American Sociological Association

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  1. The Structure of Causal Chains

    Sociologists are increasingly attentive to the mechanisms responsible for cause-and-effect relationships in the social world. But an aspect of mechanistic causality has not been sufficiently considered. It is well recognized that most phenomena of interest to social science result from multiple mechanisms operating in sequence. However, causal chains—sequentially linked mechanisms and their enabling background conditions—vary not just substantively, by the kind of causal work they do, but also structurally, by their formal properties.
  2. The Conditionality of Norms: The Case of Bridewealth

    Social norms are rules that prescribe and proscribe behavior. The application of norms is conditional. But scholars have little systematic understanding of the factors that affect conditionality. The authors argue that understanding norms requires assessing the costs and benefits of focal and nonfocal behaviors for norm targets, beneficiaries, and enforcers. The authors develop hypotheses about two combinations of these factors; they hypothesize that 1) costs to the norm target of complying with the norm, and 2) behavior by the norm beneficiary that hurts the norm target, weaken the norm.
  3. Better Together? Interracial Relationships and Depressive Symptoms

    Previous research shows that married and cohabiting individuals are happier and enjoy greater levels of psychological well-being than single individuals. However, most of this research relies on data from intraracial—mostly white—couples, and less is known about the emotional health outcomes of individuals in interracial partnerships. This study uses fixed-effects regression to examine depressive symptoms among those transitioning into intraracial and interracial relationships in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health.

  4. ‘‘I Can Turn It on When I Need To’’: Pre-college Integration, Culture, and Peer Academic Engagement among Black and Latino/a Engineering Students

    Drawing on interviews with 38 black and Latino/a engineering students at a predominantly white, elite university, I use a cultural analytic framework to explicate the role of pre–college integration in the heterogeneous psychosocial and academic experiences of students of color on predominantly white campuses. I identify three cultural strategies students of color adopt to navigate the university’s ethnoracially segregated peer network landscape and more specifically, engage majority–white academic peer networks: integration, marginalized segregation, and social adaptation.
  5. Suspended Attitudes: Exclusion and Emotional Disengagement from School

    We know far less about the unintended social-psychological consequences of out-of-school suspensions on students than we do of the academic, behavioral, and civic consequences. Drawing on theories of socialization and deviance, I explore how suspension events influence students’ emotional engagement in school through changes in their attitudes. Using longitudinal middle school survey data connected to individual student administrative records, I find that students who receive out-of-school suspensions are psychologically vulnerable prior to their removal from school.
  6. Hooking Up and the “Ritual Retelling”: Gender Beliefs in Post-hookup Conversations with Same-sex and Cross-sex Friends

    Most scholarship on hookup culture has focused on college students’ sexual activity and has overlooked the post-hookup “ritual retelling” as a subject of systematic research. This study examines the impact of gender beliefs regarding sexual activity, particularly the recreational and relational orientations of men and women, respectively, as well as the situational context, namely, the gender of their conversational partners.
  7. Teaching Note: Social Networks and Labor Market Inequality: A Role-playing Activity to Teach Difficult Concepts

    Role-playing activities, as a form of active learning, enable instructors to teach difficult concepts in ways that better facilitate student learning. This note tests the effectiveness of a role-playing activity that simulates the job market: Most students play job seekers seeking employment, and a few play the employers who make employment decisions. However, students are constrained in that they can only talk to students they already know or meet during the game.
  8. The Paradox of Persistence: Explaining the Black-White Gap in Bachelor’s Degree Completion

    Bachelor’s degree (BA) completion is lower among black students than among white students. In this study, we use data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, together with regression-based analytical techniques, to identify the primary sources of the BA completion gap. We find that black students’ lower academic and socioeconomic resources are the biggest drivers of the gap. However, we also find that black students are more likely to enroll in four-year colleges than are white students, given pre-college resources.
  9. Stress and the Mental Health of Populations of Color: Advancing Our Understanding of Race-related Stressors

    This article provides an overview of research on race-related stressors that can affect the mental health of socially disadvantaged racial and ethnic populations. It begins by reviewing the research on self-reported discrimination and mental health. Although discrimination is the most studied aspect of racism, racism can also affect mental health through structural/institutional mechanisms and racism that is deeply embedded in the larger culture.
  10. Do They Have to Like It to Learn from It? Students’ Experiences, Group Dynamics, and Learning Outcomes in Group Research Projects

    Small-group pedagogies, such as group research projects, are a common instructional method in undergraduate education. The literature suggests that small-group learning has positive effects on learning outcomes, but some students have negative attitudes toward group work, and student complaints about negative group dynamics, such as free-riding, are common.