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  1. 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.

  2. Category Taken-for-Grantedness as a Strategic Opportunity: The Case of Light Cigarettes, 1964 to 1993

    Theories within organizational and economic sociology that center on market categories often equate taken-for-grantedness with increased constraint on category members’ features. In contrast, we develop a novel perspective that considers how market participants’ changing category-related attributions decrease the scrutiny of category offerings, opening up strategic opportunities for firms. We further argue that whether producers should be expected to take advantage of these opportunities depends on the extent to which they are incentivized to do so.

  3. Can Ratings Have Indirect Effects? Evidence from the Organizational Response to Peers’ Environmental Ratings

    Organizations are increasingly subject to rating and ranking by third-party evaluators. Research in this area tends to emphasize the direct effects of ratings systems that occur when ratings give key audiences, such as consumers or investors, more information about a rated firm. Yet, ratings systems may also indirectly influence organizations when the collective presence of more rated peers alters the broader institutional and competitive milieu.

  4. The Price of Protection: A Trajectory Analysis of Civil Remedies for Abuse and Women’s Earnings

    We know men’s violence against women is costly. Yet, we know little about the costs—or benefits—of women’s efforts to end it. This study investigates the temporal dynamics of women’s earnings and petitioning for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) civil restraining order. Women’s earnings might rise or fall at the time of petitioning but quickly return to pre-petitioning levels, a short-term boost or shock; or, petitioning might precipitate a longer-term stall or upward shift in women’s earnings.

  5. Dignity and Dreams: What the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Means to Low-Income Families

    Money has meaning that shapes its uses and social significance, including the monies low-income families draw on for survival: wages, welfare, and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This study, based on in-depth interviews with 115 low-wage EITC recipients, reveals the EITC is an unusual type of government transfer. Recipients of the EITC say they value the debt relief this government benefit brings. However, they also perceive it as a just reward for work, which legitimizes a temporary increase in consumption.

  6. "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.

  7. 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.

  8. The "Work" of Workplace Mental Health: An Institutional Ethnography

    This article employs institutional ethnography (IE) inclusive of its distinctive epistemological stance to elucidate the institutional organization of the everyday work experience of the employee living with self-reported depression. The study was conducted within a large industrial manufacturing plant in Ontario, Canada.

  9. Health Insurance Status and Symptoms of Psychological Distress among Low-income Urban Women

    Although numerous studies have considered the effects of having health insurance on access to health care, physical health, and mortality risk, the association between insurance coverage and mental health has been surprisingly understudied. Building on previous work, we use data collected from a two-year follow-up of low-income women living in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio to estimate a series of latent fixed-effects regression models assessing the association between insurance status and symptoms of psychological distress.

  10. Vintage Wine in New Bottles: Infusing Select Ideas into the Study of Immigration, Immigrants, and Mental Health

    The metaphor vintage wine in new bottles imagines how ideas from immigration studies, social psychology, and cultural sociology add novel insights about how the social context and social relationships of immigrant lives are linked to well-being. This article describes a few patterns in research studies that have addressed whether immigrants have higher or lower rates of mental health problems than their U.S.-born counterparts. It discusses a few past approaches to explain the differences in mental health outcomes.