Antonucci to Receive GSA’s 2011 Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award

For Immediate Release
August 14, 2012

Contact: Todd Kluss
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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — has chosen Toni Antonucci, PhD, of the University of Michigan as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award.

This distinguished honor is given annually to an individual whose theoretical contributions have helped bring about a new synthesis and perspective or have yielded original and elegant research designs addressing a significant problem in the literature.

The award presentation will take place at GSA’s 65th Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 14 to 18 in San Diego. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit for further details.

Antonucci, who served as GSA president in 2002, is the associate vice president for research, social sciences and the humanities at the University of Michigan, where she also is the Elizabeth M. Douvan Collegiate Professor of Psychology and a research professor in the Institute for Social Research Life Course Development Program. She studies social relations and health across the life span, including multigenerational studies of the family and comparative studies of social relations across the life span in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

One of Antonucci’s greatest research contributions is the convoy model of social relations, a pioneering effort that has become the gold standard for representing social networks and social support over the lifespan. This model is among the most cited in social and behavioral gerontology, as is its corresponding sociometric measurement technique that she developed to hierarchically map social relations. These have informed the research of generations of scholars who study personal relationships and aging. Additionally, she is involved in the examination and prevention of elder abuse; her research on social relations serves as an informed model for clarifying the nature and forms of elder abuse.

Her work has had important practical implications. For example, she is involved in Masterpiece Living projects, which endeavor to apply the tenets of successful aging to senior housing facilities. In 2011, Antonucci was given the Masterpiece Living Robert L. Kahn Award for Lifetime Achievement in Promoting Successful Aging for her efforts to improve quality of life among older adults. She was recently awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant to apply successful aging and Masterpiece Living principals to affordable housing facilities, and she is a member of the MacArthur Network on Aging Societies. She also is a GSA fellow, which represents the Society’s highest class of membership, and is a former editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences. In 2013, she will become secretary general/vice president of the World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, a major conference organized by the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics that will be hosted by GSA in San Francisco in 2017.


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

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