obesity Epidemic? Journal of Adolescent Health, 49 (4): 363-370. Published, 10/2011.
  • Utz, R. L., M. Caserta , D. Lund. (2011). “Perceived Self-Competency Among the Recently Bereaved.” Journal of Social Work in End of Life and Palliative Care, 7 (2-3): 173-194. Published, 08/22/2011.
  • Utz, R. L., R. Nelson, P. Dien. (2011) “American Health Care: Public Opinion Differences in the Confidence, Affordability, and Need for Reform” Research in the Sociology of Health Care, 29: 243-272. Published, 08/2011.
  • Utz, R. L. & K. Nordmeyer. (April 2015). Menopause. In Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. Wiley-Blackwell. Accepted, 07/2011.
  • Utz, R. L. (2011). “Like Mother, (Not) Like Daughter: The Social Construction of Menopause and Aging” Journal of Aging Studies, 25: 143-154. Published, 04/2011.
  • D. Lund, M. Caserta , R. L. Utz, & B. DeVries. (2010) “Experiences and Early Coping of Bereaved Spouses/Partners in an Intervention Based on the Dual Process Model (DPM)” OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying, 61 (4): 291-313. Published, 09/2010.
  • D. Lund, M. Caserta , R. L. Utz, & B. DeVries (2010) “A Tale of Two Counties: Bereavement in Socio-Demographically Diverse Places” Illness, Crisis, Loss, 18 (4): 301-321. Published, 06/2010.
  • M. Caserta, R. L. Utz, D. Lund, & B. DeVries. (2010) “Sampling, Recruitment, and Retention in a Bereavement Intervention Study: Experiences from the Living After Loss Project” OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying, 61 (3): 181-203. Published, 06/2010.
  • Utz, R. L., M. Hollingshaus, P. Dien. (2010). “Public Opinion & Health Care” Contexts, 9 (2): 64-68. Published, 05/2010.
  • K. Keyes, R. L. Utz, G. Guoha, W. Robinson. (2010). “What is a Cohort Effect? Three APC Models of Obesity Prevalence in the US”. Social Science & Medicine, 70 (7): 1100-1108. Published, 04/2010.