Jewish Home Lifecare :: Caring as individual as you

Kathrin Boerner, PhD

Kathrin Boerner, Senior Research Scientist at Jewish Home Lifecare, is also an Associate Professor at the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her expertise is in adult development and aging, with a particular focus on coping with bereavement and chronic illness. Please feel free to contact Kathrin Boerner at

Senior Research Scientist

Kathrin Boerner

Jewish Home Lifecare
Research Institute on Aging
120 West 106th Street
New York, NY 10025
Tel: 212-870-7522
Fax: 212-870-4905


2000 Ph.D. in Psychology, Free University of Berlin, Germany

1997 M.A. in Psychology, University of Trier, Germany

1993 B.A. in Psychology, Christian Albrechts University to Kiel, Germany

Research Interests

  • Adaptation to major life changes involving loss and decline in adulthood, with a focus on functional loss/chronic disability, end-of-life, and bereavement
  • Family caregiving and support needs in the context of serious illness
  • Long-term care workforce issues around dealing with patient suffering and death

    Recent Grants

    “Second Heidelberg Centenarian Study” funded by Robert Bosch Foundation & Dietmar Hopp Foundation, Germany (Co-Investigator; 1/11-1/13)

    “Bereavement in Direct Care Workers: Quality of Care and Workforce Issues” funded by NIA (1R03AG034076) and Trustee gifts; Principal Investigator; 5/10-4/13)

    “Depression, Disability & Coping in Midlife”; funded by NIMH (1R03-MH76794-01A1; Principal Investigator; 1/07-12/09)

    “Driving Transitions and Mental Health in Disabled Elders”; funded by NIA (1R01-AG020579; Co-Investigator; 5/04-4/10)

    “Control Strategies & Mental Health in Impaired Elders”; funded by NIMH (R01 MH64437; Co-Investigator & Project Director; 5/02-2/10)

    “Life Goals, Disability, and Rehabilitation in working-age adults with vision impairment”; funded by Mr. Edward Ferris (Principal Investigator; 5/05-5/06)

    “Vision Loss, Coping Tendencies, and Mental Health”; funded by NIMH (R03 MH65382; Principal Investigator; 12/01-12/02)

    Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications:

    Cimarolli, V., Boerner, K., Brennan, M, Reinhardt, J. P., & Horowitz, A. (2011). Challenges Faced by Older Adults with Vision Loss: Implications for Rehabilitation. Clinical Rehabilitation, Dec 14 [Epub ahead of print].

    Boerner, K. & Mock, S. (2011). Impact of patient suffering on caregiver well-being: The case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients and their caregivers. Psychology, Health, & Medicine, Nov 25 [Epub ahead of print].

    Boerner, K. & Wang, S. (2011). Goals with limited vision: A qualitative study of coping with vision-related goal interference in midlife. Clinical Rehabilitation, Aug 24 [Epub ahead of print].

    Schilling, O.K., Wahl, H.-W., Horowitz, A., Reinhardt, J. P. & Boerner, K. (2010). The adaptation dynamics of chronic functional impairment: What we can learn from older adults with vision loss. Psychology and Aging, 26(1), 203-13.

    Popivker, L., & Wang, S. W., & Boerner, K. (2010). Eyes on the prize: Life goals in the context of disability in midlife. Clinical Rehabilitation, 24(12), 1127-35. [PMC3178195].

    Boerner, K., Brennan, M., Horowitz, A., & Reinhardt, J. P. (2010). Tackling vision-related disability in old age: An application of the life-span theory of control to narrative data. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 65B(1), 22-31. [PMC2794889].

    Boerner, K. & Wang, S. (2010). How it matters when it happens: Life changes related to functional loss in younger and older adults. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 70(2), 227-243. [PMC3202214].

    Mock, S. E., & Boerner, K. (2010). Sense Making and Benefit Finding among Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and their Primary Caregivers. Journal of Health Psychology, 15(1), 115-121.

    Stroebe, M., Schut, H., & Boerner, K. (2010). Continuing bonds in adaptation to bereavement: Toward theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 259-268.

    Boerner, K. & Schulz, R. (2009). Caregiving, bereavement, and complicated grief. Bereavement Care, 28(3), 10-13.

