James Muruthi

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Prior to joining the University of Oregon, Dr. James Muruthi was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Human Development and Family Science department at Virginia Tech where he has been a member since 2017. His main research interest is on family and neighborhood factors, social capital, and health disparities among aging marginalized individuals. He has conducted studies using large public datasets (such as the HRS, NSOC, NHATS, and SAGE) and small independent data. James applies both advanced qualitative and quantitative methodologies in his research. He has conducted studies in Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, and the United States and published in various peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Aging and Health. His current research interests involve social capital and health among caregivers and aging care recipients. In his current position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services, Dr. Muruthi will teach courses on diversity in human services and global health. He will also mentor students and serve on the undergraduate committee. 


Post-doctoral Associate, Aug 2018 – May 2019
Human Development and Family Science
Center for Gerontology
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Mentors: J. Tina Savla & Megan Doblin-Macnab

PhD, May 2017
Human Development and Family Science
Specialization in life course aging; family and social capital impacts on health
University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Dissertation: The effects of immigration-related factors on older Latino and Asian immigrants’ physical and mental health: Measurement and role of social capital 
Chair: Dr. Denise Lewis

MS, May 2012
Specialization in old age economic security in developing nations
Miami University, Oxford, OH
Thesis: Perceptions of old age economic security: Views of Kenyan rural-dwelling older adults
Chair: Dr. Kathryn McGrew

BA, May 2010
Gerontology and Interdisciplinary Studies
Miami University, Oxford OH
Honor’s Thesis: Economic contributions of older Kenyan women to their families
Chair: Dr. Muriel Blaisdell

Honors and Awards

2016   Costa Research Fund Award. Awarded by the Family and Consumer Science College, University of Georgia. 

2011   Ohio Association of Gerontology in Education’s (OAGE) Jerome Kaplan Student Paper Award for paper entitled: Old Horizons, New Frontiers: How Narrative Gerontology Can Improve the Life Course Theory.

2009   Provost Student Academic Achievement Award. Awarded by the provost, Miami   University.

2009   Outstanding Junior Gerontologist, Sociology and Gerontology Department Miami  University.


Muruthi, J. R., Zalla, L. C., & Lewis, D. C., (2019). Depressive symptoms among aging Hispanic Americans: Longitudinal effects of positive spousal support and previous depressive symptoms. Journal of Aging and Health, https://doi.org/10.1177/0898264319825755.

Armes, S. R., Muruthi, J. R., Milroy, W. H., & Mancini, J. A. (2019). Getting sorted out in East London: Vulnerability and resilience of homeless Ex-Servicemen. European Journal on homelessness, 13(1), 15-38.  

Muruthi, J. R., & Lewis, D. C., (2017). Cambodian refugee families: Impacts of  immigration-related stressors on intergenerational relationships. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 15(2), 125-142.

Muruthi, B.A., Watkins, K., McCoy, M., Muruthi, J. R., & Kiprono, F, J. (2017). “I feel happy that I can be useful to others": Preliminary study of East African women and their remittance behavior. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. 38(3), 315-326.

Muruthi, J. R., & Lewis, D. C., (2016). Old age economic security: Views of Kenyan rural-dwelling older individuals. Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research, 11(1), 72-86.

Muruthi, B. A., Chuo, J. A., Muruthi, J. R., Cockrill, J. (Under review). Transnational intersectionality: Understanding Afro-Caribbean women’s perspective of race and ethnicity in the United States. Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies.


I am currently investigating the impacts of caregiving burden, social capital, and relationship status on caregiver-dyads. Of key interest are depressive symptoms and how social resources alleviate or hinder wellbeing. A secondary interest in cross-national comparison of health outcomes for aging individuals from low-to-middle income countries. The effects of social cohesion and religious practices on health are of particular interest.