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Liat Ayalon, Ph.D.


I am a clinical psychologist and a Professor at Bar Ilan University.


I was trained as a clinical psychologist, but did my internship in a psychiatric hospital and my post-doc in a geriatric department. I am currently in the school of social work and coordinate an international, multi-disciplinary, inter-sectorial Ph.D. program. As a result of these diverse exposures, my perspective has shifted from the micro-level, focused on the individual and his or her psychopathology to the meso- and macro-levels as they relate to normative processes in the lives of older adults.A major interest of mine for the past decade has been the topic of ageism, defined by the World Health Organization as the stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice of people because of their age. Because ageism is not a purely theoretical concept, but has real life implications, I have been striving to use research to support policies and legislations of relevance to older adults. Specifically, for the past four years, I have served as the chair of a COST Action on Ageism (COST IS1402; COST stands for Cooperation in Science and Technology. It is the oldest funding mechanism in Europe which aims to connect researchers around a specific topic in order to enhance the field. Our COST Action encompassed over 200 researchers from 35 countries. We met regularly in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of what ageism is and what we should do to reduce it. This resulted in an edited book on ageism published by Springer (Contemporary perspectives on ageism). We also collaborated with several policy stakeholders, including the World Health Organization and Age-Platform Europe in order to ensure that our research informs policy and legislations. In collaboration with researchers and policy stakeholders, I developed an international Ph.D. program, funded under H2020, under the Marie Curie Scheme ( This program aims to train 15 early stage researchers to bridge the gap between science and policy.I see these various projects as opportunities not only to improve the lives of older adults in society, but also to potentially impact my own life and the lives of my children. I realize it takes time and effort to modify current societal discourse and thinking. Yet, I am optimistic that we are heading in the right direction, towards a world for all ages.


Israeli University To Host Symposium Combating Ageism
The Jerusalem Post

November 14, 2017

“Aging has become one of the greatest promises of society,” Professor Liat Ayalon of Bar-Ilan’s Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work said in a statement ahead of the conference. “For the first time in history, older adults have outnumbered children worldwide. Moreover, most people are expected to live into their sixties and beyond. It is, therefore, our duty to ensure a world for all ages, where age is not a barrier. We will aim to change the way we think, feel and act towards age and aging.”

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From a bird's eye view: Whole social networks in adult day care centers and continuing care retirement communities
Innovating in Aging

2018Each respondent received a list of names of all individuals receiving services in the respective ADCC or CCRC and was asked to indicate whom he/she knows from the list. We derived whole social network properties and used hierarchical cluster analysis to group network settings. We further examined the ability of the social network data to classify respondents as members of either an ADCC or a CCRC.

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A Typology of Source of Information About the Continuing Care Retirement Community and Older Adults’ Living Arrangement
Journal of Housing For The Elderly

2018A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) represents a residential alternative for older adults. It offers a variety of social and health care services to meet older adults’ needs and preferences. Using the theory of innovation as a theoretical basis, the overall goal of the study was to use the source of information about the CCRC as a potential predictor of the decision to move.

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Older Adults’ Coping Strategies With Changes in Sexual Functioning: Results From Qualitative Research
The Journal of Sexual Medicine

20187 coping strategies that were differentially employed by men and women were identified. These strategies were classified along a continuum of internal (involving only the person being affected by the change) vs external (involving others) strategies. External strategies involved other people and services, such as a primary care provider or a counselor, whereas internal strategies were confined to intrapsychic experiences, such as an acceptance of the fact that sex was no longer part of life.

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Why Do Older Adults Have Sex? Approach and Avoidance Sexual Motives Among Older Women and Men
The Journal of Sex Research

2018Although many older adults reportedly maintain an active sex life, limited research has focused on the reasons they engage in sex. The present study identified and described sexual motives in the second half of life reported by 47 older adults.

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On the edge: The association between extreme values of proportional feltage and functioning
Psychiatry Research

2018Data were drawn from 4938 participants, who completed the 2008 and 2012 questionnaires of the Healthand-Retirement-Study (HRS). Participants were divided into four groups according to their reported proportional-felt-age: the normative-young (N = 2229), reported a normative felt-age at the median or younger; normative-old (N = 2226), reported normative felt-age at the median and older; and the extremely young and extremely old proportional-felt-age (upper and lower 5% of felt-age; N’s = 242 and 241, respectively).

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A Life Course Perspective on the Ways Older Men and Women Discuss Sexual Issues
Archives of Sexual Behavior

2018The present study examined how older adults communicate about sexual issues in light of the tremendous societal changes that have taken place with regard to sexuality in the past few decades. We relied on interviews with 47 Israelis 60 years of age and older who were instructed to discuss sexuality in old age and its unique characteristics, using semi-structured interviews.

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A qualitative evidence synthesis review of longitudinal qualitative research in gerontology
The Gerontologist

2018Gerontologists have long been interested in longitudinal qualitative research (LQR), yet ambiguity remains about best practices. The purpose of this review was to conduct a qualitative evidence synthesis to identify strengths and limitations in existing gerontological LQR.

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Are Older Adults Perceived as A Threat to Society? Exploring Perceived Age-Based Threats in 29 Nations
The Journals of Gerontology: Series B

2017The present study adds to the current body of literature by simultaneously examining the public perception of young and old people as posing realistic threats (e.g., to the group’s power, resources, and welfare) and symbolic threats (e.g., to one’s world view, belief system and values).

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Area of Expertise

Ageism Discrimination

Combating Ageism

Formal and Informal Care for Older Adults

Health Policy Research

Mental Health

Mental Health Service Use and Clinical Outcomes in Older Adults


University of California San Francisco : Geriatrics

University of California San Francisco : Clinical Psychology

Illinois Institute of Technology : Clinical Psychology

Illinois Institute of Technology : Psychology

Ben-Gurion University : Behavioral Sciences

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