UW-Madison Department of Kinesiology - Elizabeth Larson

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CONTACTING US

Main Office

Kinesiology
School of Education
UW-Madison
Unit II Gym
2000 Observatory Dr.
MadisonWI  53706-1121

Tel: 608/262-0259
Fax: 608/262-1656

Email: kines@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form
 

Professor Elizabeth Ann Larson

Profile Photo

Professor Elizabeth Ann Larson

Associate Professor
Kinesiology
Occupational Therapy (OT)

2180 Medical Sciences Center  binoculars icon
1300 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1509
Office: 608/262-0520

blarson@education.wisc.edu
Please visit our Lab Web Page
Curriculum Vitae

Personal Biography

Dr. Larson is an occupational therapist and occupational scientist with thirty years of clinical and research experience working with children with disabilities and their families. Her research uses mixed methods approaches to examine the impact of managing the child’s disability on the family and especially the caregiver. She employs multi-faceted approaches to gain a deeper understanding of the caregiver’s perspectives and daily lived experience including the use of participant-grounded methods such as interviews, focus groups, and participant observation within the family homes, in concert with well-validated well-being measures, and biomarkers of health. The overarching goal of her work is to investigate how the caregiver’s organization and orchestration of daily activities tailored to the child’s developmental needs promotes or impedes family functioning, and in turn influences the caregiver’s health and well-being.



 

 

Teaching Interests

Occupation-based intervention Occupation and health Pediatric occupational therapy Theory for practice Time-use and temporality Collaboration withfamilies & family-centered practice

Program and Curriculum Development

  • Larson, E.
    Title: Living Well
    Type: Curriculum Development
    New or Revised: New
    Type: Undergraduate
    Effort: I developed and taught the Living Well course for the first time this year. The course was well received by students and has been expanded to 2-3 sections in 2013. I received a Virginia Horne Henry grant to train instructors for the Living Well course in both motivational interviewing and mindfulness-based stress reduction. I planned and hosted the motivational interviewing workshop at Union South in February, 2013; this workshop was open not only to instructors but anyone in our department who might use this method in their research.

  • Larson, E.
    Title: Lifesyle Redesign for Caregivers of Children with Autism
    Type: Project Development
    New or Revised: New
    Effort: This project has been completed with one cohort as of last summer. This included three focus groups and 4-6 months of individualized coaching. The next cohort will begin in the summer/fall.

  • Larson, E.
    Title: Physiological Assessment of Caregivers and Children During Morning Self-Care Routines
    Type: Project Development
    New or Revised: New
    Effort: This project has required solving complex problems related to synchronization of electrodermal reactivity sensors with video, methods for temporary installation of video cameras, and development of protocols for training participants and training the research team in setting up the in-home data collection.

  • Larson, E.
    Title: The Time-use and Lifestyle Change of College Students
    Type: Project Development
    New or Revised: New
    Effort: This project entails the collection and analysis of time diaries and life change papers produced in the living well class. Two Ph.D. students, one from Kinesiology and one from Public Health, are using this data for their dissertations projects. We have collected one wave of data and are beginning preliminary analysis this summer and fall.

Research Interests

Caregiving for children with disabilities Caregiver's well-being Self-care skills of children with autism Time-use and temporality

