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Pronouns: she/her

Phone: 765-494-2942


1200 Mitch Daniels Blvd.
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907

Curriculum Vitae Back to Directory

Melissa Franks

Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Associate Director, Center for Families

Courtesy Appointments

Department of Psychological Sciences; Department of Public Health

Areas of Expertise

  • social support, interpersonal relationships, health behavior change, chronic disease management

HHS Signature Research Area(s)

  • Healthy Lifestyles and Vital Longevity

Department of Human Development and Family Science Research Area(s)

  • Health and Well-Being
  • Interpersonal Relations


Melissa M. Franks, PhD, received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Social Psychology from Kent State University, and she completed postdoctoral training through the Institute of Gerontology at The University of Michigan. The primary focus of her research program is to uncover how interpersonal behaviors of close social partners can facilitate (or impede) individuals’ healthy lifestyle behaviors to promote optimal health and forestall dependence in late life. Theoretical frameworks at the intersection of health psychology, relationship science, and gerontology, particularly those with an emphasis on interdependence and collaboration in close relationships, guide her investigations of health-related interactions of close social partners. Dr. Franks’ research on health promotion and disease management among older couples has been published in premier journals including Health Psychology, Journal of Family Psychology, and Journals of Gerontology. Dr. Franks is the Director of the Center for Families at Purdue University, and she is active in the Center on Aging and the Life Course and the Department of Public Health Graduate Program.

Accepting graduate student applications for the December 1, 2023 deadline.


  • Ph.D., 1993, Kent State University

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • Safe Zone Training

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Fellow, Gerontological Society of America - November, 2016