I was trained as a clinical psychologist, but did my internship in a psychiatric hospital and my post-doc in a geriatric department. I am currently in the school of social work and coordinate an international, multi-disciplinary, inter-sectorial Ph.D. program. As a result of these diverse exposures, my perspective has shifted from the micro-level, focused on the individual and his or her psychopathology to the meso- and macro-levels as they relate to normative processes in the lives of older adults.
A major interest of mine for the past decade has been the topic of ageism, defined by the World Health Organization as the stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice of people because of their age. Because ageism is not a purely theoretical concept, but has real life implications, I have been striving to use research to support policies and legislations of relevance to older adults.
Specifically, for the past four years, I have served as the chair of a COST Action on Ageism (COST IS1402; notoageism.com). COST stands for Cooperation in Science and Technology. It is the oldest funding mechanism in Europe which aims to connect researchers around a specific topic in order to enhance the field. Our COST Action encompassed over 200 researchers from 35 countries. We met regularly in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of what ageism is and what we should do to reduce it. This resulted in an edited book on ageism published by Springer (Contemporary perspectives on ageism). We also collaborated with several policy stakeholders, including the World Health Organization and Age-Platform Europe in order to ensure that our research informs policy and legislations. In collaboration with researchers and policy stakeholders, I developed an international Ph.D. program, funded under H2020, under the Marie Curie Scheme (Euroageism.eu). This program aims to train 15 early stage researchers to bridge the gap between science and policy.
I see these various projects as opportunities not only to improve the lives of older adults in society, but also to potentially impact my own life and the lives of my children. I realize it takes time and effort to modify current societal discourse and thinking. Yet, I am optimistic that we are heading in the right direction, towards a world for all ages.
Areas of Expertise (5)
University of California San Francisco: HRSA Postdoctoral Clinical/ Research Fellow, Geriatrics 2005
Department of Medicine, Mentor: Patricia Arean, Ph.D.
University of California San Francisco: Internship, Clinical Psychology 2003
Department of Psychiatry, Mentor: Patricia Areán, Ph.D.
Illinois Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Clinical Psychology 2002
Dissertation Title: "An explanatory model of racial variations in illness behaviors"
Illinois Institute of Technology: M.S., Psychology 2000
Thesis Title: "A comparison of depressive symptoms in African Americans and Caucasian Americans".
Ben-Gurion University: B.A. (Cum Laude), Behavioral Sciences 1996
Bachelor’s thesis title: "Motherland or home country: a comparative study of quality of life among Jews from the Soviet Union, who immigrated to Israel, Jews in Russia, and Israeli non-immigrants".
Media Appearances (1)
Israeli University To Host Symposium Combating Ageism
The Jerusalem Post online
“Aging has become one of the greatest promises of society,” Professor Liat Ayalon of Bar-Ilan’s Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work said in a statement ahead of the conference. “For the first time in history, older adults have outnumbered children worldwide. Moreover, most people are expected to live into their sixties and beyond. It is, therefore, our duty to ensure a world for all ages, where age is not a barrier. We will aim to change the way we think, feel and act towards age and aging.”
Event Appearances (7)
The challenges and new directions in the conduct of transnational elder care research
Long term care crisis: Tapping into labour resources within and across national borders Mainz, Germany
Keynote Speaker - Ageism: Challenges and new directions
The bi-annual meeting of IAGG-ER Gothenburg, Sweden
The Prime Minister’s round table on aging Tel Aviv, Israel
Recommended measures for the assessment of ageism: Results from a systematic review of the psychometric properties of ageism measures
The bi-annual meeting of IAGG-ER Gothenburg, Sweden
From a Bird’s Eye View: Whole Social Networks in Adult Day Care Centers and Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Gerontological Society of America Boston, MA
Will You Still Need Me? The Longitudinal Associations of Social Usefulness and Aging Self-perceptions
Symposium on Ageism from a Multi-Disciplinary Perspective Gothenburg, Sweden
Push and pull factors of job seekers who consider employment as home care workers for older adults
Annual meeting of Espanet-Israel Rupin, Israel
Research Grants (7)
Gendering age-Representations of masculinities and ageing in contemporary European literatures and cinemas
GENDER-NET consortium $100,000 Euro
Israeli Principal Investigator
Euro-Ageism Innovative Training Network
Horizon 2020 $4,000,000 Euro (approx.)
