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Gayle Acton, PhD, RN, CS | Associate Professor

Gayle Acton

Email Gayle Acton

Phone: 512 471-9081
Fax: 512 471-4910

Office: NUR 5.149
The University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing
1710 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78701

Dr. Acton is an Associate Professor of Adult Health Nursing. Her research program concerns the older adult client, and in particular, caregivers of adults with dementia. She is interested in those interventions and resources that assist caregivers to cope more effectively with caregiving duties, and thus, achieve a higher level of well-being. Presently she is conducting a comprehensive meta-analytic evaluation of published and unpublished research testing interventions for family caregivers. In addition, Dr. Acton is co-investigator on a study of communication with persons with dementia. In the past she has investigated the resources of affiliated-individuation, hope, self-worth, and perceived support, evaluating their relationship to stress and well-being in caregivers. She has studied the role of self-transcendence in the caregiving process and am currently completing a study of spirituality and the role it might play in helping caregivers cope with stress and burden. Presently, she is expanding her view of resources to include health-promoting activities and she has conducted a secondary analysis of self-care activities and health-promoting outcomes in caregivers and a primary investigation of self-care in healthy community-dwelling adults. Dr. Acton tested a model of health promotion in community-dwelling older adults and family caregivers. She developed interventions to facilitate health promotion in family caregivers and adapted the interventions for Hispanic family caregivers. Dr. Acton also works with persons with dementia testing best communication techniques.