    Carr, D., & Boerner, K. (2009). Do spousal discrepancies in marital quality assessments affect psychological adjustment to widowhood? Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 495-509.

    Reinhardt, J. P., Boerner, K., & Horowitz, A. (2009). Personal and social resources and adaptation to chronic impairment over time. Aging & Mental Health, 13(3), 367-375.

    Wang, S. & Boerner, K. (2008). Staying connected: Re-establishing social relationships following vision loss. Clinical Rehabilitation, 22, 816–824.

    Schulz, R., Hebert, R. S., & Boerner, K. (2008). Bereavement after caregiving. Geriatrics, 63(1), 20-22.

    Boerner, K., & Jopp, D. (2007). Improvement/maintenance and reorientation as central features of coping with major life change and loss: Contributions of three life-span theories.  Human Development, 50, 171-195.

    Bonanno, G. & Boerner, K. (2007). The stage theory of grief (Letter to the Editor). Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 297(24), p. 2693.

    Boerner, K., Reinhardt, J. P., & Horowitz, A. (2006).  The effect of rehabilitation use on coping patterns over time among older adults with age-related vision loss. Clinical Rehabilitation, 20(6), 478-487.

    Boerner, K., Wang, S., & Cimarolli, V. R. (2006). The impact of functional loss: Nature and implications of life goals. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 11, 265-287.

    Cimarolli, V. R., Boerner, K., & Wang, S. (2006). Life goals in vision rehabilitation: Are they addressed and how? Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 100(6), 343-352.

    Reinhardt, J. P., Boerner, K., & Horowitz, A. (2006). Good to have but not to use: Differential impact of perceived and received support on well-being. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 23(1), 117-129.

    Schulz, R., Boerner, K., Shear, K., Zhang, S., Gitlin, L. N. (2006). Predictors of complicated grief among dementia caregivers: A prospective study of bereavement. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14(8), 650-8.

    Boerner, K., & Cimarolli, V. (2005). Optimizing rehabilitation for adults with visual impairment: attention to life goals and their links to well-being. Clinical Rehabilitation, 19 (7), 790-798.

    Boerner, K., Wortman, C. B., & Bonanno, G. (2005). Resilient or at risk? A four-year study of older adults who initially showed high or low distress following conjugal loss. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 60B(2), P67-P73.

    Cimarolli, V. R., & Boerner, K. (2005).  Social support and well being in adults with visual impairment. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 99(9), 521-534.

    Horowitz, A., Reinhardt, J. P., & Boerner, K. (2005). The effect of rehabilitation on depression among visually disabled older adults. Aging & Mental Health, 9(6), 563-570

    Boerner, K. (2004). Adaptation to disability among middle-aged and older adults: The role of assimilative and accommodative coping. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 59(1), P35-P42. [PMC3182571]

    Boerner, K., Reinhardt, J. P., Horowitz, A., & Raykov, T. (2004). Stability and change in social negativity in later life: Reducing received while maintaining initiated negativity. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 59(4), S230-S237.

    Boerner, K., Schulz, R., & Horowitz, A. (2004). Positive aspects of caregiving and adaptation to bereavement. Psychology and Aging, 19(4), 668-675.

    Travis, L. A., Boerner, K., Reinhardt, J. P., & Horowitz, A. (2004). Exploring functional disability in older adults with low vision. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 98(9), 534-545.

    Boerner, K., & Heckhausen, J. (2003). To have and have not: Adaptive bereavement by transforming mental ties to the deceased. Death Studies, 27(3/April), 199-226.

    Boerner, K., & Reinhardt, J. P. (2003). Giving while in need: Support provided by disabled older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 58B(5), S297-S304.

    Horowitz, A., Reinhardt, J. P., Boerner, K., & Travis, L. (2003). The influence of health, social support quality, and rehabilitation on depression among disabled elders. Aging & Mental Health, 7(5), 342-350.

    Reinhardt, J. P., Boerner, K, & Benn, D. (2003).  Predicting individual change in received support over time among chronically impaired older adults.  Psychology & Aging, 18(4), 770-779.

