Linda Waite
Linda Waite B.A. Michigan State University, 1969
M.A. University of Michigan, 1970
Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1976
Office: NORC 249A Phone: 773-256-6333 Email Interests:

Health & society, aging, family, social demography, sexuality

George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor

Linda Waite is the George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include social demography, aging, the family, health, sexuality and social well-being. She is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the NIA-funded National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), a population-based longitudinal study of health among older adults. The hallmark of NSHAP is its comprehensive approach to the health and well-being of older, community-dwelling Americans. At the heart of this project is a nationally-representative survey, first fielded in 2005, with reinterviews in 2010, 2015 and 2021. The interdisciplinary team of investigators has developed cutting-edge methods for measuring population health, and in 2020 an NSHAP COVID19 study was conducted to learn about the experiences of older adults during the pandemic. This project has produced ground-breaking knowledge on the links between social relationships and physical, psychological, cognitive and functional health.

Waite is the recipient of a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Recent Research / Recent Publications

Podcasts and Webinars

Waite, Linda J.  2021. “Loneliness is Associated with High-Risk Medication Use in Older Adults.” NEJM Journal Watch Audio General Medicine. New England Journal of Medicine.

Cagney, Kate and Linda Waite. 2021.  Doing Social Science During COVID. Artifact Interview. The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong.

100 Year Lives in Asia.  2020.  Social Relationship and COVID-19.  100YLA  Panelist.  Yuen Lecture Series. 100-Year Lives in Asia. University of Chicago Center in Hong Kong. Webcast, April 30.

Waite, Linda J. 2019. Why Your Social Life is a Matter of Life and Death with Linda Waite (Ep. 29). Big Brains Podcast. University of Chicago. Webpage:

Published Articles

Hsu, Kristie Y., Irena Cenzer, Krista L. Harrison, Christine Richie, Linda Waite, Ashwin Kotwal. 2023. “In Sickness and In Health: Loneliness, Depression and the Role of Marital Quality among Spouses of Persons with Dementia.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Kotwal, Ashwin et al. 2022.  A Single Question Assessment of Loneliness in Older Adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: A Nationally-Representative Study."  Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. DOI: PMID: 35141875.

Waite, Linda J., James Iveniuk and Ashwin Kotwal.  2022. “Takes Two to Tango: Cognitive Impairment and Sexual Activity in Older Individuals and Dyads.”  The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, first online August 30, 2021.  DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbab158. PMID: 34460903.

Waite, Linda J., Hawkley Louise, Kotwal Ashwin A, O'Muircheartaigh Colm, Schumm L. Philip, Wroblewski Kristin. 2021. “Analyzing Birth Cohorts With the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project.” The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 76(S3):S226-S237. DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbab172. PMCID: PMC8678436.

Hawkley, Louise, Laura Finch, Ashwin Kotwal and Linda J. Waite. 2021. “Can Remote Social Contact Replace In-Person Contact to Protect Mental Health among Older Adults?”  Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 1-3. DOI: 10.1111/jgs.17405. PMCID: PMC8595630.

Waite, Linda J., Rebeccah Duvoisin and Ashwin A. Kotwal. 2021. “Social Health in the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project.” The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 76(S3):S251-S265. DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbab138. PMCID: PMC8678439.

Wong, Jaclyn S., Melissa J. K. Howe, Hannah Breslau, Kristen E. Wroblewski, V. Eloesa McSorley and Linda J. Waite. 2021. “Elder Mistreatment Methods and Measures in Round 3 of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project.” The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 76(S3):S287-S298. DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbab106. PMCID: PMC8678432.

Waite, Linda J. and James Iveniuk.  2021. “Ch. 10: Sexuality at Older Ages”.   Pp. 151-164 in Deborah Carr and Ellen Idler, Eds., Handbook of Aging and the Life Course. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-815970-5.00010-3.

Wong, Jaclyn S., Hannah Breslau, Eloesa McSorley, Kristen Wroblewski, Melissa Howe, and Linda Waite. 2020.  “The Social Relationship Context of Elder Mistreatment.”  The Gerontologist, 60(6):1029-1039. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnz154. PMCID: PMC7427485.

Hawkley, L. C., Zheng, B., Hedberg, E. C., Huisingh-Scheetz, M., & Waite, L. 2020. “Cognitive limitations in older adults receiving care reduces well-being among spousal caregivers.” Psychology and Aging. 35(1): 28-40. DOI: 10.1037/pag0000406. PMCID: PMC6989024.

Hsieh, Ning and Linda J. Waite.  2019. "Disability, Psychological Well-Being, and Social Interaction in Later Life in China" Research on Aging, 41(4):362-389. DOI: 10.1177/0164027518824049. PMID: 30636536.

Iveniuk, James, and Linda Waite. 2018. “The Psychosocial Sources of Sexual Interest in Older Couples.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Special Issue.  35(4) 615–631. DOI: 10.1177/0265407517754148.

Waite, Linda J. 2018. “Social Well-Being and Health in the Older Population: Moving Beyond Social Relationships.” National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Pp. 99-130 in Future Directions for the Demography of Aging: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. DOI: 10.17226/25064. PMID: 29989766.

Wong, Jaclyn S., and Linda J. Waite. 2017. “Elder Mistreatment Predicts Later Physical and Psychological Health: Results from a National Longitudinal Study.”  Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, 29(1):15-42. DOI: 10.1080/08946566.2016.1235521. PMCID: PMC5322798.

Waite, Linda J., James Iveniuk, Edward O. Laumann, and Martha McClintock. 2017. “Sexuality in Older Couples: Individual and Dyadic Characteristics.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(2): 605-18.  DOI: 10.1007/s10508-015-0651-9. PMCID: PMC5554590.

Waite, Linda J, Kathleen Cagney, William Dale, Louise Hawkley, Elbert Huang, Diane Lauderdale, Edward O. Laumann, Martha McClintock, Colm A. O’Muircheartaigh, and L. Phillip Schumm. National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP): Wave 3. ICPSR36873-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-10-25. DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR36873.v1.

McClintock, Martha, William Dale, Edward O. Laumann and Linda J. Waite.  2016. “Empirical Redefinition of Comprehensive Health and Well-Being in the Older Adults in the US”.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, E3071-E3080. PMID: 27185911.   DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1514968113 PMCID: PMC4896706.