Mariana T. Guzzardo, Ph.D. Faculty Profile

Photo of Mariana Guzzardo

Mariana  T.   Guzzardo, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Human Development & Women's Studies

Mariana T. Guzzardo grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and remained there until she graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.  She then attended the University of Connecticut (UConn), where she obtained her master’s and doctoral degrees in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Adult Development and Aging. As a doctoral student, she conducted qualitative and quantitative research that considered how environmental resources (e.g., features in the home, community-based services) address the needs of older adults with disabilities. Much of this research follows the guiding principle that a combination of housing, services, and informal support can preserve a sense of dignity and autonomy as one experiences increasing levels of functional impairment with age.

After receiving her degree, she worked as a full-time professor at UConn and taught a variety of courses within the field of human development. Later, as a postdoctoral research associate at Northeastern University, she focused on the analysis of data from the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (now at UMASS- Lowell) and collaborated on several publications, covering topics such as the meaning of health and aging as well as social support within close relationships. Her current research continues to focus on the housing and service needs of aging individuals with an emphasis on the Latinx communities in the Bay Area. 

Most recently, her research focuses on access and use of community-based long-term care among Latinx older adults.  The main her research has explored disaster resilience among older adults living in Puerto Rico after hurricane María of 2017 and during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Another facet of her research comprises a study of transnational identity among the Puerto Rican diaspora. As a postdoctoral research associate with BPRHS, Guzzardo and co-authors wrote about Puerto Rican participants’ multiple discourses on identity. She and co-authors also considered how the sentiments expressed in published poetry by Puerto Rican immigrants resonate with the subjective experiences of the participants in the BPRHS. Guzzardo’s interest in the topic of diasporic Puerto Ricans’ cultural/national identities stems from her background and experiences. She considers herself both Puerto Rican and American, but these two entities, Puerto Rico and the United States, have a political relationship born from conflict, and fraught with tension related to Puerto Rico’s colonial status. With parents of Cuban and Italian heritage, her background has composed a hybrid identity and multidimensional lens reflected in her research and teaching. The words of Gloria Anzaldúa, below, not only echo her sentiments about Puerto Rican transnational identity, but also reflect the topics she explores in her research relating to dialogical subjectivity.

“The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian--our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the 'real' world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.” Gloria Anzaldúa

Research Interests

  • Older Latinx immigrants in the U.S. Mainland, the meaning of home, aging out of place, support network characteristics with consideration of a dialogical transnational identity.
  • Coping with age-related changes in functioning and associated environmental needs including housing, services and informal support.
  • Post-disaster and pandemic experiences of elders with functional and access needs.
  • The unique contexts of aging in Puerto Rico, and the health conditions and psychosocial issues of older adults living there.

  • PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut
  • MA in Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut
  • BA in Psychology, University of Puerto Rico

Not teaching this semester.

  • Guzzardo, M. T., Todorova, I. L. G., Polidoro Lima, M., Engelman, Dean-Olmsted, E., Guzzardo Tamargo, R. E. (2021). Reflexivity and humility evoke a transformable methodology. Health Psychology  and Behavioral Medicine: An Open Access Journal [Special Issue: Advanced Methods in Health Psychology and Behavioral, 9(1), 1-24, DOI: 10.1080/21642850.2020.1862661 Medicine].
  • Vesely, C. K., Bravo, D. Y., & Guzzardo, M.T. (2019). Immigrant Families Across the Life Course: Policy Impacts on Physical and Mental Health. National Council on Family Relations – Policy Brief, 4 (1).
  • Guzzardo, M. T., Adams, W. E., Todorova, I. L. G., Falcón, L. M. (2017). Harmonizing beliefs with realities: Social support among older Puerto Ricans with disabilities. SAGE Open [Special Issue on Ethnogerontology], 7. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244017715337
  • Guzzardo, M. T., Adams, W. E., Todorova, I. L. G., Falcón, L. M. (2016). Resonating sentiments on Puerto Rican identity through poetry: Voices of the diaspora. Qualitative Inquiry, 22(5), 428-443
  • Guzzardo, M. T., Todorova, I. L. G., Adams, W. E., Falcón, L. M. (2016). “Half here, half there”: Dialogical selves among older Puerto Ricans of the diaspora. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 29(1), 51-65.
  • Todorova, I. L. G, Guzzardo, M. T., Adams, W. E., & Falcón, L. M. (2015). Gratitude and Longing: Meanings of health in aging for Puerto Rican adults in the Mainland. Journal of Health Psychology, 20(12), 1602-1612.
  • Adams, W. E., Todorova, I. L. G, Guzzardo, M. T., & Falcón, L. M. (2015). “The problem here is that they want to solve everything with pills”: Differentiating and integrating multiple cultural meanings of medications. Sociology of Health and Illness, 37(6), 904-919.
  • Guzzardo, M. T., & Sheehan, N. W. (2013). Community-based long term care: How residential setting and living arrangement influence elderly Puerto Ricans’ knowledge and use of long-term care services. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 56(1), 26-48.

  • Guzzardo Tamargo, R. E., Guzzardo, M. T., & Romañach Álvarez, A. (2020, Dec. 7) Yo quiero...ir y venir: Latinx identities portrayed through movement within multilinguistic and multicultural repertoires. Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab Talk Series at the University of California, Irvine.
  • Engelman, A., Guzzardo, M. T., Todorva, I, Vasquez Del Valle, A., Naidu, V. (2020, October 24-28). Supporting older adults with disabilities and the emergency response of community-based organizations (CBOs) in Puerto Rico after Hurricane María [Conference presentation]. 148th Annual American Public Health Association Conference (virtual).
  • Guzzardo, M. T., Guzzardo Tamargo, R., Romanach, A. (2020, May 13-16). "Quiero...ir y venir": The fluid and multifaceted voices of LatinX bilingual code-switchers [Conference presentation]. LASA 2020 Congress: America Ladina: Vinculando Mundos y Saberes, Tejiendo Esperanzar, May 13-16, 2020 (virtual).
  • Guzzardo, M. T., Engelman, A., Todorova, I., Guzzardo Tamargo, R. E., Dean-Olmsted, E., & Rivero-Vergne, A., (2019, November). Recovery, resilience and empowerment: Women as agents of change in the aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico. Paper presented at the National Women’s Studies Association conference in San Francisco.
  • Guzzardo, M. T. (2019, September). Challenging local corruption and colonial repression: A Boricua awakening. Presentation for LatinX Cultural Awareness Month 2019, sponsored by the Chicanx Latinx Staff and Faculty Association. CSUEB, Hayward.
  • Co-presenter. (2019, August). Supporting faculty to support our students: Tools for balancing empathy and rigor. Presented by the members of the 2018-2019 Faculty Learning Community (FLC), hosted by the Pioneers for HOPE Learning Framework. Presentation for Back to the Bay. CSUEB, Hayward.
  • Guzzardo, M. T., Engelman, A., Todorova, I., Dean-Olmsted, E., Guzzardo Tamargo, R. E., & Rivero-Vergne, A., (2019, May). Everything changed after the hurricane: Older Adults’ Experiences & the Emergency Response in Puerto Rico. Paper presented at the Latin American Studies Association in Boston.
  • Guzzardo, M. T. & Engelman, A. (2018, November 8th) "Everything Changed After The Hurricane":Older Adults' Experiences & the Emergency Response in Puerto Rico. Presentation during U-Hour for the Library Speaker Series, CSUEB, Hayward.