Prof. Howie Litwin


Research Interests:

Howard Litwin works in the field of social gerontology. His empirical research addresses the correlates and determinants of well-being in late-life. In particular, his work seeks to clarify how the social networks of older people influence perceptions, feelings and actions that, in turn, contribute to aging well. He is the founding Head of the Israel Gerontological Data Center (IGDC), a knowledge center at the University that was initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technology and is currently supported by the Ministry for Senior Citizens. He serves as the Coordinator of the Social Network area for the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)—a longitudinal survey of people age 50 and over in 20 countries. He is also the Principal Investigator for SHARE-Israel, the Israeli component of the SHARE project. Prof. Litwin is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).


Research Projects:

Establishment of the IsraelGerontological DataCenter, Funding: Israel Ministry of Science, 2002 -2005        

Developing an Israeli Version of the HRS/SHARE Project, Funding: National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Aging, 2004 -2006        

Survey of 50+: Participation of Israelin the International HRS/SHARE Project, Funding: National Insurance Institute, 2005 -2006        

The Sociology of Familial Exchange in Later Life: A Comparative German-Israeli Analysis of the Determinants of Intergenerational Transfers, Funding:  German Israeli Foundation  2005 -2006       

Abstracts of Current Research :

A multivariate examination of explanations for the occurrence of elder abuse:  The goal of the study was to determine the relative strength of four major explanations for the rise of elder abuse among a population in transition from traditional to modern culture. The study compared a sample of 120 abused Arab Israeli elders with a control group of 120 nonabused elders from the same background. The abuse status outcome was regressed in a hierarchical logistic procedure on indicators of sociodemographic status, dependency, modernization, and social integration. The results underscored the multiple explanations for elder abuse in the study population and the predominance of the combined factors of modernization and social integration.

Social networks, ethnicity and public home-care utilisation:This study examines the relationships between support networks, ethnicity and the utilisation of formal care services, taking into account background characteristics and functional health status among 3,403 older people in Israel. The results show that publicly-financed formal care services were utilised more frequently by older-old persons, women, functionally impaired individuals and people embedded in the neighbour-focused and restricted networks.  Thus, formal home-care was sought more often in cases in which the informal sources of support had less capacity to provide ongoing informal care.

Intergenerational exchange and mental health in later-life:The case of older Jewish Israelis: The purpose of this study was to consider the contribution of intergenerational exchange to mental health. The results revealed that unbalanced exchange on the part of the respondents, whether giving more or receiving more, was unrelated to their current mental health. Equal reciprocal exchange was positively associated with mental health, albeit weakly. This positive effect was maintained despite the simultaneous negative association of poor health with respondents' mental health and the positive association of income, education and contact with children. The analysis demonstrates that reciprocal intergenerational exchange may be a contributory factor to better mental health in later-life.

Elder participation in cyberspace: A qualitative analysis of Israeli  retirees:This inquiry considers the nature and meaning of elder participation in cyberspace and the degree to which computer-mediated communication increases the social capital of older adults. Three primary themes emerged from the interviews. The first concerns the different conceptions of old age held by the cyber-participants and the non-participants, and in particular, differing views on learning capacity in later life. The second is related to the varying conceptions of time in old age, and orientation to the past or to the future. The third theme relates to the way in which the elderly persons involved in the virtual world relate to their computer, attributing human qualities to this new addition to their social network.


Litwin, H., (2002). Environmental quality of life in long-term care: The effect of institutional and community-based settings. Journal of Social Work in Long-Term Care, 1(1): 107-125.

Litwin, H., (2002). Methodological issues in the measurement of social networks. Gerontologia,28(3-4): 155-168, (Hebrew).

Litwin, H., (2002). Examination of the association of age, disability and mood among Jewish older adults in Israel.Aging and Mental Health, 6(4): 397-401.

Greenberger, H., and Litwin, H. (2003). Can burdened caregivers be effective facilitators of elder care-recipient health care? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 41(4): 332-341.

Litwin, H.,and Zoabi, S. (2003). Modernization and elder abuse in an Arab-Israeli context. Research on Aging, 25(3): 224-246.

Litwin, H.,(2003). The association of disability, sociodemographic background and social network type in later life.Journal of Aging and Health, 15(2): 391-408.

Litwin, H.,(2003). Social predictors of physical activity in later life: The contribution of social network type. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 11: 389-406.

Litwin, H.,(2003). El uso de servicios sociales y de salud entre adultos mayores: Un examen de factores pronóstico (Social and health service utilization among older people: An examination of predictive factors). Trabajo Social, Noviembre, 84-93.

Greenberger, H., and Litwin, H. (2003). Caregiver resources and facilitation of elder care-recipient adherence to health regimens. Canadian Journal on Aging/ La Revue Canadienne du Vieillissement, 22(4): 477-493.

Litwin, H., (2003). The social context of aging in Israel: Social support systems. In A. Rosin, (ed.), Aging and Gerontology in Israel,Jerusalem; JDC-Eshel, 641-660 (Hebrew). 

Litwin, H., (2003). "Social Network Structure and Utilization of Formal Public Support in Israel." In V. L. Bengtson & A. Lowenstein (eds.). Global Aging and Challenges to Families. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter, 196-213.

Litwin, H.,(2004). Intergenerational exchange patterns and their correlates in an aging Israeli cohort. Research on Aging, 26(2): 202-223.

Litwin, H.,(2004). Intergenerational exchange and mental health in later-life: The case of older Jewish Israelis. Aging and Mental Health, 8(3): 196-200.

Litwin, H.,and Zoabi, S. (2004). A multivariate examination of explanations for the occurrence of elder abuse. Social Work Research, 28(3): 133-142.

Blit-Cohen, E., and Litwin, H. (2004). Elder participation in cyberspace: A qualitative analysis of Israeli retirees. Journal of Aging Studies, 18(4): 385-398.

Litwin, H.,(2004). Social networks, ethnicity and public home care. Ageing and Society, 24(6): 921-939.

Auslander, G., Litwin, H., and Heinik, J. (2004). Social correlates of the severity of cognitive impairment at time of diagnosis of dementia. Journal of Mental Health and Aging, 10(4).

Blit Cohen, E., and Litwin, H. (2005). Computer utilization in later-life: Characteristics and relationship to personal well-being. Gerontechnology, 3(3): 76-86.

Brodsky, J., and Litwin, H. (2005). Immigration, appartenance ethnique et schémas de soins des personnes âgées en Israël (Immigration, ethnicity and patterns of care among older persons in Israel). Retraite et Société, 44: 177-203.

Litwin, H., (2005). Correlates of successful aging: Are they universal? International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 61(4): 313-333.

Litwin, H. (2005). Intergenerational relations in an aging world.  European Journal of Ageing, 2: 213-215.

Litwin, H., (2006). The path to well-being among elderly Arab-Israelis. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 21(1-2): 25-40.

Litwin, H., and Shiovitz-Ezra, S. (2006). The association between activity and well-being in later-life: what really matters? Ageing and Society, 26: 225-242.

Litwin, H., (2006). Social networks and self-rated health: A cross-cultural examination among older Israelis. Journal of Aging and Health, 18: 335-358.

Litwin, H., and Shiovitz-Ezra, S. (2006). Network type and mortality risk in later-life. The Gerontologist, 46(6): 735-743.

Litwin, H. (2007). What really matters in the social network mortality— association?  A multivariate examination among older Jewish-Israelis. European Journal of Ageing, 4(2): 71-82.

Litwin, H. (2007). Does early retirement lead to longer life? Ageing and Society, 27(5): 739-754.

Litwin, H. (2007). The interpersonal milieu of older people. In S. Carmel, C. Morse & F. Torres Gil (Eds.). Lessons on Aging from Three Nations, Volume I: The Art of Aging Well. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Co., pp. 169-184.

Litwin, H., Vogel, C., Künemund, H. and Kohli, M. (2008). The balance of intergenerational exchange: Correlates of net transfers in Germanyand Israel. European Journal of Ageing, 5(2): 91-102.

Achdut, L. and Litwin, H. (eds.) (2008). The 50+ cohort - First results from SHARE - Israel: Data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, Social Security - Journal of Welfare and Social Security Studies, 76.  (Hebrew), 311 pp.

Litwin, H., and Sapir, E.V. (2008): The SHARE-Israel methodology, Social Security - Journal of Welfare and Social Security Studies, 76: 25-41, (Hebrew).

Litwin, H. (2008): Private intergenerational transfers among persons aged 50+: The exchange of time, money and shared housing, Social Security - Journal of Welfare and Social Security Studies, 76: 247-268, (Hebrew).

 Litwin, H., and Sapir, E.V. (in press). Perceived income adequacy among older adults in 12 countries: Findings from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. The Gerontologist.

Litwin, H. (2008). Understanding aging in a Middle Eastern context: The SHARE-Israel survey of persons aged 50 and older. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, DOI10.1007/s10823-008-9073-7

Litwin, H.(2009). Understanding aging in a Middle Eastern context: The SHARE-Israel survey of persons aged 50 and older. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 24(1): 49-62.First publishedonline: July 15, 2008, DOI: 10.1007/s10823-008-9073-7.

Litwin, H., and Attias-Donfut, C. (2009). The inter-relationship between formal and informal care: A study in France and Israel. Ageing and Society, 29(1): 71-91. First published online: December 10, 2008, DOI:10.1017/S0144686X08007666.

Litwin, H., and Sapir, E.V. (2009). Perceived income adequacy among older adults in 12 countries: Findings from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. The Gerontologist, 49(3): 397-496. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnp036.

Litwin, H.,Achdut, L., and Youssim, I.(2009). Who supports delayed retirement? A study of older workers in Israel.Journal of European Social Policy,19(3): 245–257, DOI: 10.1177/ 0958928709104739.

Litwin, H., and Sapir, E.V. (2009). Forgone health care due to cost among older adults in European countries and in Israel. European Journal of Ageing, 6(3): 167-176.DOI: 10.1007/ s10433-009-0126-8.

Litwin, H.(2009). Social networks and well being: A comparison of older people in Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean countries. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 65B (5): S599-S608. First published online: December 14, 2009, DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbp104.

Shmotkin, D., andLitwin, H.(2009). Cumulative adversity and depressive symptoms among older adults in Israel: The differential roles of self-oriented versus other-oriented events of potential trauma. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 44: 989-997. DOI: 10.1007/ s00127-009-0020-x.

Litwin, H.,and Brodsky, J. (2009). Israel. In E. Palmore, F. Whittington and S. Kunkel (Eds.). The International Handbook on Aging: Current Research and Developments, Third Edition. Westport, CN: Praeger Publishers, pp. 297-308.  

Amit, K., and Litwin, H. (2010). The subjective well-being of immigrants aged 50 and older in IsraelSocial Indicators Research, 98: 89–104.First published online: September 23, 2009, DOI: 10.1007/s11205-009-9519-5.

Roll, A., and Litwin, H. (2010). Intergenerational financial transfers and mental health: An analysis using SHARE-Israel dataAging & Mental Health, 14(2): 203–210. DOI: 10.1080/ 13607860903191366.

Litwin, H., and Shiovitz-Ezra, S. (2011). Social network type and subjective well-being in a national sample of older Americans. The Gerontologist, 51(3): 379–388. First published online: November 19, 2010, DOI:10.1093/geront/gnq094

Litwin, H.(2011). The association between social network relationships and depressive symptoms among older Americans: what matters most?International Psychogeriatrics, 23:6, 930–940. First published online: March 1, 2011, DOI:10.1017/S1041610211000251.

Khalaila, R., and Litwin, H.(2011). Modernization and future care preferences: A cross-sectional survey of Arab Israeli caregivers. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67(7), 1614–1624. First published online: March 6, 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2010.05606.x

Muller, Z., and Litwin, H. (2011). Grandparenting and well-being: How important is grandpent-role centrality? European Journal of Ageing, 8(2): 109–118. First published online: March 29, 2011, DOI: 10.1007/s10433-011-0185-5.

Khalaila, R.,and Litwin, H. (2011). Does filial piety decrease depression among family caregivers?Ageing & Mental Health, 15(6), 679-686. First published online: May 11, 2011, DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2011.569479.

Litwin, H., and Shiovitz-Ezra, S. (2011). The association of background and network type among older Americans: Is "who you are" related to "who you are with? Research on Aging, 33(6): 735–759. First published online: May 27, 2011, DOI: 10.1177/0164027511409441.

Glicksman, A., and Litwin, H. (2011). International Spotlight: Israel. The Gerontologist, 51(6): 734-738. First published online: October 30, 2011,DOI:10.1093/geront/gnr104.

Litwin, H. (2011). Social relationships and well-being in very late life. In L. Poon and J. Cohen-Mansfield (Eds.)Understanding well being in the oldest old, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 213-226. ISBN 978-1-4419-8344-2

Khalaila, R.,and Litwin, H. (2012). Modernisation and filial piety among traditional family caregivers: A study of Arab-Israelis in cultural transition. Ageing & Society, 32: 768-789. First published online: July 22, 2011, DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X11000572.

Shrira, A., Shmotkin, D., and Litwin, H. (2012). Potentially traumatic events at different points in the life span and mental health: Findings from SHARE-Israel. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82(2): 251–259, DOI: 10.1111/j.1939-0025.2012.01149.x.

Litwin, H.(2012). Physical activity, social network type and depressive symptoms in late life: An analysis of data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project. Aging & Mental Health, 16(5): 608–616. First published online: February 1, 2012, DOI:10.1080/13607863.2011.644264.

Litwin, H., Shrira, A., and Shmotkin, D. (2012). Self–reported functional status among the old–old: A comparison of two Israeli cohorts. Journal of Aging and Health, 24(5): 846-862. First published online: March 15, 2012, DOI: 10.1177/0898264312436714.

Shiovitz-Ezra, S and Litwin, H. (2012). Social network type and health-related behaviors among older people: Evidence from an American national survey Social Science & Medicine, 75(5): 901-904. First published online: 24 May, 2012, DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.04.031. 

Litwin, H., and Stoeckel, K.J. (2012). Social networks and subjective wellbeing among older Europeans: Does age make a difference? Ageing & Society. First published online: 16 June, 2012, DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X12000645.

Litwin, H.,and Stoeckel. K.J. (2013). The social networks of older Europeans. In C. Phellas (ed.), Aging in European Societies, International Perspectives on Aging 6, New York: Springer, pp. 179-192. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-8345-9_12.


Howard Litwin's site at the Research and Development Authority