Jennifer Harrison Elder, PhD, RN, FAAN

ElderProfessor and Professor and PhD Program Director

University of Florida
PO Box 100187
Gainesville, FL 32610-0187
HPNP 2224

Telephone: 352-273-6318
Fax: 352-273-6356


Dr. Elder has taught across all levels of the curriculum including both didactic and clinical courses. She currently focuses on directing the PhD program, teaching PhD students research methods, coordinating the undergraduate honors program, and providing research experiences for undergraduate honors students. She mentors PhD students whose dissertations focus on autism and related disorders, parent child interactions, in-home parent training, father-child interventions, and innovative technologies for promoting child and family health. Her teaching/mentoring has been recognized with a Howard Hughes Mentoring Institute Distinguished Mentor Award, two UF Superior Accomplishment Awards, and two UF Research Professorship Awards.


Dr. Elder has spent over 30 years studying autism and related child neuropsychiatric disorders and includes students from nursing and a variety of other disciplines in all of her research. Much of her family-focused work examines methods of educating families, enhancing family cohesion, and reducing caregiver stress of children with autism. Dr. Elder has been the primary investigator on four NIH/NINR grants totaling over $2.5 million dollars. She has given numerous international research presentations including an invited presentation in New Delhi by India’s president.


Dr. Elder is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and frequently reviews for NIH, Department of Defense, American Nurses Foundation, Southern Nursing Research Society, Sigma Theta Tau International and refereed journals both in and outside the field of nursing. She has served on a variety of committees both within the College of Nursing and university. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, Florida Nurses Association, Southern Nursing Research Society, International Society for Autism Research and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society in Nursing. She is currently the director of grants for SNRS and the chair of AACN’s Research Leadership Network.

Area of Expertise

Dr. Elder has expertise in psychiatric/mental health nursing, pediatrics and child mental health, quantitative research methods including single subject experimental design, and ethical conduct of research. Her administrative experience has spanned ten years: five years as a department chair, five years as an associate dean for research, and current director of UFCON’s PhD program.


Dr. Elder received her BSN in Nursing at the Medical College of Georgia. She received her MSN in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing and her PhD in Nursing Science at the University of Florida

Selected Publications

  • Elder, J. H. (2018) Engaging fathers in the care of young children with autism. M. Siller, L. Morgan (eds.), Handbook of Parent-Implemented Interventions for Very Young Children with Autism, Autism and Child Psychopathology Series, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018 253
  • Elder, J.H. (2018) The principle of the four P’s. . Research in Nursing and Health. 1-3, DOI: 10.1002/nur.21906.
  • Elder, J.H, Kreider, C., Brasher, S., & Ansell, M. (2017) Clinical impact of early diagnosis of autism on the prognosis and parent-child relationships. Psychology research and behavior management,10, 1-10.
  • Elder, J.H, Brasher, S. & Alexander, B. (2016) Identifying the barriers to early diagnosis and treatment in underserved individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families: a qualitative study. Issues In Mental Health Nursing.10.3109/01612840.2016.1153174
  • Albanese-O’Neill, A., Schatz, D.A, Bernhardt, J. M. & Elder, J.H. (2016) Educational needs and technological preferences of father of youth with Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Educator.
  • Sellinger, V. & Elder, J. (2016) Parent training intervention to manage externalizing behaviors in children with autism. Journal of Pediatric Health Care,30, 1, 73-77. http//
  • Elder, J.H. (2016) Assisting Parents in Adapting and Making Decisions Regarding the Most Efficacious Treatment Options. In E. Giarelli and K. Fisher (Eds) Integrated health care for people with autism spectrum disorders: interdisciplinary planning and delivery of care. Charles C. Thomas, Publishers Ltd.
  • Freeman, K.G. & Elder, J.H. (2016) Facilitating The Role Of Parents In Healthcare Management And Advocacy. . In E. Giarelli and K. Fisher (Eds) Integrated health care for people with autism spectrum disorders: interdisciplinary planning and delivery of care. Charles C. Thomas, Publishers Ltd.
  • Strahan, B. and Elder, J. H., (2015) Video game playing effects on obesity in an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research and Treatment, vol. 2015, Article ID 128365, 7 pages, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/128365
  • Elder JH, Kreider CM, Schaefer NM, & de Laosa MB (2015). A review of gluten and casein free diets for treatment of autism 2005 to 2015 Nutrition and Dietary Supplements 7:87-101
  • Brasher, S.N. & Elder, J. H. (2015). Development of an internet survey to determine barriers to early diagnosis and intervention in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Neurology and Neuroscience. ISSN 2171-6625, 1-5
  • Brown, A. & Elder, J.H. (2014) Communication in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Guide for Pediatric Nurses, Pediatric Nursing
  • Smith, L.O., Elder, J.H. & Storch, E.Z. (2014). Predictors of Coherence in Typically Developing Adolescent Siblings of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Journal of Intellectual Disability Research (doi: 10.1111/jir.12124)