Grants and Sponsorships

  • 6/30/2013 - Amount: $7,975.00, "Innovation & Expansion Of A New Wellness Class," Awarded By: Virginia Horne Henry Award, Sponsor Type: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Elizabeth Larson, Principal.
    Abstract: This grant will fund training to expand the Living Well: Lifestyle Redesign and Health promotion for college students. We will train additional course instructors in Motivational Interviewing and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction to offer 6-9 sections in the academic year.
  • 6/30/2013 - Amount: $24,200.00, "Physiological Assessment Of Maternal Stress When Caregiving For A Child With High Functioning Autism," Awarded By: Virginia Horne Henry Fund, Sponsor Type: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Elizabeth Larson.
    Abstract: This project uses observational (video) and physiologic measures (electrodermal responses) to assess caregivers’ stress during their child’s everyday self care activities. Project aims are to: characterize maternal stress during morning caregiving for a child with high functioning autism by 1) assessing the magnitude and frequency of increased electrodermal reactivity (over individual baselines) during the child grooming routines over five day’s time; 2) quantify the frequency and kinds of problematic behaviors exhibited by children with high function autism during daily grooming routines; and 3) examine which child behaviors during daily routines are associated with increased maternal stress.
  • 6/30/2013 - Amount: $21,437.41, "Leisure Lifestyle Redesign For Caregivers Of Children With Autism: Promoting Wellness Through Leisure And Physical Activity," Awarded By: Virginia Horne Henry Award, Elizabeth Larson.
    Abstract: This project uses a Participant Action Research (PAR) design to develop an intervention program to promote wellness for caregivers of children with disabilities. Caregivers will be integral team members. In this process we will 1) use focus groups to identify the daily challenges limiting caregivers’ participation in health-promoting activities, 2) collaboratively design personalized and workable changes/micro interventions in daily schedules to promote health, and 3) assess the intervention outcomes.
  • 2011-2013 - Amount: $24,200.00, "Physiological Assessment Of Maternal Stress When Caregiving For A Child With High Functioning Autism," Awarded By: NIH, Grant Institution: NICHD, Sponsor Type: Federal, Elizabeth Larson, Principal.
    Abstract: This project uses observational (video) and physiologic measures (electrodermal responses) to assess caregivers’ stress during their child’s everyday self care activities. Project aims are to: characterize maternal stress during morning caregiving for a child with high functioning autism by 1) assessing the magnitude and frequency of increased electrodermal reactivity (over individual baselines) during the child grooming routines over five day’s time; 2) quantify the frequency and kinds of problematic behaviors exhibited by children with high function autism during daily grooming routines; and 3) examine which child behaviors during daily routines are associated with increased maternal stress.
  • 2009-2009 - Amount: $11,076.75, "Sensory Sensitivity And Stress In Everyday Life For Children With High Functioning Autism," Awarded By: UW System Assistance for ARRA Grant, Sponsor Type: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Elizabeth Larson, Principal.
    Abstract: This grant provided summer salary for the PI and a PA to prepare a revision of a previously submitted R03 grant.
  • 2007-2008 - Amount: $20,360.00, "Biomarkers And Activity Patterns Of Resilient And Vulnerable Caregivers Of Children With Disabilities," Awarded By: Virginia Horne Henry, Sponsor Type: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Elizabeth Larson.
    Abstract: The objective of this study was to examine 1) how health-promoting activity patterns (i.e. leisure or exercise) differ between resilient caregivers (self-rated high well-being) and vulnerable (self-rated low well-being) and 2) biological markers that may account for the diminished physical and psychological health, and advanced aging associated with stressed caregivers. Specifically whether a genetic variation of the serotonin gene transporter allele (5-HTTLPR) associated with mental health disorders was present in vulnerable caregivers in contrast to the resilient group; and whether a biomarker indicative of distress-related immune dysregulation (Interleukin-6) was elevated in the vulnerable caregivers compared to the resilient group. These funds were combined with funding from the Vilas Lifecycle Award.
  • Amount: $3,553,763.00, "“impact Of Sensory Sensitivity On Daily Life Skills In High Functioning Autism," Awarded By: National Institutes of Health, Grant Institution: NICHD, Sponsor Type: Federal, Elizabeth Larson, Principal.
    Abstract: This project aims to study the impact of sensory sensitivities on self-care skills for children with high functioning autism. Physiologic reactivity (electrodermal and cortisol) and behavioral measures will be used to assess children’s sensory sensitivity in 48 children with high functioning autism 5-9 years of age and 48 language-matched controls. Sensory sensitivity would be studied during 4 conditions in the home: (1) the SensOR Assessment, a state-of-the art clinical sensory performance measure, (2) dressing baseline (typical dressing routine), (3) sensory baseline (watching video with typically problematic morning sounds introduced, e.g. hair dryer), (4) dressing condition with typical problematic morning sounds introduced. We will gather synchronous time-locked physiologic and behavioral data.

