Our Students in Action

Marian Liu

Health Insurance Choice-Making Among Older Populations

With a growing soft spot for the elderly, developmental psychology doctoral student Marian Liu began volunteering at a senior citizen daycare in Taiwan during her junior year in college. Some of the daycare patients she encountered showed signs of decreasing mental abilities, making them susceptible to scams.

Marian’s experiences at the daycare led her to the work she’s doing today at CGU. She and graduate faculty member Dr. Stacey Wood are conducting an experiment to assess predictors of health insurance choice among the elderly. The number of healthcare options and level of emotional regulation among the participants are two such predictors under investigation. Marian hypothesizes that with age, emotional regulation grows more stable and the level of emotional regulation should also influence health insurance choice. More developed emotional regulation should be associated with health insurance choices that are best suited for the hypothetical patient in the experiment.

Marian explains that she would like to help older populations avoid unnecessary services and scams. She would also like to highlight one of the possible developmental benefits of aging. Her hope is to inform elderly services with her research, and to impact older persons’ emotional development. If more advanced emotional regulation is significantly associated with better healthcare choices, this information could enhance programs for older populations that promote healthy development and independence in old age.

Marian is passionate about this work because she wants to help senior citizens make better decisions and highlight the positive effects of aging. "There are so many negative associations with aging. I want to shine a different light on some of the capabilities that actually increase with age."