American Sociological Association



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  1. ASA Task Force Issues Report on Evaluating Public Communication in Tenure and Promotion

    Washington, DC — Increasingly, social scientists use multiple forms of communication to engage broader audiences with their research and contribute to solutions of the pressing problems of our time. Yet, in academia, it is unclear whether these efforts to communicate with the public should count when colleges and universities are evaluating scholars.

  2. One Nation, United? Science, Religion, and American Public Opinion

    Debates about science and religion—whether they conflict and how they factor into public opinion, policies, and politics—are of longstanding interest to social scientists. Research in this area often examines how elites use science and religion to justify competing claims. But, how do members of the public more generally incorporate science and religion into their worldviews? The assumption that science and religion inherently conflict with one another has come under increasing scrutiny and recent studies reveal that science and religion are more compatible than previously assumed.

  3. Religion in Public Action: From Actors to Settings

    Contemporary social research often has located religion’s public influence by focusing on individual or collective religious actors. In this unitary actor model, religion is a stable, uniform feature of an individual or collectivity. However, recent research shows that people’s religious expression outside religious congregations varies by context.

  4. The Doors of the Church are Now Open: Black Clergy, Collective Efficacy, and Neighborhood Violence

    Prior research has documented the historical significance of the black church beyond serving parishioners’ religious and spiritual needs. Specifically, several black churches are involved in community organizing, social service activities, and political action. Scholars, however, have paid less attention to its role as a potent social institution in community crime control and prevention efforts.

  5. 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.

  6. "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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.