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  1. Adolescents under Pressure: A New Durkheimian Framework for Understanding Adolescent Suicide in a Cohesive Community

    Despite the profound impact Durkheim’s Suicide has had on the social sciences, several enduring issues limit the utility of his insights. With this study, we offer a new Durkheimian framework for understanding suicide that addresses these problems. We seek to understand how high levels of integration and regulation may shape suicide in modern societies. We draw on an in-depth, qualitative case study (N = 110) of a cohesive community with a serious adolescent suicide problem to demonstrate the utility of our approach.

  2. "Im Not Mentally Ill": Identity Deflection as a Form of Stigma Resistance

    Mental illness identity deflection refers to rebuffing the idea that one is mentally ill. Predictors of identity deflection and its consequences for well-being were examined for individuals with mental disorders in the National Comorbidity Study–Replication (N = 1,368). Respondents more often deflected a mental illness identity if they had a nonsevere disorder, had low impairment in functioning, had no treatment experience, viewed possible treatment as undesirable, and held multiple social roles, consistent with theory about stigma resistance.

  3. Life Course Pathways to Racial Disparities in Cognitive Impairment among Older Americans

    Blacks are especially hard hit by cognitive impairment at older ages compared to whites. Here, we take advantage of the Health and Retirement Study (1998–2010) to assess how this racial divide in cognitive impairment is associated with the racial stratification of life course exposures and resources over a 12-year period among 8,946 non-Hispanic whites and blacks ages 65 and older in 1998. We find that blacks suffer from a higher risk of moderate/severe cognitive impairment at baseline and during the follow-up.

  4. Pathways from Early Childhood Adversity to Later Adult Drug Use and Psychological Distress: A Prospective Study of a Cohort of African Americans

    Drawing on the life course perspective, this research addresses the direct and indirect pathways between childhood adversity and midlife psychological distress and drug use across a majority of the life span in an African American cohort (N = 1,242) followed from age 6 to 42 (1966 to 2002). Results from structural equation models highlight the impact of low childhood socioeconomic status (SES), poor maternal mental health, and the role of first-grade maladaptation in launching a trajectory of social maladaptation from age 6 to 42.

  5. Imprisoned by Empathy: Familial Incarceration and Psychological Distress among African American Men in the National Survey of American Life

    The stress process model predicts that current incarceration of a family member should damage the health status of the inmate’s relatives. We address this prediction with data from the National Survey of American Life, focusing exclusively on African American men (n = 1,168). In survey-adjusted generalized linear models, we find that familial incarceration increases psychological distress, but its effect attenuates ostensibly after controlling for other chronic strains.

  6. Peer Influence on Aggressive Behavior, Smoking, and Sexual Behavior: A Study of Randomly-assigned College Roommates

    Identifying casual peer influence is a long-standing challenge to social scientists. Using data from a natural experiment of randomly-assigned college roommates (N = 2,059), which removes the threat of friend selection, we investigate peer effects on aggressive behavior, smoking, and concurrent sexual partnering. The findings suggest that the magnitude and direction of peer influence depend on predisposition, gender, and the nature of the behavior.

  7. Adolescent Mental Health and Dating in Young Adulthood

    Adolescence is a period of tremendous socioemotional change, when youth develop important relationship skills that they carry with them into adulthood. The mental health of individuals during this period might act as resources or impediments that impact their ability to cultivate such skills as well as outcomes in their later romantic relationships.

  8. Study Reveals Incarceration’s Hidden Wounds for African American Men

    There’s a stark and troubling way that incarceration diminishes the ability of a former inmate to empathize with a loved one behind bars, but existing sociological theories fail to capture it, Vanderbilt University sociologists have found.

  9. "A Quintessentially American Thing?": The Unexpected Link between Individualistic Values and the Sense of Personal Control

    A popular image of Americans is that they are among the most individualistic people on the planet. This long-standing myth has informed theorizing about the sense of control and its relevance for stress and mental health. Prior claims have suggested that differences based on individualistic and collectivistic values contribute to group differences in the sense of control. We analyze data from the World Values Survey to test this hypothesis, focusing on a comparison of Americans and individuals in East Asian societies.

  10. Depressive Symptoms and Electronic Messaging with Health Care Providers

    Recent health policies encourage electronic messaging with providers to potentially improve health care. It is unclear whether the same potential exists for individuals with mental health symptoms. Whereas these individuals appear interested in such technologies, they may also be concerned about privacy and security risks. To clarify this ambiguity, we conceptualize electronic messaging as an impression management tool for individuals with depressive symptoms, who risk devaluation from others.