Anthony R. Bardo
Life Course, Health/Well-Being, Demography, Research Methods, Cross-Cultural
I am a life course scholar who studies social inequalities in quality-of-life, with a focus on morbidity, mortality, and subjective well-being. My research centers around how structural barriers prevent equitable access to resources that promote long and happy lives. I critically address limitations presented by the standard metric used for age(ing)—the number of times one has been around the sun—by emphasizing how age(ing) is a multidimensional concept (i.e., age-period-cohort) bounded by socially structured patterns of expectations. All my research focuses on age(ing) within cultural contexts.
I was inspired to examine social inequalities in quality-of-life when I was exposed to America’s long-term care system after my grandma had a stroke. Initially, I focused my research on how to provide adults who developed disabilities access to resources to remain in their homes.1 Shortly thereafter, I discovered that health is not a prerequisite for happiness. Perplexed by this seeming paradox, I shifted my research toward how perceptions of quality-of-life change across the life course2,3,4 and differ across cultures.5,6
My leap from micro to macro-level research provided a unique viewpoint on how traditional medical and economic models that predominate in America conflict with living a long and happy life. This led me to collaborate on whether enhancing access to resources in midlife was advantageous for promoting health and well-being.7,8 At the same time, I expanded the health-happiness paradox by determining whether social inequalities were exacerbated when length of quality-of-life was simultaneously considered.9,10
My recent research is oriented toward addressing whether we’re just adding years to life, or life to years. Specifically, I aim to understand how subjective well-being is linked to patterns of midlife morbidity and mortality. This work is guided by the stress process paradigm with an emphasis on how disparities in access to coping resources, particularly social connections, underly worsening trends in population health. My long-term goal is to use this research to inform the design and development of community-level interventions to promote long and happy lives among underprivileged groups.11,12
(1) Bardo, A.R., Applebaum, R.A., Kunkel, S.R., Carpio, E.A. (2014). Everyone’s talking about it, but does it work? Nursing home diversion and transition. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 33(2), 205-224.
(2) Bardo, A.R., Yamashita, T. Validity of domain satisfaction across cohorts in the US. (2014). Social Indicators Research, 117(2), 367-385.
(3) Bardo, A.R. (2017). A life course model for a domains-of-life approach to happiness: Evidence from the United States. Advances in Life Course Research, 33, 11-22.
(4) Bardo, A.R., Lynch, S.M., Land, K.C. (2017). The importance of the baby boom cohort and the great recession in understanding age, period, and cohort patterns in happiness. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8(3), 341-350.
(5) Yamashita, T., Bardo, A.R., Liu, D. (2016). Are East Asians happy to work more or less? Associations between working hours, relative income and happiness in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 19(3), 264-274.
(6) Zang, E., Bardo, A.R. (2019). Objective and subjective socioeconomic status, their discrepancy, and health: Evidence from East Asia. Social Indicators Research, 143(2), 765-794.
(7) Yamashita, T., Bardo, A.R., Liu, D., Yoo, J.W. Education, lifelong learning and self-rated health in later life in the USA. Health Education Journal, 78(3), 328-339.
(8) Yamashita, T., Bardo, A.R., Liu, D., Cummins, P.A. Literacy, numeracy, and health information seeking among middle-aged and older adults in the United States. (2020). Journal of Aging and Health, 32(1), 33-41.
(9) Bardo, A.R., Lynch, S.M. (2021). Cognitively intact and happy life expectancy in the US. The Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 76(2), 242-251.
(10) Bardo, A.R., Cummings, J.L. (in-press). Life, longevity, and the pursuit of happiness: the role of disability in shaping racial and sex disparities in living a long and happy life. Population Research and Policy Review.
(11) Intergenerational interactions: mapping women’s mental health through movement and creativity. UKY Igniting Research Collaborations. PI: Anthony Bardo. CO-PIs: Susan Thiel, Amy Kostelic.
(12) Exploring the effects of job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and the protective effects of Medicaid expansion among middle-aged workers across the rural-urban continuum. Interdisciplinary Network on Rural Population Health and Aging. PI: Huang Huang: CO-PIs: Anthony Bardo, Joseph Benitez.