University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Youngjoon Bae



Travel Award, Methodology Workshop Scholarship

School or College: 

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Dr. Mark Pachucki


Youngjoon Bae is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology. Under the mentorship of his advisor, Dr. Mark Pachucki, Youngjoon’s research addresses how social isolation such as living alone and low levels of social contacts shapes eating behavior and weight changes in older men and women differently. By analyzing the Health and Retirement Study data and the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging data, his dissertation will contrast a higher probability of frailty among older Korean women in social isolation and a higher likelihood of obesity among older American men in social isolation. As a potential mechanism of the trends, he examines the literature on traditional gender roles and norms in food preparation among older men and women who live alone.


Research Topic: Weight Loss in Socially Isolated Elderly Men and Women in Korea

Socially isolated older adults seem to be likely to experience malnutrition and this may result in serious levels of weight loss which can be a risk factor of morbidity and mortality. However, there is no clear evidence of the association between social isolation and weight changes. Youngjoon’s research will clarify this association to inform policymakers to design targeted support programs to prevent health problems associated with dangerous levels of weight changes among older adults in single-person households. This study is particularly important in that COVID-19 has deteriorated social isolation in older adults living alone.

Student Award Academic Year: