Eugenie Stephenson

Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium


Eugenie Stephenson

Department: Gerontology

Institution: University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)



Statement of the problem – Current Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) impedes the use of existing policy by individuals caring for older individuals not identified as a ‘relative’ per FMLA’s current policy.

Nature and purpose of the research – Review of caregiver literature was conducted with aims of determining key characteristics among employed family caregivers of older adults to better inform existing FMLA policy.

Current research objectives – Identify key caregiver characteristics, and potentially impeding influences to caregivers’ ability to use current FMLA policy.

Research methodology – Initial search conducted using the EBSCO Discovery Service – ‘One Search’ for peer reviewed articles from 2000-2016, English-language, using the terms, “family caregiver” “employed caregivers” “leave policies”. The final count included 26 articles.

Identify the participants in the studies – Individuals 18 years of age or older, employed part-time/full-time and providing care to an older relative.

Provide the main results – Review identified barriers using FMLA when existing federal, state and workplace policies lack congruence. Low-income caregivers feel inability to use current policy regardless of workplace support. Women caring for relatives experience increased barriers to using FMLA with care demands often requiring the provision of time-consuming, detailed care in addition to primary responsibilities.

Describe any conclusions or implications – Key characteristics of caregivers include gender, worker-status, income, job type and marital-status. Workplace factors include the presence of policies supportive of caregivers. Findings support next steps to determine relationships between key caregiver and workplace characteristics, and individuals most likely to be negatively impacted by current FMLA ‘relative’ definitions.



Eugenie is currently a research assistant to Dr. Christine Mair working on a collaborative UMB/UMBC seed grant project, which assesses neighborhood environment and risk of cardiovascular disease in Baltimore City. During her graduate studies, Eugenie has worked as a research assistant on projects related to gerontology higher education, older women’s sexual health, and care team redesign. Her recent research projects include her master’s thesis which focuses on the role of location and predisposing characteristics as predictors on accessing healthcare services in rural communities. Eugenie’s current research interests include rural health and allocation of healthcare resources, home and community-based services, and family caregivers’ use of supportive services.






  1. “Age and Perceptions of Access to Transportation and Health Care Resources” (Paper has been accepted for presentation at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Southern Gerontological Society), Asheville, North Carolina April 6- April 9, 2017
  1. Stephenson, Eugenie, “Location of Healthcare Resources and Perceptions of Access among Rural Dwelling Older Georgians.” Thesis, Georgia State University, August 2016.
  1. “Maintaining older women’s sexual health as they age – barriers to success” Student Mentoring Conference, Paper Presentation and Poster Session. Pensacola, FL April 2016.
  1. “Results of the Alternative Living Services provider focus group” conducted by the State of Georgia Community Care Services Program, Georgia Association of Community Care Providers, Presenter. Macon, GA, April 2 2014.


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