Publications

  • Larson, E., & Miller-Bishoff, T. (2014). Family Routines Within the Ecological Niche: An Analysis of Psychological Well-Being of U.S. Caregivers of Children with Disabilities. Frontiers in Psychology, (pp. 495).
  • Larson, E. (2013). TOTA Keynote Lecture: Bridging from clinic to home: Occupation-based family-centered practice. Journal of Taiwan Occupational Therapy Research and Practice. 31, 7-29.
    Abstract: This keynote argues we need to combine principles of family-centeredness with an occupation-based focus in our occupational therapy interventions. This will foster more powerful interventions than traditional approaches by bridging from the clinic into clients' daily lives. Such a practice would need to be responsive to the client's and family's priorities and beliefs, to be tailored to their lifestyles, to consider and balance all of the family member's needs, and thus will produce interventions that are sustainable over time. This shift in practice requires: using occupation-based and participation assessments; using a client-centered interactional approach to facilitate tailoring; and designing personally-meaningful, highly-contextualized, and socially integrating occupational therapy interventions. Two case studies are presented to illustrate occupation-based family-centered practice.
  • Larson, E. (2012). Ethics in Occupational Therapy Research. In J. Scott & M. Reitz (Eds.), Practical Applications for the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards. Rockville, MD: American Occupational Therapy Press.
  • Larson, E., & von Eye, A. (2010). Beyond flow: Temporality and participation in everyday activities. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. 64, 152-63.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Larson, E. (2010). Ever vigilant: Maternal support of participation in daily life for children with disabilities. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics. pp. 16-27.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Larson, E. (2010). Psychological Well-Being and Meaning-Making When Caregiving for Children With Disabilities: Growth Through Difficult Times or Sinking Inward. OTJR-OCCUPATION PARTICIPATION AND HEALTH. 30(2), 78-86.
    Online Publication/Abstract
  • Larson, E. (2010). What constitutes well-being in challenging life circumstances: Identifying relevant well-being indicators for caregivers of children with disabilities? Occupational Therapy International. 17, 29-39.
    Online Publication/Abstract

Presentations

  • Larson, E., & Bishoff-Miller, T. (2014). "It All Revolves Around his Needs": Caregiver'sWell-being and Orchestration of Family Routines Within the Ecocultural Niche, Tenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Choi, Y., & Larson, E. (2014). Using Mixed Methods to Explore Preceived Lifestyle Balance in College Students, Tenth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Choi, Y., & Larson, E. (2014, June 21). Perceived Lifestyle Balance in College Students, 16th International Congress of the World Federation of Occupational Therapy, World Federation of Occupational Therapy, Yojohama, Japan.
  • Larson, E. (2013). Lifestyle Balance for Caregivers: Developing a Wellness Program, Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Annual Conference, Wisconsin Occupational Therapy, Oconomowoc, WI.
  • Larson, E. (2013). Changing Lives: Tailoring Occupation-Based Intervention for Family Life, Human Occupation and Praxis Symposium, Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
  • Larson, E. (2012, November 4). Keynote: Bridging from clinic to home: Occupation-based family-centered practice, Taiwan Occupational Therapy Annual Conference, Taiwan Occupational Therapy Association, Taichung, Taiwan.
  • Larson, E. (2012, November 3). Workshop: Designing occupation-based interventions for children with disabilities & their families, Taiwan Occupational Therapy Annual Conference, Taiwan Occupational Therapy Association, Taichung, Taiwan.
  • Larson, E. (2012, November 3). Workshop: Designing occupational-based interventions for children with disabilites an their families, Taiwan Occupational Therapy Annual Conference, Taiwan Occupational Theraoy Association, Taichung, Taiwan.
  • Benedict, R., Presenter & Author, Larson, E., Presenter & Author, Auserdau, K., Presenter & Author, Farrar-Edwards, D., Author Only, & Chen, R., Presenter & Author (2012, November 2). Update on Current Occupational Therapy Research: Autism: Caregiving, Sensory Features & Feeding; Cerebral Palsy: Interventions, Child & Caregiver Outcomes; Stroke: Disparities & Treatment, Annual Conference of the Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association, Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association, MIddleton, WI.
  • Benedict, R., Presenter & Author, Larson, E., Presenter & Author, Auserdau, K., Presenter & Author, Farrar-Edwards, D., Author Only, & Chen, R., Presenter & Author (2012, November 2). Update on Current Occupational Therapy REsearch; Autism: Caregiving, Sensory Features & Feeding; Cerebral Palsy: Interventions, Child & Caregiver Outcomes; Stroke: Disparitites & Treatment, Annual Conference of the Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association, Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association, Middleton, WI.
  • Larson, E. (2012, November 2). Occupation & Health, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.
  • Larson, E. (2012, November 1). Family-centered occupational therapy practice: Designing tailored practicalinterventions for children with disabilities & their families, Medical School, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan City.
  • Larson, E. (2012). MOVE: Movement Opportunities via Education, Madison Metropolitan School District Therapy Staff, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Larson, E. (2012). Using motivational interviewing in participatory action research: A useful marriage of methods?, 8th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Champaign, Champaign, Illinois.
  • Larson, E. (2012). Prevention of ethical pitfalls in research, American Occupational Therapy Annual Conference, AOTA, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Larson, E. (2012). Handskills for Preschoolers, UW Office of Childcare, UW-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Larson, E. (2011, June 30). Grounding theory: Using mixed methods to identify indicators of “well-being” in caregivers of children with disability, 7th Mixed Methods International Conference, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
  • Larson, E. (2010). Mixing methods to “ground” theory: The case of caregivers and well-being., Redefining Boundaries and Bridges in Occupation, Joint conference of the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists and the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA, London, Ontario, Canada.