  • Acton, G.J., & Aguilar, M. Health Promotion Interventions for Spanish-speaking Hispanic Family Caregivers. Center for Health Promotion in Underserved Populations, University of Texas School at Austin of Nursing $20,000 6/1/07-5/31/08. Unfunded extension to 5/31/10.
  • Acton, G.J., & Wallace, M.A. Health Promotion Interventions for Hispanic Family Caregivers. Southwest Partnership Center, University of Texas School at Austin of Nursing $15,000, 7/06 to 6/07.
  • Acton, G.J., Jensen, B.A., & Holland, C. Health Promotion Interventions for Family Caregivers. Luci Baines Johnson Fellowship, $3000 9/05 to 8/06.
  • Carter, P. (PI), Lopez, M., Acton, G.J., Gotlieb, N. Development of a Caregiver Sleep Intervention 1R21MH67600-01, $500,000, 4/03 to 3/06.
  • Hopkins, B, (PI), Yauk, S, Acton, G.J., & Mayhew, P. Increasing Collaborative Social Communication in Persons with Dementia. Scott & White Memorial Hospital, $24,300. 3/1/03 to 3/31/05.
  • Acton, G.J. (PI) Health-promoting Self-care in Family Caregivers. In S. Brown, L. Walker, A. Stuifbergen, H. Becker, & L. Rew, Center for Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Research in Underserved Populations. Funding (see above).
  • Acton, G.J. "Caregiver Interventions: A Meta-analysis" R15NR04459 $112,358; NINR; 6/15/98 to 6/15/01.
  • Acton, G.J. (PI), Spirduso, W., Holahan, C., Brown, C., & Aguilar, M. "Health-promoting Self-care Behavior in Older Adults" $30,000; pilot project funded by the Center for Health Promotion/Disease Prevention; The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. NINR; 1/1/00 to 1/1/02.
  • Mayhew, P. (PI), Acton, G.J. (CO-investigator), Hopkins, B., Yauk, S. "Receiving Communication from the Alzheimer's Client". Veterans Administration Integrated Service Network #17; $88,000 5/1/99 to 5/1/01
  • Irvin, B.L., & Acton, G.J. "Health Promotion in Caregivers of Adults with Dementia", $500, Sigma Theta Tau, Beta Psi Chapter. 6/15/99 to 12/3/00
  • Acton, G.J. "Spirituality in Caregivers of Adults with Dementia", Sigma Theta Tau, Epsilon Theta, $1000 6/1/97 to 6/1/99.
  • Acton, G.J. "Self-Transcendence in Caregivers", American Nurses Foundation, $3499 9/1/97 to 9/1/98.
  • Flores, B.E. & Acton, G.J. (2013). Older Hispanic women, cancer screening, and health literacy, Clinical Nursing Research. 22(4), 402-15.
  • Simpson, C. & Acton, G. (2013). Emotion work in family caregiving for persons with dementia. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 34, 52-58.
  • Chen, S.H., Acton, G., & Shao, J.H. (2010). Relationships among nutritional self-efficacy, health locus of control and nutritional status in older Taiwanese adults. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19, 2117-2127.
  • Haung, T., & Acton, G.J. (2009). Ways of maintaining independence among Taiwanese elderly adults with hip fractures: A qualitative study. Geriatric Nursing, 30(1), 28-35.
  • Acton, G.J., Yauk, S., Hopkins, B.A., & Mayhew, P.A. (2007). Increasing social communication in persons with dementia. Journal of Theory and Research for Nursing Practice: An International Journal, 21(1), 35-47.
  • Kao, H.S., & Acton, G.J. (2006). Conceputalization and psychometric properties of the caregiver burden scale in Taiwan. Issues in Mental Health, 27, 853-866.
  • Carter, P.A., & Acton, G.J. (2006). Personality and Coping as Predictors of Cancer Caregivers' Depression and Sleep Problems. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 32(2), 45-53.
  • Huang, T.T., & Acton, G.J. (2004). Effectiveness of home visit falls prevention strategy for Taiwanese community-dwelling elders: Randomized trial. Public Health Nursing, 21(3), 247-256.
  • Thompson, R.L., Lewis, S.L., Murphy, M.R., Hale, J.M., Blackwell, P.H., Acton, G.J., Clough, D.H., Patrick, G.J., & Bonner, P.N. (2004). Are there sex differences in emotional and biological responses in spousal caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease? Biological Research for Nursing, 5(4), 319-330.         
  • Kao, H.F., Travis. S.S., & Acton, G.J. (2004). Working with patients and families before, during, and after relocation to a long-term care facility. Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 43(3),10-16.
  • Acton, G.J., & Miller, E.W. Spirituality in Family Caregivers. (2003). Journal of Holistic Nursing, 21(2), 117-130.
  • Brown, S., Upchurch, S., & Acton, G.J. A framework for developing a coding scheme for meta-analysis. (2003). Western Journal of Nursing Research, 25(2), 205-222.
  • Acton, G.J. (2002). Exploring self-transcendent views and behaviors in caregivers of adults with dementia. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 28(12), 22-30.
  • Acton, G.J. Health promotion in family caregivers. (2002). Western Journal of Nursing Research, 24, 73-86.
  • Acton, G.J., & Kang, J. (2001) Interventions to reduce caregiver burden: A meta-analysis. Research in Nursing & Health, 24, 1-12.
  • Acton, G.J. (2001). Meta-analysis. A tool for evidence-based practice. AACN Clinical Issues. Advanced Practice in Acute and Critical Care (special issue) Evidence-based Practice, 12, 539-545.
  • Acton, G.J. (in press). Exploring self-transcendent views and behaviors in caregivers of adults with dementia. Journal of Gerontological Nursing.
  • Timmerman, G., & Acton, G.J. (2001). The relationships between basic need satisfaction and emotional eating. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 22, 691-701.
  • Mayhew, P., Acton, G.J., Yauk, S., & Hopkins, B.A. (2001). Communication from individuals with advanced dementia. Geriatric Nursing, 20, 106-110.
  • Acton, G.J., & Malathum, P. (2000). Basic need status and health-promoting self-care behavior in adults. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 22, 796-811.
  • Acton, G.J., & Wright, K.B. (2000). Self-transcendence and family caregivers of persons with dementia. The Journal of Holistic Nursing, 18, 143-158.
  • Acton, G., Mayhew, P., Hopkins, B., & Yauk, S. (1999). Communicating with persons with dementia: The impaired person's perspective. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 25(2), 6-13.
  • Acton, G. (1997). The mediating effect of affiliated-individuation in caregivers of adults with dementia. The Journal of Holistic Nursing, 15(4), 336-357.
  • Acton, G.J., Irvin, B.L., Jensen, B.A., Hopkins, BA, & Miller, E.W. (1997). Explicating midrange theory through methodological diversity. Advances in Nursing Science, 19(3), 78-85.
  • Irvin, B.L. & Acton, G.J. (1997). Stress, hope and well-being of women caring for family members with Alzheimer's disease. Holistic Nursing Practice. 11(2), 69-79.
  • Raudonis, B. & Acton, G.J. (1997). Theory-based nursing practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26(1), 138-145.
  • Acton, G. & Miller, E. (1996). Affiliated-individuation in caregivers of adults with dementia. Issues in Mental Health, 17(3), 245-260.
  • Irvin, B.L. & Acton, G.J. (1996). Stress mediation in caregivers of cognitively impaired adults: Theoretical model testing. Nursing Research, 45(3), 160-166.

Invited Publications

  • Acton, G.J., & Winter, M. (2002). Interventions for Family Members Caring for an Elder with Dementia. Annual Review of Nursing Research, 20, 149-179.
  • Acton, G.J.(2001). Faculty response - grandparent parents: Intergenerational surrogate parenting. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 19, 308-309.
  • Acton, G.J. (2001). Promoting positive aging. Editorial. (guest editor for special issue in gerontology). Journal of Holistic Nursing, 19, 219-220.