Karen Kobayashi

Karen Kobayashi
Position
Associate Professor, Graduate Advisor and Associate Chair (July 1, 2018)
Sociology
Credentials

PhD (SFU, 1999)

Contact
Office: COR A313

Dr. Kobayashi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and a Research Affiliate with the Centre on Aging. She is a social gerontologist who uses a life course perspective to explore the intersections of structural, cultural, and individual factors/experiences affecting health and aging in the Canadian population. She believes that in order to develop a better understanding of the nexus between micro- and macro-levels of analysis in sociological theory, a mixed-method approach to research is needed.

As evidenced in her diverse and on-going research program (described below), her scholarly interests lie broadly in the areas of family and intergenerational relationships, ethnicity and immigration, dementia and personhood, and health and social care.

The vast majority of her research to date has been developed and carried out collaboratively in interdisciplinary teams, spanning disciplines in the social sciences (i.e., sociology, geography, anthropology), human and social development (i.e., nursing, child and youth care), and medicine (i.e., neurology, geriatrics, geriatric psychiatry), and across a number of academic institutions (i.e., UBC, SFU, and Carleton) and departments within the BC Ministry of Health (i.e., Pharmacare, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Healthy Living and Sport (former)).

She has been nominated to and held positions in the Canadian Sociological Association and the Canadian Association on Gerontology, and is currently co-leader of the Ethnicity and Aging theme team for the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE). In addition to her participation in organizations at the national level, Karen sits on the CIHR-IA’s Social Dimensions of Aging review committee, and has been a reviewer for SSHRC in both their standard research grant and CURA competitions.

Provincially, she is a member of the MSFHR’s Research Trainee Fellowship Committee in Population Health, and locally is part of the CLSA’s local organizing committee. At the university, she has trained a number of graduate students – Masters and PhDs – with research interests in aging and health either as a supervisor or committee member since coming to UVic in 2003.

With recent funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the BC Ministry of Health, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, her current research program examines the social, economic, cultural, and health dimensions of an aging population with particular foci on:

  • The relationship between social isolation and health among older adults (with Dr. Denise Cloutier-Fisher).
  • The “healthy immigrant effect” in later life (with Dr. Steven Prus).
  • Evaluating shared site intergenerational programs in the context of social, health, and educational outcomes for older adults and students (with Dr. Valerie Kuehne).
  • Older visible minority immigrant women's health and well-being (with Dr. Sharon Koehn).
  • New and emerging family formations, i.e., stepfamilies and Living-Apart-Together (LATs), and the implications of changing family relationships for social support in later life (with Dr. Laura Funk).
  • Caregiver appraisals of the efficacy of cholinesterase inhibitors (with Dr. Neena Chappell and Dr. Andre Smith).
  • Evaluating the Residential Program Care Delivery Model in the Fraser Health Authority (with Dr. Denise Cloutier-Fisher and Dr. Kelli Stajduhar).

Upcoming projects in these areas include:

  • The application of intersectionality theory to an examination of the "healthy immigrant effect" by gender, class, age, and ethnicity.
  • The development of a socially- and culturally-relevant chronic disease management model for older visible minority immigrant women to address issues of inequality vis-à-vis health and social care access.
  • An expansion of the dementia caregiver appraisal study to include an in-depth exploration of the salient theme of “hope and ambivalence” in the caregivers’ narratives.
  • A qualitative comparative study of the nature of social isolation between men and women in later life.

Interests

  • Aging
  • Ethnicity and immigrant status
  • Family dynamics and intergenerational relationships
  • Health and illness
  • Research methods

Publications and professional activity

Refereed articles

Cloutier-Fisher, D., Kobayashi, K.M. and A.P. Smith (forthcoming). “The subjective dimension of social isolation: A qualitative investigation of older adults’ experiences in small social support networks." Journal of Aging Studies.

