Richard (Rick) A. Settersten, Jr., PhD, is Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, and Endowed Director of the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families. Before coming to OSU, Settersten was Professor of Sociology at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Settersten was a member of the decade-long MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood and Public Policy, and he has also served as Chair of the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association.

Dr. Settersten is a specialist in life-course studies, with a strong record of experience conducting research and collaborating across disciplines and across life periods. His research has often focused on the first and last few decades of adulthood, always with an eye toward understanding the whole of human life.

A graduate of Northwestern University, Settersten has held fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education in Berlin, the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern, and the Spencer Foundation in Chicago.  He is author or editor of many scientific articles and several books, including Handbook of Theories of Aging, Not Quite Adults, Handbook of Sociology of Aging, and On the Frontier of Adulthood, as well as issues of Public Policy and Aging Report, Research on Aging, and Research in Human Development.

Besides MacArthur, his research has been supported by divisions of the National Institutes of Health—including major projects on personalized genomic medicine (funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute), scientific and medical efforts to control human aging (by the National Institute on Aging), and the long-term effects of military service on health and well-being in later life (also funded by the National Institute on Aging).

Settersten has participated in National Academy of Science/Institute on Medicine panel discussions of the health, safety, and well-being of young adults, and of the social demography, epidemiology, and sociology of aging. He is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, has served on review committees of the National Institutes of Health, and is co-editor of the journal Research in Human Development.

His research has been covered in many media outlets, including the Economist, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New Yorker, Christian Science Monitor, NPR, BBC, and U.S. News and World Report. His work has also been recognized with the Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America and the Outstanding Publication Award of the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association. At OSU, he has received the university-wide Impact Award for Outstanding Scholarship, as well as the Faculty Excellence Award and the Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

School, Department, or Affiliation

Research Interests

The life course; transitions to adulthood; age and aging; parenthood; social policy; epigenetics.


 9780826129420 Handbook of Theories of Aging
Vern L. Bengtson, Ph.D. and Richard A. Settersten, Ph.D.

 Not Quite Adults Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It’s Good for Everyone
Richard A. Settersten, Ph.D. and Barbara E. Ray

Handbook of Sociology of Aging Handbook of Sociology of Aging
Edited by Richard A. Settersten, Ph.D. and Jacqueline L. Angel