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Kimberly A. Van Orden, Ph.D.

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Office: (585) 275-5176

Fax: (585) 276-2065

URMFGA member of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group

groupAn Accountable Health Partner

assignmentNot Accepting New Patients

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My goal as a researcher is to increase our understanding of how to address the significant public health problem of social isolation in later life. My colleagues and I conduct studies to better understand the different ways isolation (both perceived and 'objective') is expressed and experienced in later life, from restricted social networks, to loneliness, to low social support, to feeling as if one does not belong. We also strive to understand how to reduce isolation and promote connectedness using behavioral interventions. The strong associations between isolation and poor health, as well as the strong associations between social connectedness and good health and well-being, suggests that promoting social connectedness--positive interactions and relationships with others--should in turn positively influence trajectories of health and well-being. However, there are few studies that provide compelling evidence of strategies to increase connectedness. My lab --the HOPE (Helping Older People Engage) Lab is focused on developing new interventions to increase connectedness, as well as testing existing interventions that have promise for increasing connectedness, but have not been tested. Social isolation (in its many forms) is also strongly linked to suicide across the lifespan. Another focus of my work is theory testing to promote understanding of suicide and illuminate mechanisms that can serve as intervention targets. I have contributed to the formulation, refinement, and evaluation of the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. Much of my work in interventions is informed by this theory and what it suggests may be effective strategies for helping individuals connect and contribute in ways that are meaningful for them.



A.B. | Columbia University

M.S | Florida State University
Clinical Psychology

Doctoral | Florida State University
Clinical Psychology

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

07/01/2009 - 06/30/2010
Fellowship in Psychology at University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry

07/01/2008 - 06/30/2009
Internship in Psychology at Montefiore Medical Center


2008 - 2009
P.E.O Scholar Award

Melissa Institute Belfer-Aptman Dissertation Research Award

American Association of Suicidology Student Research Award

Florida State University Dissertation Research Grant

Phi Beta Kappa

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Journal Articles

Corona CD, Van Orden KA, Wisco BE, Pietrzak RH. "Meaning in life moderates the association between morally injurious experiences and suicide ideation among U.S. combat veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study." Psychological trauma : theory, research, practice and policy.. 2019 Sep 0; 11(6):614-620. Epub 2019 May 30.

Mournet AM, Bower E, Van Orden KA. "Domains of Functional Impairment and Their Associations with Thwarted Belonging and Perceived Burden in Older Adults." Clinical gerontologist.. 2019 Aug 9; :1-9. Epub 2019 Aug 09.

Conti EC, Jahn DR, Simons KV, Edinboro LPC, Jacobs ML, Vinson L, Stahl ST, Van Orden KA. "Safety Planning to Manage Suicide Risk with Older Adults: Case Examples and Recommendations." Clinical gerontologist.. 2019 May 17; :1-6. Epub 2019 May 17.

Books & Chapters

Book Title: The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients
Author List: Thomas E. Joiner, Kimberly A. Van Orden, Tracy K. Witte, M. David Rudd
Published By: American Psychological Association 2009