Coordinator (with 7 other beneficiaries; 5 partners)
Evaluation of a training program for paraprofessional home care workers with older adults
National Insurance Institute of Israel
PI (with Shanan-Altman)
The quality of healthcare services provided to older adults regarding sexual functioning and sexual satisfaction
The Israel National Institute for Health Policy & Health Services Research
PI (with Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Margalit Goldfracht, Uri Gur)
A longitudinal study of social networks in the continuing care retirement community.
Israel Science Foundation $150,000
Home care to older adults in the North of Israel: A cross-cultural comparison.
National Insurance Institute of Israel $50,000
Barrier to pursuing home care positions among job seekers
National Insurance Institute of Israel $30,000
Featured Articles (8)
Ayalon, L. Yahav, I., & Lesser, O.
Each respondent received a list of names of all individuals receiving services in the respective ADCC or CCRC and was asked to indicate whom he/she knows from the list. We derived whole social network properties and used hierarchical cluster analysis to group network settings. We further examined the ability of the social network data to classify respondents as members of either an ADCC or a CCRC.
Liat Ayalon & Amber Gum
A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) represents a residential alternative for older adults. It offers a variety of social and health care services to meet older adults’ needs and preferences. Using the theory of innovation as a theoretical basis, the overall goal of the study was to use the source of information about the CCRC as a potential predictor of the decision to move.
Liat Ayalon, PhD, Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, PhD and Inbar Levkovich, PhD
7 coping strategies that were differentially employed by men and women were identified. These strategies were classified along a continuum of internal (involving only the person being affected by the change) vs external (involving others) strategies. External strategies involved other people and services, such as a primary care provider or a counselor, whereas internal strategies were confined to intrapsychic experiences, such as an acceptance of the fact that sex was no longer part of life.
Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan & Liat Ayalon
Although many older adults reportedly maintain an active sex life, limited research has focused on the reasons they engage in sex. The present study identified and described sexual motives in the second half of life reported by 47 older adults.
Yuval Palgia, Liat Ayalon, Sharon Avidor, Dikla Segel-Karpas, Ehud Bodnerd,
Data were drawn from 4938 participants, who completed the 2008 and 2012 questionnaires of the Healthand-Retirement-Study (HRS). Participants were divided into four groups according to their reported proportional-felt-age: the normative-young (N = 2229), reported a normative felt-age at the median or younger; normative-old (N = 2226), reported normative felt-age at the median and older; and the extremely young and extremely old proportional-felt-age (upper and lower 5% of felt-age; N’s = 242 and 241, respectively).
Liat Ayalon, Inbar Levkovich, Ateret Gewirtz‑Meydan, Khaled Karkab
The present study examined how older adults communicate about sexual issues in light of the tremendous societal changes that have taken place with regard to sexuality in the past few decades. We relied on interviews with 47 Israelis 60 years of age and older who were instructed to discuss sexuality in old age and its unique characteristics, using semi-structured interviews.
Nevadeal, A., Ayalon, L. & Briller, S.
Gerontologists have long been interested in longitudinal qualitative research (LQR), yet ambiguity remains about best practices. The purpose of this review was to conduct a qualitative evidence synthesis to identify strengths and limitations in existing gerontological LQR.
The present study adds to the current body of literature by simultaneously examining the public perception of young and old people as posing realistic threats (e.g., to the group’s power, resources, and welfare) and symbolic threats (e.g., to one’s world view, belief system and values).