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Field Education Office Professional Development Workshop

BSW Cording & MSW Hooding

Rita Chou, PhD, MSSW

Make Change Happen

Dr. Rita J. Chou believes that research, in addition to a source of solutions to present issues, is fertile ground for generating questions for further investigation. From examining the prevalence and correlates of discrimination against older workers in the United States to investigating elder support by adult children in China, she aims to enhance the well-being of older adults.

One example of such research is a series of studies Dr. Chou conducted based on the understanding that high employee turnover diminishes the quality of care in long-term care facilities. Dr. Chou researched the deep-rooted causes of direct care workers' difficulties, investigating job satisfaction and retention. These studies led to the understanding that low pay, minimal benefits, heavy workloads, and a diminished sense of organizational justice adversely affected workers’ job satisfaction and retention—all possibly detracting from the quality of care for the older adults in those facilities.

Dr. Chou hopes for a future in which older adults are adequately supported and have ample opportunities to live a full life. She believes that with more knowledge, we can do a better job of advocating for older adults and designing better social policies to ensure their well-being.

Research Background

With a background in both anthropology (PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook) and social welfare (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Dr. Chou has conducted a range of studies on older adults, with the use of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. The overarching goal of Dr. Chou's research is to enhance the well-being of older adults in vulnerable situations. Under this goal, Dr. Chou has studied family support and caregiving, institutional services for older adults, the client-worker relationship in long-term care, workforce participation among older adults, and discrimination against older workers.

Contact Information
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  • 803.777.9265
  • pdf icon tinyCurriculum Vita
Major Classes Taught
  • SOWK 771/PSYC 700 - Introduction to Psychosocial Gerontology
  • SOWK 716 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • SOWK 772 - Social Programs and Services for Older Adults
  • SOWK 777 - Advanced Theory for Social Work Practice (Aging)
  • SOWK 791 - Social Work Research Methods
  • SOWK 792 - Evaluation of Social Work Practice
  • SOWK 892 - Design and Critical Analysis of Social Work Research
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