NCFR Olson Grant Announces 2023 Recipients

Hwang and Silverstein
Dr. Hwang (left) and Dr. Silverstein

SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA — The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and David H. Olson, Ph.D., are proud to recognize Woosang Hwang, Ph.D.; and Merril Silverstein, Ph.D., as the 2023 recipients of the NCFR Olson Grant: Bridging Research, Theory, and Practice. Now in its fourth year, this $10,000 annual grant is available to NCFR members working to creatively contribute to the discipline of Family Science by effectively uniting research, theory, and practice in their work.

Dr. Hwang and Dr. Silverstein will be recognized during a plenary at the 2023 conference. They will present findings from the study at the 2024 NCFR Annual Conference, to be held Nov. 20-23, 2024, in Bellevue, Washington.

Their proposed study, Stability and Change of Intergenerational Solidarity with Digital Communication among Korean Adult Children and Older Parents: Associations with Family Well-Being in the Post COVID-19 Pandemic,” will examine whether family cluster membership is impacted by intergenerational and digital solidarity in South Korea in a post-pandemic society. Recognizing the strain that COVID-19 presents to families—the risk of social isolation of older adults, social distancing, weakening relationships, family well-being, healthy interactions—all of which accelerate trends toward greater use of digital communication. Their research tests whether the addition of digital communication as a subdimension of associational solidarity contributes to the intergenerational solidarity paradigm, identifying new dyadic patterns, and essentially whether family functioning is impacted by this convergence of solidarity among families in South Korea. 

The selection committee spoke highly of the proposed study and the international perspective that it brings to Family Science; a goal for NCFR, the Family Science discipline, and Dr. David Olson’s work. The committee found a strong connection between research, theory, and practice, and they further "believe this research study is timely, a topic of great significance and high-impact, and will ultimately be successful in journal submissions, conference presentations, and future citations.”

NCFR is pleased to present this award to Dr. Hwang and Dr. Silverstein for their important work towards effectively uniting theory, research, and practice in Family Science.

David H. Olson, Ph.D., the namesake of the grant, is renowned for his many contributions to Family Science as a scholar, teacher, therapist, and professional. He is an NCFR Fellow, NCFR past president, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, and creator of the highly respected Circumplex Model of Couples and Families, which enables researchers and practitioners to examine a couple's relationship through the couple’s flexibility, cohesion, and communication skills. Dr. Olson also established the PREPARE/ENRICH program, used around the world for premarital education and marriage counseling.

Learn more about the grant, eligibility criteria, and application process and requirements at

About the Recipients

Woosang Hwang, Ph.D., (he/him/his) is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at Texas Tech University. As a quantitative family researcher, Dr. Hwang is experienced in studying the multidimensional constructs of intergenerational solidarity in unique generational cohorts as predictors of psychological, behavioral, and relational outcomes over the life course. He has published 41 peer-reviewed articles on the topic of family relations and family well-being over the life course across Western and Eastern cultural contexts; 34 of which he was lead author. His publications spanned the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Families in Society, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Family Psychology, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, as well as a book chapter on intergenerational contact and digital solidarity. At NCFR, he is co-chair of the Korean Families Focus Group; served as a session presider and facilitator in poster sessions; is an ad hoc reviewer for Family Relations; and has contributed to the Work and Family Focus Group. Dr. Hwang was recently awarded the Student and New Professional Issues in Aging Focus Group Award from NCFR, as well as an editorial fellowship with NCFR Family Relations, & Student and New Professional Outstanding Paper Award from NCFR.

Merril Silverstein, Ph.D., (he/him/his) is professor and chair of the Sociology Department, professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, with an affiliation with the Aging Studies Institute, at Syracuse University. He has countless years of experience designing and implementing survey research projects in aging and family studies in the U.S. and abroad. He has served on the advisory boards of several major social surveys on aging and family life. He is among the foremost scholarly authorities in the study of intergenerational relations of older adults. Dr. Silverstein has produced several edited volumes on intergenerational relations, has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles on the topic of families and aging, including a decade review on aging and family relations. His work has been published in journals including the Journal of Gerontology, Journal of Marriage and Family, International Sociology, Journal of Family Psychology, Journal of Family Issues, as well as books related to intergenerational support for elderly people, & aging individuals and families. Dr. Silverstein was recently awarded the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award from the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association for his career contributions to social gerontological research.


The National Council on Family Relations is the premier professional association for the multidisciplinary understanding of families. NCFR has a membership of nearly 3,000 family researchers, practitioners and educators. For more information on the National Council on Family Relations or its scholarly publications, visit the NCFR website at