Smith, A.P., Kobayashi, K.M., Chappell, N.L. and D. Hoxsey (forthcoming). “The hope and controversy of Alzheimer’s disease pharmacotherapy: a qualitative study of caregivers’ experiences.” Journal of Aging Studies.

Carson, A.J., Kobayashi, K.M., and V. Kuehne (forthcoming) “The Meadow School Project: Case Study of a Unique Shared Site Intergenerational Program.” Journal of Intergenerational Relations.

Kobayashi, K.M. and L. Funk (2010). “Of the Family Tree: Congruence on Filial Obligation and its Implications for Social Support among Older Parents and Adult Children in Japanese Canadian Families.” Canadian Journal on Aging, 29(1):85-96.

Benoit, C., Shumka, L., Vallance, K., Hallgrimsdottir, H., Phillips, R., Kobayashi, K., Hankivsky, O., Reid, C., and Brief, E. (2009) “Engendering the Health Determinants Framework: Implications for Girls and Women in Canada.” Sociological Research Online.

Funk, L. and K.M. Kobayashi (2009). “Family Responsibilities and Choice: The Negotiation of Care Between Adult Children and Aging Parents.” Canadian Review of Sociology, 46(3):235-252.

Kobayashi, K.M., Cloutier-Fisher, D. and M. Roth (2009). “The Link Between Social Isolation and Health Among Older Adults in Small City and Small Town, British Columbia.” Journal of Aging and Health. 21: 374-397.

Cloutier-Fisher, D. and K.M. Kobayashi (2009). “Exploring the Linkages Between Place, Health Status and Health Care Utilization Among Socially Isolated Older Adults in Canada: Findings from the 2000-01 Canadian Community Health Survey.” Gender, Place, and Culture, 16(2):181-199.

Roth, M. and K.M. Kobayashi (2008). “The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Chinese Canadians: Results from a National Survey.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 10(6):517-528

Kobayashi, K.M., Prus, S.G. and Z. Lin (2008). “Ethnic Differences in Self-Rated and Functional Health: Does Immigration Status Matter?” Ethnicity and Health, 13(2):129-147.

Mahmood, A., Chaudhury, H., Kobayashi, K.M. and M. Valente (2008). “The Housing and Community Characteristics of South Asian Immigrant Older Adults in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia” Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 25(1):54-75.

Kobayashi, K.M. and S.G. Prus (2005). “Explaining the Health Gap Between Canadian- and Foreign-Born Older Adults: Findings from the 2000/2001 Canadian Community Health Survey.” Recent Advances and Research Updates: Journal of the International Research Promotion Council, 6(3):269-273.

Gee, E.M., K.M. Kobayashi, and S.G. Prus (2004). “Examining the Healthy Immigrant Effect in Mid-to Later Life: Findings from the Canadian Community Health Survey.” Canadian Journal on Aging, 23(Supplement 1):S61-S69.

Kobayashi, K.M. (2003). “Do Intersections of Diversity Matter? An Exploration of the Relationship Between Identity Markers and Health for Mid- to Later Life Canadians.” Canadian Ethnic Studies, XXXV(3):1-14.

Smith, A. and K.M. Kobayashi (2002). “Making Sense of Alzheimer’s Disease in an Intergenerational Context: The Case of a Japanese Canadian Nisei (Second-Generation) – Headed Family.” Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 1(2):213-225.

Kobayashi, K. M. (2000). "The Nature of Support from Adult Children to Older Parents in Japanese Canadian Families." Journal of Cross‑Cultural Gerontology, 15(3):185-205.

Choudhury, S.R., H. Ueshima, Y. Kita, K.M. Kobayashi, A. Okayama, M. Yamakawa, Y. Hirao, M. Ishikawa and Y. Miyoshi (1994). "Alcohol and Serum Lipids in a Japanese Population." International Journal of Epidemiology, 23(5):940‑947.

