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Lori Campbell
Associate Professor, Health, Aging & Society

Lori Campbell is a sociologist who studies family and family relationships through the lenses of gender and aging. Much of her published research has focused on family caregiving, and on a population that has received little attention – adult sons who provide care to older parents.

Unpaid caregiving has long been provided predominately by family, and mainly by women. Although it had been expected that the entry of more and more women into the labour force would result in more men providing care to older parents that has not proven to be the case. Even so, there has long been a significant minority of caregivers who are men, and Dr. Campbell’s study of these adult son caregivers (as part of a SHRCC-funded project) provides insight into how men perform gender in a caregiving role usually associated with women and what that then tells us about masculinity within the context of family care.

Campbell’s scholarly curiosity about relationships within aging families has also led her to an exploration of the experience and meaning of family inheritance as PI on another SSHRC-funded project. Inheritance remains an important mechanism for passing on family wealth and property from older to younger generations. And inheritance decisions made by older people affect individual family members, family relationships, and the entire family network. Inheritance decisions can benefit heirs financially, but also emotionally (through the passing on of cherished family possessions). What their research has found is that although most people want to make decisions about inheritance in a fair and equitable manner, these decisions often create conflict within families and feelings of anger between and among heirs, or potential heirs. Surprisingly, perhaps, conflict within families tends not to be about money but rather about “precious possessions” (very often the family cottage) to which sibling heirs have an emotional attachment.

As Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Social Sciences since 2010, Campbell has turned some of her research attention to developing and assessing strategies designed to help students make a successful transition into and through their university studies. This work includes exploring the value of first year Inquiry in developing academic skills as well as co-creating the “Dogs @ Mac” program in the Faculty of Social Sciences, a program where SPCA therapy dogs visit campus to interact with students. This initiative has led to the ‘hiring’ of two canine members of the Faculty advising team – Lilly and Scout.
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