Virginia Commonwealth University

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James E. Hinterlong

James E. Hinterlong

Dean and Professor
Phone: (804) 828-1036

Path to social work
“My path to social work academia was influenced profoundly by many personal and professional life experiences. A passion for justice and social change was forged through my community-based work on Native American rights, homelessness and HIV/AIDS during my undergraduate years. Later, as a second-generation Peace Corps volunteer, I developed an informed and abiding conviction that we must address global inequities. I believe social work’s commitment to social justice calls us to challenge what Amartya Sen terms the ‘unfreedom’ and ‘capability deprivation’ that erode the dignity of persons and the strength of communities here in the U.S. and around the world.

“My scholarship builds upon these experiences by illuminating how the tremendous untapped potential of older persons is, and can be, directed toward pressing social needs while arguing that we must reconfigure public policy and major social institutions in order to expand opportunities for meaningful engagement within an increasingly diverse and aging population.”


  • Ph.D. – George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis
  • M.S.W. – George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis
  • B.S. – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research interests

  • Interactions between demographic change, social policy formation and social service delivery
  • Productivity and civic engagement in later life
  • Information technology to enhance social work practice and instruction

Courses taught

  • Social work research using secondary data
  • Advanced research methods
  • Social policy analysis
  • Linear analysis for applied social research
  • Introduction to social work research
  • Social welfare policy and programs
  • Advanced social policy analysis
  • Social and political capital
  • Social policy and aging
  • Social gerontology: Theories and models
  • Measurement in social work research (Introduction to Applied Statistics)

Selected publications

  • Ryan, S., Hinterlong, J., Heger, R., & Johnson, L. (in press). Kin adopting kin: In the best interest of the children? Children and Youth Services Review.
  • Donnelly, E. A., & Hinterlong, J. (2010). Continuity of social participation and changes in volunteer activity among recently widowed older adults. The Gerontologist, 50(2), 158-169.
  • Lee, S-I., Morrow-Howell, N., & Tang, F. & Hinterlong, J. (2009). Engaging older adults in volunteering: Conceptualizing and measuring institutional capacity. Nonprofit and Volunteer Sector Quarterly, 38, 200-219.
  • Hinterlong, J. (2008).Productive engagement among Older Americans: Prevalence, patterns, and implications for public policy. Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 20(2), 1-24.
  • Hinterlong, J., & Ryan, S. (2008). Creating grander families: Older persons adopting younger kin and nonkin. The Gerontologist, 48(4), 527-536.
  • Hinterlong, J. (2007, December). Civic engagement and aging: Asserting social work’s public purpose. Aging Times, 3(3), 1. Alexandria, VA: National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education.
  • Hinterlong, J., Morrow-Howell, N., & Rozario, P. (2007). Productive engagement and late life physical and mental health: Findings from a nationally-representative study. Research on Aging, 29(4), 348-370.
  • Hinterlong, J., & Williamson, A. (2006-07). The effects of civic engagement by current and future cohorts of older adults. Generations, (4), 1-18.
  • Hinterlong, J. (2006). Racial disparities in health among older adults: Examining the role of productive engagement. Health & Social Work, 31(4), 275-288.
  • Hinterlong, J., McBride-Moore, A., Tang, F., & Danso, K. (2006). Issues in elder volunteerism and service worldwide: Toward a research agenda. In L. Wilson & S. Simson, (Eds.), Civic engagement and the Baby Boomer Generation (pp. 213-246). Haworth Press, Inc.
  • Morrow-Howell, N., Hinterlong, J., Rozario, P., & Tang, F. (2003). Effects of volunteering on the well-being of older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 58B(3), S137-S145.
  • Morrow-Howell, N., Hinterlong, J., & Sherraden, M. (Eds.). (2001). Productive aging: Concepts and challenges. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Professional affiliations

  • Association of Gerontology Education in Social Work
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • Gerontological Society of America (SRPP section)
  • National Association of Social Workers (Section on aging)
  • Society for Social Work and Research