    Horowitz, A., Boerner, K., & Reinhardt, J. P. (2002). Psychosocial aspects of driving transitions in elders with low vision. Gerontechnology, 1, 262-273.

    Silverman, P. R., Baker, J., Cait, C. A., & Boerner, K. (2002-2003). The effects of negative legacies on children’s adjustment after parental death. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 64, 359-376.

    Boerner, K., & Silverman, P. R. (2001). Gender specific coping patterns in widowed parents with dependent children. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 43(3), 201-216.

    Book Chapters and Other Publications:

    Boerner, K. (in press). Umgang mit Verwitwung [Coping with widowhood]. In H. W. Wahl, C. Tesch-Rösch, & J. P. Ziegelmann (Eds.), Angewandte Gerontologie, 2 [Applied Gerontology, 2nd edition]. Stuttgart, Germany: Kohlhammer.

    Boerner, K., Mancini, A., Bonanno, G. A. (in press). On the nature and prevalence of uncomplicated and complicated grief. In M. Stroebe, H. Schut, P. Boelen, & J. van den Bout (Eds.), Complicated Grief: Scientific Foundations for Health Care Professionals. Routledge Publications.

    Boerner, K. (2011). Bereavement and Grief. Oxford Bibliographies Online: Psychology. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0011

    Wortman, C. B., Boerner, K. (2011). Reactions to the death of a loved one: Myths of coping versus scientific evidence. In H. S. Friedman (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Health Psychology (pp. 441-479). Oxford University Press.Boerner, K. & Jopp, D. (2010). Resilience in response to loss.  In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, & J. Hall. Handbook of Adult Resilience: Concepts, Methods, and Applications (pp. 126-145). Guilford Publications.

    Boerner, K. & Jopp, D. (2009). Paul and Margaret Baltes. In D. Carr (Ed.-in-Chief), Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development. Macmillan Reference USA.

    Bonanno, G. A., Boerner, K., & Wortman, C. B. (2008). Trajectories of grieving. In M. Stroebe, Hansson, R., Schut, H., & Stroebe, W., Handbook of bereavement research and practice: 21st century perspectives (pp. 287-307). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.

    Schulz, R., Boerner, K, & Hebert, R. S. (2008). Caregiving and bereavement. In M. Stroebe, Hansson, R., Schut, H., & Stroebe, W., Handbook of bereavement research and practice: 21st century perspectives (pp. 265-285). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.

    Boerner, K., & Schulz, R. (2006). The role of positive aspects of caregiving in adaptation to bereavement. In B. Vellas, L. J. Fitten, H. Feldman, E. Giacobini, M. Grundman, B. Winblad, & A. Kurz (Eds.), Research and practice in Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, Vol. 11 (pp. 332-335). Paris: Serdi Publisher.

    Wortman, C. B., Boerner, K. (2006). Reactions to the death of a loved one: Myths of coping versus scientific evidence. In H. S. Friedman, & R. C. Silver (Eds.), Foundations of health psychology (pp. 285-324). Oxford University Press.

    Boerner, K. (2005). Chronic disability in old age. In C. B. Fisher & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Encyclopedia of applied developmental science (pp. 252-254). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Boerner, K., Horowitz, A., Reinhardt, J. P., & Brennan, M. (2004). Coping behavior and mental health in elders with vision loss: Preliminary findings from a longitudinal study. Maximizing Human Potential, 12(2), pp. 3, 7.

    Boerner, K. (2003). Perspectives on Bereavement. In J. R. Miller, R. M. Lerner, L. B. Schiamberg, & P. M. Anderson (Eds.), Human ecology: An encyclopedia of children, families, communities, and environments (pp. 70-74). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio.

    Boerner, K. (2003). The importance of compensatory strategies to maintain quality of life. Aging & Vision, 15(2), 4-5.

    Boerner, K., & Wortman, C. B. (2001). Bereavement. In N. J. Smelser & P. B. Baltes (Eds.-in-Chief), International encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences (pp. 1151-1155). Oxford: Elsevier Science.

    Boerner, K., & Wortman, C. B. (1998). Grief and loss. In H. Friedman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of mental health (pp. 289-300). New York: Academic Press.