Richard A. Settersten, Jr., Ph.D.

Richard A. Settersten, Jr., Ph.D.

University Distinguished Professor of Human Development

Office: 541-737-8902

Waldo Hall

Waldo Hall 433

2250 SW Jefferson Way

2250 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331

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Academic interests: 

The life course; age and aging; transitions; social relationships; historical experiences and social change; parenthood and family life; social policy.


Richard (Rick) A. Settersten, Jr., PhD, is University Distinguished Professor of Human Development. He serves as Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs at Oregon State University. He was the founding Director of the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families.

Before coming to OSU, Settersten was Professor of Sociology at Case Western Reserve University. Settersten was a member of the decade-long MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood and Public Policy, and has served as Chair of the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association.

Dr. Settersten is a specialist in life-course studies, with a strong record of experience conducting research and collaborating across disciplines and life periods. His research has often focused on the first and last few decades of adulthood, always with an eye toward understanding the whole of human life.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Settersten has held fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education in Berlin, the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern, and the Spencer Foundation in Chicago.  He is author or editor of many scientific articles and several books, including Living on the Edge, Precarity and Ageing, Long-Term Outcomes of Military Service, Handbook of Theories of Aging, Not Quite Adults, Handbook of Sociology of Aging, and On the Frontier of Adulthood, as well as issues of Advances in Life Course Research, Public Policy and Aging Report, Research on Aging, and Research in Human Development.

Besides MacArthur, his research has been supported by divisions of the National Institutes of Health—including projects on personalized genomic medicine (funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute), scientific and medical efforts to control human aging (by the National Institute on Aging), and the long-term effects of military service on health and well-being in later life (also funded by the National Institute on Aging).

Settersten has participated in National Academy of Science/Institute on Medicine panel discussions about the health, safety, and well-being of young adults, and the social demography, epidemiology, and sociology of aging. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, has served on review committees of the National Institutes of Health, and was co-editor of the journal Research in Human Development.

At Oregon State, he has since 2015 been co-leading the Oregon Family Impact Seminars. These nonpartisan workshops bring the best possible scientific evidence to state legislators, agency heads, and other leaders to help guide policy decisions.

His research has been covered in many media outlets, including the Economist, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New Yorker, Christian Science Monitor, NPR, BBC, and U.S. News and World Report.

His work has been recognized with the Distinguished Lifetime Career Award of the Society for the Study of Human Development, the Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America and the Outstanding Publication Award of the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association. At OSU, he has received the university-wide Impact Award for Outstanding Scholarship, as well as the Faculty Excellence Award and the Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.




S. R. Kunkel and Settersten, R. A., Aging, Society, and the Life Course, 6th ed. New York: Springer Publishing, 2022, p. 448.


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