Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., is currently a professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The author of over 160 refereed articles and book chapters and 16 books (many in multiple editions and translations), her most recent popular work is The Search for Fulfillment (January 2010, Ballantine Books). She also writes for the Huffington Post’s “Post 50” blog and is a frequent commentator on local, national, and international media outlets and has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Dateline, CNN, Olbermann, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, USA Today, and Time.com.
Her research covers a wide range of topics related to adult development and aging, including personality development through midlife, contributors to successful aging, predictors of memory performance, and the relationship between physical health and sense of personal identity. She teaches large undergraduate lecture classes and maintains an active lab of graduate students whose research focuses on life-span development, dementia, and functional abilities in older adults.
Recipient of a 2011 Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association, she is the winner of national and campus teaching and advising awards. She has served in executive board and advisory roles in regional and national professional organizations including the American Psychological Association (Council of Representatives and Board of Educational Affairs), the Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs (Chair), the Society for the Study of Human Development (past President), the Gerontological Society of America (current Chair, Behavioral and Social Sciences Section), the National Association of Fellowship Advisors (Executive Board member), and Psi Chi (past Eastern Regional Vice President), and the Society for Emerging Adulthood (Founding Board member), as well as a member of numerous task forces and advisory panels at the national, regional, state, and campus levels. In June 2017, she begins her term as President of the Eastern Psychological Association.
At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she teaches large undergraduate psychology classes and directs the Commonwealth Honors College’s Office of National Scholarship Advisement. She grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. and graduated from the University at Buffalo. She received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Columbia University and completed a postdoctoral respecialization program in clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Whitbourne lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with her husband and has the distinct pleasure of having raised two daughters who chose to follow their mother’s profession. Her older daughter, Stacey, a developmental/health psychologist, is now a co-author on her adult development text, and her younger daughter, Jennifer is pursuing her doctorate in clinical psychology. Her hobbies include knitting and playing the piano, and through her frequent participation in aerobics classes, she practices what she preaches about the value of aging and exercise.