Departmental Service

  • Faculty Search Committee Chair
    Dates of Membership: May 2011 - March 2012
    Accomplishments: Charged leading committed to search, interview and recruit an assistant professor candidate.
  • Committee Chair. Period of Service: May 2011 - April 2012

  • Executive committee
    Dates of Membership: 2009 - Pres.
  • Committee Member. Period of Service: Aug. 2009 - Dec. 2010

  • External Relations Committee
    Dates of Membership: Aug. 2008 - May 2012
    Accomplishments: This committee is charged with improving the visibility of the department within the university and wider community. This year the major projects include the organization of a Cenntenial symposium and gala, and a major pledge drive for funding a lab naming.
  • Committee Member. Period of Service: Aug. 2008 - Dec. 2012

  • OT Program Commitee
    Dates of Membership: Aug. 1999 - May 2012
    Accomplishments: The OT program committee is responsible for oversight and management of the admissions, instruction, and review of the occupational therapy masters professional training program.
  • Committee Member. Period of Service: 1999 - Pres.

  • Diversity & Climate Committee
    Accomplishments: This committee focuses on improving the climate and promoting understanding of diversity within the department. Hosted an event recognizing staff's length of service in the department.
  • Committee Member. Period of Service: 2007 - Pres.

School Service

  • Preschool Playground Parent Committee Chair
    Dates of Membership: 2010 - 2012
  • Chair. Period of Service: 2010 - 2012

Public Service

  • Disability and Rehabilitation
    Dates of Membership: 2013 - Pres.
  • Reviewer, Journal Article. Period of Service: 2013 - Pres.

  • Occupational Therapy International
    Dates of Membership: 2011 - Pres.
  • Editorial Review Board Member. Period of Service: 2011 - Pres.

  • Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics Occupation, Participation & Health: Occupational Therapy Journal of Research
    Dates of Membership: 2008 - Pres.
  • Reviewer, Journal Article. Period of Service: 2008 - Pres.

  • Journal of Mixed Methods Research
  • Reviewer, Journal Article. Period of Service: 2011 - Pres.

  • MMIRA
  • Member. Period of Service: 2013 - Pres.

Awards and Honors

  • Vilas Life Cycle Professorship Award
    Organization: Women in Science and Engineering Institute
    Purpose: Scholarship/Research
    Scope: UW Madison
    Description: Study examined whether a genetic variation of the serotonin gene transporter allele (5-HTTLPR) associated with mental health disorders was present in vulnerable caregivers (low self-rated well-being) in contrast to the resilient group (high self-rated well-being); and whether a biomarker indicative of distress-related immune dysregulation (Interleukin-6) was elevated in the vulnerable caregivers compared to the resilient group.
    Date(s): June 1, 2007 - June 1, 2009
  • DOIT Podcast Awards
    Organization: DOIT
    Purpose: Teaching
    Scope: UW Madison
    Description: Received two awards for developing a audio and video podcasts teaching beginning Spanish language skills for pediatric occupational therapy practice.
    Date(s): 2005 - 2006

Memberships

  • Mixed Method International Research Association (MMIRA)
    Position Held: Interim Board Member/Founding Member, Scope of Organization: International, Member Since: April 2012
  • World Federation of Occupational Therapy
    Scope of Organization: International, Membership Period: 1998 - 2008
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