Books and book chapters

Koehn, S. and K.M. Kobayashi (forthcoming) “Age and Ethnicity.” In Multiple Discrimination From An Age Perspective, M. Sargeant (ed.). London: Cambridge University Press.

Roth, M. and K.M. Kobayashi (2011). The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Chinese Canadians. Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Kobayashi, K.M. and S.G. Prus (2011). “Adopting an Intersectionality Perspective to the Study of the “Healthy Immigrant Effect”.” In O. Hankivsky (ed.) Intersectionality and Health Research (pp. 180-197). Vancouver: UBC Press.

Funk, L. and K.M. Kobayashi (2011). “Choice” in Informal Health Care Work: Adult Children with Aging Parents. In C. Benoit and H. Hallgrimsdottir (eds.), Gender, Care, and Care Work (pp. 171-192). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Kobayashi, K.M. (2010). “Midlife Crises: Understanding the Changing Nature of Relationships in Middle Age Canadian Families.” In D. Cheal (ed), Canadian Families Today, Second Edition (pp. 84-97). Don Mills: Oxford University Press.

Kobayashi, K.M. (2008). “Immigration, Ethnicity and Health.” In B. Singh Bolaria and H. Dickinson (eds.), Health, Illness, and Health Care in Canada, Fourth Edition (pp. 204-219). Scarborough: Thomson Nelson

Kobayashi, K.M. (2007). “Midlife Crises: Understanding the Changing Nature of Relationships in Middle Age Canadian Families.” In D. Cheal (ed), Canadian Families Today (pp. 101-116). Don Mills: Oxford University Press.

Gee, E.M., K.M. Kobayashi, and S.G. Prus (2006). “Ethnic Inequality in Canada: Economic and Health Dimensions.” In J.R. Kesselman and D. Green (eds.), Dimensions of Inequality in Canada (pp. 249-271). Vancouver: UBC Press. (Book was awarded 2007 Doug Purvis Prize by the Canadian Economics Association)

Kobayashi, K.M. with T. Okabe, K. Takahashi, and E. Richardson (2005). “People of Japanese Descent.” In J. Anderson, N. Waxler-Morrison, E. Richardson, and N. Chambers (eds.), Cross-Cultural Caring: A Handbook for Health Professionals in Western Canada, Second Edition (pp. 163-196). Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Kobayashi, K.M. (2004). Intersections of Diversity and Health Policy. Ottawa: Multiculturalism Program, Department of Canadian Heritage (20 pp). (reprint of Kobayashi, K.M. (2003). “Do Intersections of Diversity Matter? An Exploration of the Relationship Between Identity Markers and Health for Mid- to Later Life Canadians.” Canadian Ethnic Studies, XXXV(3):1-14.)

Kobayashi, K.M. (2003). “Family Loyalty.” In J. Ponzetti (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family Relationships, Second Edition (pp. 605-607). New York: Macmillan Reference USA.

Martin-Matthews, A. and K.M. Kobayashi (2003). “Intergenerational Transmission.” In J. Ponzetti (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family Relationships, Second Edition (pp. 922-927). New York: Macmillan Reference USA.

Grant crafting, fellowships and awards

2011-2014 Michael Smith Foundation for Health Health Human Resources Research Program - Innovations for Evaluation Research Grant for "Evaluating the Residential Program Care Delivery Model." Principal Investigator ($225,000)

2011-2012 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Faculty Internal Research Grant for "Bridging the Distance: Exploring the Nature of Living Apart Together (LAT) Relationships." Co-Principal Investigator with Laura Funk ($3,980)

2010-2011 Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute on Aging, Meetings, Planning and Dissemination Grant for "Development of a Chronic Disease Management Model for Ethno-cultural Minority Older Adults.". Co-Principal Investigator with Sharon Koehn ($9,995)

2010-2011 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Faculty Internal Research Grant for the "Meadow School Project: An Examination of a Unique Intergenerational Immersion Program." Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Valerie Kuehne) ($3,900)

