As Americas aging Baby Boomers are taking the fast lane to older adulthood, one West Virginia University doctoral student wants to steer them to the direction of good health.

Brian Ayotte, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Life-Span Developmental Psychology at WVU , will take part in the workshop,Applied General Latent Variable Methods in Aging Research,at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at the Harvard Medical School Interdisciplinary Center on Aging.

Ayotte will examine how depression factors into chronic illness among elderly people and their spouses.

He decided he wanted to work with older adults after he assisted on a research study that chronicled the experiences of people who lived through the flu pandemic of 1918.

I became interested in examining the predictors of health-promoting and health-risk behaviors,he said.I heard all those stories of how people coped with health-related issues when they were younger and how theyre coping with the issues now.

Ayotte earned degrees in psychology and experimental psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He was featured in the January issue of gradPsych, a trade journal for graduate student members of the American Psychological Association.

His participation in the Harvard workshop will be sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and WVU s Department of Psychology in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Also providing support is the William K. Wilson and Edith G. Wilson Student Enrichment Fund. The couple, both native West Virginians, established the fund for the benefit of students who engage in learning activities which compliment, extend and enhance their academic experiences at WVU .

The department is proud that Brian was selected to participate in this prestigious workshop,said Dr. Michael Perone, chair of psychology.Through the support of the Eberly College and National Institutes of Health, Brian is able to get advanced training on cutting-edge methods in the study of aging.