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Donald Reitzes

Associate Dean for Social and Behavioral Sciences and Professor

My research focuses on symbolic interaction theory and the implications and applications of identity and self-concept on well-being and behavior. Recent published research includes investigations of social and emotional engagement in adulthood, the importance of the racial-ethnic identity, parents’ social construction of their children’s ages, the impact of friendship and social support on adult role identity, and different ways that individuals organize their self-concepts and attribute significance to their roles. I am using data from my National Institute on Aging-funded study to investigate the grandparent identity and factors that influence satisfaction in the role of grandparent, as well as continuing to explore the social psychological consequences of retirement.

My primary teaching interests are in the areas of urban sociology and social psychology. In urban sociology I’m fascinated with neighborhood organizations as active community-building agents and with the process of developing a sense of neighborhood belonging and attachment. My social psychology classes focus on the key concepts of self, identity, and roles and their applications throughout the life course. I also thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to introduce students to sociology and sociological perspectives.