Rafael Engel

  • Associate Professor

Associate Professor Rafael Engel received a PhD in social welfare from the University of Wisconsin as well as an MSW from the University of Michigan and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania. Engel coordinates the School of Social Work’s Gerontology Certificate Program, is the principal investigator for the John A. Hartford Practicum Partnership Program in Aging Education, and is the Research Director for Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh. With Jeff Shook and Sara Goodkind, he oversees the Pittsburgh Wage Study.  He has authored journal articles on a variety of topics including poverty in later life, welfare benefit levels, and depressive symptomatology, and has written monographs reporting agency-based evaluations.

Research Interests

  • Research design and validity
  • Aging
  • Poverty/income inequality


Engel, Rafael J. & Schutt, Russell, K. (2017). The Practice of Research in Social Work, 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Engel, Rafael J. & Schutt, Russell. K.  (2014).  Fundamentals of Social Work Research. 2nd edition.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publications.

Davis, Larry E. & Engel, Rafael J. (2011). Measuring Race and Ethnicity. New York:  Springer

Recent Publications

Woo, J., Shook, J., Goodkind, S., Ballentine, K., Engel, R., Kim, S., & Petracchi, H.  (2022). Do wage increases help? Wage increases and material hardships among low-wage hospital workers. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. doi: 10.1080/10911359.2022.2036282

*Woo, J., Ballentine, K., Shook, J., Engel, R., & Goodkind, S. (2022). Material hardships, perceived stress, and health among low-wage hospital workers. Health and Social Work, 47, 19-27. doi.org/10.1093/hsw/hlab038

*Woo, J., Choi, H., & Engel, R. (2022). Economic stress and life satisfaction in retirement among Korean older adults: The roles of different types of social support. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 65, 97-111. doi: 10.1080/01634372.2021.1937430.

**Jacobson Lopez, D., Garcia, A., Engel, R., & Jackson, J. (Forthcoming 2022).  Challenges and opportunities to recruiting and engaging with gay male Latino sexual assault survivors. Field Methods. doi: 10.1177/152822X221103736

*Tillman, H., *Huerta, C., Shook, J., *Williams, D., & Engel, R. (2021). Perceptions of human service organization leaders to raising the minimum wage. The Tropman Report: Insights for Partnerships and Process, 20-27.  Tropman-FINAL.pdf (forbesfunds.org) 

*Kim, S., Kang. C., & Engel, R. (2021). What convinces donors? An analysis of donation-based crowdfunding projects from nonprofit charities: The case of South Korea. Nonprofit Management & Leadership. doi.org/10.1002/nml.21496

Jang, H., Tang, F., Fusco, R. A., Engel, R.J., & Albert, S.M. (2021). Grandparenting, social relations, and mortality in old age. Research on Aging. doi.org/10.1177/01640275211015433.

Steiner, E., Wexler, S., & Engel, R. (2020). "Examining Experts’ Arguments for Increasing the Minimum Wage: Insights for Social Work Advocates. Advances in Social Work 20(3), 559-571. doi: 10.18060/23984.

Engel, R. J., Lee, D.H.J., & Rosen, D. (2020). Psychiatric sequelae among community social service agency staff one year after a mass shooting.  JAMA Network Open, 3(8):e2012476 doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.14050

Shook, J., Goodkind, S., Engel, R. J., Wexler, S., & Ballentine, K. (2020). Moving beyond poverty: Effects of low-wage work on individual, social, and family well-being.  Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 101, 249-259. doi.org/10.1177.1044389420923473

Wexler, S., Engel, R. J., Steiner, E., & Petracchi, H. (2020).  “It is Truly a Struggle to Survive”: The hardships of living on low wages. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 101, 275-278.. doi: 10.1177/1044389420928270

Wexler, S., Engel, R. J., Laufer, T., & Steiner, E. S. (2020).  “We’re not the enemy and we’re not asking for the world”: Low-wage hospital service workers’ advocacy for fair wages. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, XLVII, 123-148.

Rosen, D., Engel, R., Beaugard, C., Davis, N., & Cochran, G. (2019). Baby boomer’s substance abuse and researcher’s indifference. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 62, 16-28. doi: 10.1080/01634372.2018.1530715

Berrios-Thomas, S., Engel, R., McCall, J., & Rosen, D. (2018). Assessing knowledge regarding managing congestive health failure symptoms: Differences in patient and professional scores. Journal of Patient Experience, 5, 289-295. doi.org/10.1177/2374373518765793


Areas of Expertise