2009-2014 Canadian Institutes of Health Research Grant for “Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.” Co-Investigator (co-Principal Investigators: Parminder Raina, Christina Wolfson and Susan Kirkland) ($23,500,000)

2009-2010 BC Home and Community Care Research Network research development grant for “Taking care of chronic disease: realizing approaches for Canada's aging ethnic population.” Co-Principal Investigator with Sharon Koehn ($5,000)

2009-2010 BC Centre for Excellence in Women’s Health – Women’s Health Research Institute Team Infrastructure Grant for “ICARE: Older Immigrant Women Accessing Care.” Co-Principal Investigator with Sharon Koehn. ($27,500)

2008-2009 Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Knowledge Translation Branch Synthesis Grant for “A Population Health Approach to the Health and Health Care of Ethnocultural Minority Older Adults: A Scoping Review.” Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Jean Kozak, The University of British Columbia) ($49,626)

2008-2009 British Columbia Network for Aging Research Team Building Grant for “Physical Activity and Older Adults Living in Rural/Remote Communities Research Team.” Co-Investigator (Co-Principal Investigators: Denise Cloutier-Fisher, University of Victoria, and Loren Lovegreen, Simon Fraser University) ($4,446)

2008-2009 Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute on Aging, Catalyst Grant: Pilot Projects in Aging Competition for “Intergenerational Programs: Exploration of an Emerging Immersion Model.” Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Valerie Kuehne, University of Victoria) ($49,791)

2007-2010 BC Pharmacare Grant for “Caregiver Appraisal - Alzheimer Drug Therapy Initiative.” Co-Investigator (Co-Principal Investigators: Neena Chappell, Malcolm Maclure, University of Victoria) ($850,000)

2007-2010 Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research – Research Unit Infrastructure Program Grant for “Vulnerability and health of Individuals, Populations, and Systems.” Qualified Health Researcher/Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Elaine Gallagher, Director, Centre on Aging, University of Victoria) ($687,500) - renewal of 2003-2006 grant

2005-2011 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Major Collaborative Research Initiative Grant for “Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population II – Canada in the 21st Century: Moving Towards an Older Society.” Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Byron Spencer, Professor, Department of Economics, McMaster University) ($2,498,000)

2005-2006 Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute on Aging, Pilot Project Grant for “Making meaningful connections: A pilot study of a telenurse outreach intervention for socially isolated older adults in British Columbia.” Co-Principal Investigator with Denise Cloutier-Fisher ($48,667). Matching funds granted by the BC Ministry of Health Services (total funding: $97,334)

2003-2006 Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research – Research Unit Infrastructure Program Grant for “Vulnerability and health of Individuals, Populations, and Systems.” Qualified Health Researcher/Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: David Hultsch, Director, Centre on Aging, University of Victoria) ($687,500)

2003-2004 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Faculty Internal Research Grant, University of Victoria ($4,000)

2003-2004 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Housing Research Grant for “Addressing Distinct Housing Needs: An Evaluation of Seniors’ Housing in the South Asian Community.” Co-Principal Investigator with Habib Chaudhury and Atiya Mahmood ($25,000)

2002-2003 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) RIIM-Metropolis Grant for “Exploring the Determinants of Health Status and Health Care Utilization among Mid-life Chinese, South Asian, and British Canadians in the Lower Mainland.” Co-Principal Investigator with Andrew Wister ($14,500)

2002-2002 Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (Population Health)

2001-2003 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Standard Research Grant for "Reconceptualizing Family Support Groups: How Do They Work?" Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: Deborah O’Connor, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Family Studies, UBC) ($53,180)

2000-2002 Alzheimer Society of British Columbia (ASBC) Time‑Limited Grant for "Dementia Caregiving in Japanese Canadian Families: A Multigenerational Perspective." Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: JoAnn Perry, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, UBC) ($31,962)