Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law Program on Global Justice Stanford University

Research at PGJ

Center on Advancing Decision Making in Aging (CADMA)

CHP/PCOR Program
9/30/04 - 8/31/14

Mary K. Goldstein - Principal Investigator
Laura Carstensen - Co-Investigator
Kathryn M. McDonald - Associate Director
Neesha Joseph - Program Manager


To promote research that explores how older Americans make decisions regarding their health and well-being, with the goal of developing and implementing practical methods that will help them make informed, effective decisions.


CADMA is one of 13 Edward R. Roybal Centers for Research on Applied Gerontology, funded by the National Institute on Aging (part of the National Institutes of Health). Named for former House Select Committee on Aging Chair Edward R. Roybal, the centers are designed to translate social and behavioral research findings into programs and policies aimed at improving the health, quality of life and productivity of older Americans.

CADMA, administered by Stanford University's Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research (CHP/PCOR), is truly an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental effort. Collaborators are drawn from the fields of health policy, geriatrics, economics, medical informatics, psychology, psychiatry, epidemiology, and other fields at Stanford and at other institutions, including the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

Need for this research

Why study decision making among the elderly? There is little doubt that financial, lifestyle and healthcare decisions have a far-reaching impact on the well-being of the elderly. In recent years, the decisions older Americans face have become increasingly complex and pervasive in their lives. Given these realities, a more complete understanding of the decision making process is required to develop better ways to frame decisions and present information, so that decisions are fully informed and their outcomes are desirable, whether these decisions are made by older people themselves or by others, such as friends, family, healthcare providers, government officials or other policymakers.

Aims of the Center

  • To investigate the roles that age-related changes in emotion and cognition play in decision making, especially those surrounding cognitively complex (e.g., health care plan choice) and emotionally-charged (e.g., decisions about end-of-life care) topics.
  • To learn how decision making processes influence day-to-day decisions, such as choices regarding exercise and diet, that influence health and functional status of the elderly.
  • To develop and evaluate support tools or information useful to such tools that could be provided at or near the time of when people face difficult life decisions.

Links to other Roybal Centers



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