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  1. Education, Health, and the Default American Lifestyle

    Education has a large and increasing impact on health in America. This paper examines one reason why. Education gives individuals the ability to override the default American lifestyle. The default lifestyle has three elements: displacing human energy with mechanical energy, displacing household food production with industrial food production, and displacing health maintenance with medical dependency. Too little physical activity and too much food produce imperceptibly accumulating pathologies.

  2. The Contribution of Smoking to Educational Gradients in U.S. Life Expectancy

    Researchers have documented widening educational gradients in mortality in the United States since the 1970s. While smoking has been proposed as a key explanation for this trend, no prior study has quantified the contribution of smoking to increasing education gaps in longevity.

  3. Educational Inequalities in Health Behaviors at Midlife: Is There a Role for Early-life Cognition?

    Education is a fundamental cause of social inequalities in health because it influences the distribution of resources, including money, knowledge, power, prestige, and beneficial social connections, that can be used in situ to influence health. Recent studies have highlighted early-life cognition as commonly indicating the propensity for educational attainment and determining health and age of mortality. Health behaviors provide a plausible mechanism linking both education and cognition to later-life health and mortality.

  4. Marital Status, Relationship Distress, and Self-rated Health: What Role for "Sleep Problems"?

    This paper analyzes data from a nationally representative survey of adults in the United Kingdom (Understanding Society, N = 37,253) to explore the marital status/health nexus (using categories that include a measure of relationship distress) and to assess the role that sleep problems play as a potential mediator. Findings indicate how it is not just the "form" marital status takes but also the absence or presence of relationship distress that is essential to self-rated health.

  5. Marriage, Relationship Quality, and Sleep among U.S. Older Adults

    Sleep is a restorative behavior essential for health. Poor sleep has been linked to adverse health outcomes among older adults; however, we know little about the social processes that affect sleep. Using innovative actigraphy data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (N = 727), we considered the role of marriage, positive marital relationship support, and negative marital relationship strain on older adults’ (ages 62–90) self-reported and actigraph-measured sleep characteristics.

  6. In Sickness and in Health? Physical Illness as a Risk Factor for Marital Dissolution in Later Life

    The health consequences of marital dissolution are well known, but little work has examined the impact of health on the risk of marital dissolution. We use a sample of 2,701 marriages from the Health and Retirement Study to examine the role of serious physical illness onset in subsequent marital dissolution via either divorce or widowhood. We use a series of discrete time event history models with competing risks to estimate the impact of husband’s and wife’s physical illness onset on risk of divorce and widowhood.

  7. Cumulative Inequality in Child Health and Academic Achievement

    Our understanding of health and social stratification can be enriched by testing tenets of cumulative inequality theory that emphasize how the accumulation of inequality is dependent on the developmental stage being considered, the duration and stability of poor health, and the family resources available to children.

  8. The Sequencing of a College Degree during the Transition to Adulthood: Implications for Obesity

    In this study we consider the health implications of the sequencing of a college degree vis-à-vis familial roles during the transition to adulthood. We hypothesize that people who earned a college degree before assuming familial roles will have better health than people who earned a college degree afterwards. To test this hypothesis, we focus on obesity and use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

  9. Discrimination in Lending Markets: Status and the Intersections of Gender and Race

    Research documents that lenders discriminate between loan applicants in traditional and peer-to-peer lending markets, yet we lack knowledge about the mechanisms driving lenders’ behavior. I offer one possible mechanism: When lenders assess borrowers, they are implicitly guided by cultural stereotypes about the borrowers’ status. This systematically steers lenders toward funding higher status groups even when applicants have the same financial histories.

  10. Race, Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Women's Political Consciousness of Gender

    Existing research emphasizes the importance of group identification and perceived similarity in the development of group consciousness. Intersectionality suggests that for many women, a political consciousness of gender may also stem from experiences with race, ethnicity, and sexuality and may be interconnected with a consciousness of other forms of inequality. This study analyzes data from a recent national survey to investigate how race, ethnicity, and sexuality intersect with women’s gendered political consciousness.