Rebecca S. Allen



  • PhD, Washington University in St. Louis

Research Areas

  • cultural dynamics (race/ethnicity; rural/urban) of healthcare decision making
  • interventions to reduce the stress of individuals, family, and professional caregivers within the context of advanced chronic or terminal illness
  • clinical training


Rebecca S. Allen received her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis in 1994. A professor of clinical geropsychology, Dr. Allen’s research and clinical interests are interventions to reduce the stress of individuals, family, and professional caregivers for older adults with advanced chronic or terminal illness and in the dynamics of healthcare decision making.  She has published on diversity in advance care planning, end-of-life issues, behavioral interventions in long-term care, and mental health among aging prisoners. Dr. Allen is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Psychological Association. She is associate editor of Aging and Mental Health. She teaches Clinical Psychology of Aging-Intervention, Lifespan Development, Geropsychology Practicum, and undergraduate statistics.

Recent Grants

  • Advocates’ Role in Prostate Cancer Screening Decisions by Rural African American Men. National Institute of Nursing Research, TDC: $275,000, J. Oliver and R. S. Allen, Principal Investigators. 2011-2013.
  • Legacy Intervention Family Enactment (LIFE): An Effectiveness Trial, National Institute of Nursing Research, TDC: $275,000, R. S. Allen, Principal Investigator. 2008-2011.
  • Low-Dose Opiate Therapy for Discomfort in Dementia. Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service A. L. Snow, Principal Investigator; R. S. Allen, Co-Investigator. 2008-2011.


  • Alabama Research Institute on Aging
  • Selected Publications

    • Allen, R. S., Guadagno, R. E., Parmelee, P., Minney, J. A., Hilgeman, M. M., Tabb, K., McNeal, S. F., Houston, T., Kertesz, S., & Davis, L. (in press). Internet connectivity among rural Alabama veterans: Baseline findings from the Alabama Veterans Rural Health Initiative Project. Rural and Remote Health.
    • Allen, R. S., Eichorst, M. K., & Oliver, J. S. (in press). Advance directives: Planning for the end of life. In J. Werth (Ed.), Counseling Clients Near the End of Life: Practical Perspectives on Fundamental Issues. New York: Springer Publishers.
    • Allen, R. S., Harris, G. M., Crowther, M. R., Oliver, J. S., Cavanaugh, R., & Phillips, L. L. (2012). Does religiousness and spirituality moderate the relations between physical and mental health among aging prisoners? International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 27 (9), DOI: 10.1002/gps.3874
    • Bailey, F. A., Allen, R. S., Williams, B. R., Goode, P. S., Granstaff, S., Redden, D. T., & Burgio, K. L. (2012). Do-Not-Resuscitate orders in the last days of life. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 15(2), 751-759. DOI: 10.1089/jpm.2011.0321.
    • Allen, R. S., Haley, P. P., Harris, G. M., Fowler, S. N., & Pruthi, R. (2011). Resilience: Definitions, ambiguities, and applications. In B. Resnick, L. Gwyther, & K. Roberto (Eds.), Resilience in Aging:  Concepts, Research, and Outcomes (pp. 1-13). New York: Springer Publishers.
    • Allen, J. Y.*, Hilgeman, M. M., & Allen, R. S. (2011). Prospective end-of-life treatment decisions and perceived vulnerability: Future time left to live and memory self-efficacy. Aging and Mental Health, 15(1), 122-131. DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2010.505229
    • Harris, G. M.*, Durkin, D. W., Allen, R. S., DeCoster, J., & Burgio, L. D. (2011). Exemplary care as a mediator of the effects of caregiver subjective appraisal and emotional outcomes. The Gerontologist, 51(3), 332-342. DOI: 10.1093/geront//gnr003
    • Phillips, L. L.*, Allen, R. S., Harris, G. M., Presnell, A. H., DeCoster, J., & Cavanaugh, R. (2011). Aging prisoners’ treatment selection: Does Prospect Theory enhance understanding of end-of-life medical decisions? The Gerontologist, DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnr039.
    • Allen, R. S., Allen, J. Y., Hilgeman, M. M., & DeCoster, J. (2008). End-of-life decision making, decisional conflict, and enhanced information:  Race effects. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 56(10), 1904-1909.
    • Allen, R. S., Hilgeman, M. M., Ege, M. A., Shuster, J. L., Jr., & Burgio, L. D.  (2008). Legacy activities as interventions approaching the end of life. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 11(7), 1029-1038.