Dr. Savundranayagam completed her bachelor’s degree from the Combined Honours
Program in Arts & Science and Psychology at McMaster University in Canada. She earned
her Masters and Ph.D. in Gerontology, with a concentration in Health Care Outcomes
Management and Research, at the University of Kansas. She also completed a post-doctoral
research fellowship at the University of Western Ontario in the School of Communication
Sciences and Disorders. 

Dr. Savundranayagam’s research focuses on improving caregiving relationships through
enhanced communication, identifying ways to enhance personhood for individuals with
dementia, and uncovering the mechanisms by which caregiver interventions are effective.
She received the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s ‘Age Plus’ Award for her work
on communication problems and burden among family caregivers. As a Hartford Geriatric
Social Work Faculty Scholar, Dr. Savundranayagam investigated the impact of a
psychoeducational program on caregiver burden of spouses/partners. Dr. Savundranayagam’s
current research, funded by a New Investigator Research Grant from the Alzheimer’s
Association, aims to assess the effectiveness of communication strategies used by
caregivers to resolve communication breakdowns and to investigate the differential impact
of effective versus ineffective strategies in predicting caregiver burden. Dr. also
Savundranayagam serves as associate editor for the Clinical Gerontologist. 

Caregiving Interventions and Outcomes

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A Dimensional Analysis of Caregiver Burden among Spouses and Adult-Children (with R. J.V. Montgomery and K. Kosloski), The Gerontologist (2011)

Purpose of the study: Caregiver burden is a multidimensional construct, addressing tension and anxiety (stress...

 

Link

Impact of a Psychoeducational Program on Three Types of Caregiver Burden among Spouses (with R. J.V. Montgomery, K. Kosloski, and T. D. Little), International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (2011)

Abstract Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which a...

 

Link

Impact of Role Discrepancies on Caregiver Burden among Spouses (with R. J.V. Montgomery), Research on Aging (2010)

Using caregiver identity theory, the authors investigated whether role discrepancies mediated the relationships between illness-related...

 

Link

Testing Self-Efficacy as a Pathway that Supports Self Care among Family Caregivers in a Psychoeducational Intervention (with M. Brintnall-Peterson), Journal of Family Social Work (2010)

This study investigated the extent to which a psychoeducational intervention supports family-centered care by influencing...

 

Interventions

Caregiving and Communication

Fostering Resilience in Dementia through Narratives: Contributions of Multimedia Technology (with B. Purves, E. Kelson, A. Astell, and A. Phinney), Resilience in Aging: Concepts, Research, and Outcomes (2011)
 

Link

Relationships between Appraisals of Caregiver Communication Strategies and Burden among Spouses and Adult-Children (with J. B. Orange), International Psychogeriatrics (2011)

Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of caregivers’ appraisals of...

 

Link

StoryCorps Memory Loss Initiative: Enhancing Personhood for Storytellers with Memory Loss (with L. J. Dilley and A. Basting), Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice (2011)

StoryCorps’ Memory Loss Initiative was designed to gather oral histories of people with memory loss....

 

Link

Social Psychological Aspects of Communication and Aging (with E. B. Ryan), Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (2008)

Language plays an important role in defining identities in older adulthood. Both self-perception and others'...

 

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Communication and Dementia: Staff Perceptions of Conversational Strategies (with E. B. Ryan, A. Anas, and J. B. Orange), Clinical Gerontologist (2007)

This study examined the impact of two communication-enhancing strategies used on people with dementia. The...

 

Personhood

Fostering Resilience in Dementia through Narratives: Contributions of Multimedia Technology (with B. Purves, E. Kelson, A. Astell, and A. Phinney), Resilience in Aging: Concepts, Research, and Outcomes (2011)
 

Link

StoryCorps Memory Loss Initiative: Enhancing Personhood for Storytellers with Memory Loss (with L. J. Dilley and A. Basting), Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice (2011)

StoryCorps’ Memory Loss Initiative was designed to gather oral histories of people with memory loss....

 

Link

Communication and Dementia: Staff Perceptions of Conversational Strategies (with E. B. Ryan, A. Anas, and J. B. Orange), Clinical Gerontologist (2007)

This study examined the impact of two communication-enhancing strategies used on people with dementia. The...

 

Communication, Health and Aging: Promoting Empowerment (with E. B. Ryan and M. L. Hummert), Language, Discourse and Social Psychology (2007)