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  1. Ecometrics in the Age of Big Data: Measuring and Assessing "Broken Windows" Using Large-scale Administrative Records

    The collection of large-scale administrative records in electronic form by many cities provides a new opportunity for the measurement and longitudinal tracking of neighborhood characteristics, but one that will require novel methodologies that convert such data into research-relevant measures. The authors illustrate these challenges by developing measures of "broken windows" from Boston’s constituent relationship management (CRM) system (aka 311 hotline).

  2. Black Deaths Matter: Race, Relationship Loss, and Effects on Survivors

    Close relationships are a resource for mental and physical health that, like other social resources, is unequally distributed in the population. This article focuses on racial disparities in the loss of relationships across the life course. Racial disparities in life expectancy in the United States mean that black Americans experience the deaths of more friends and family members than do white Americans from childhood through later life.
  3. Couple-level Minority Stress: An Examination of Same-sex Couples’ Unique Experiences

    Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Volume 58, Issue 4, Page 455-472, December 2017.
  4. Cultural Guides, Cultural Critics: Distrust of Doctors and Social Support during Mental Health Treatment

    Research on relationships and health often interprets culture as the passively transmitted “content” of social ties, an approach that overlooks the influence of cultural resources on relationships themselves. I propose that mental health patients seek social support partly based on cultural resources held by their network members, including members’ medical knowledge and beliefs. I test hypotheses using data from the Indianapolis Network Mental Health Study, an egocentric network survey of new mental health patients (N = 152) and their personal relationships (N = 1,868).
  5. Depression, Work and Family Roles, and the Gendered Life Course

    Despite the importance of employment for shaping mental health over the life course, little is known about how the mental health benefits of employment change as individuals age through their prime employment and child-rearing years. This study examines the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 Cohort (N = 8,931), following respondents from their late 20s to mid-50s. Results suggest that among women, the aging of children is especially salient for shaping the mental health consequences of employment.
  6. I’ve Got My Family and My Faith: Black Women and the Suicide Paradox

    Although existing suicide literature proposes black women’s strong religious ties and social networks protect them against suicide, few studies offer black women’s perceptions. The present study examines the factors black women perceive of as protective against suicide by conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with 33 U.S.-born black women. Results support current suicide literature on the role of social networks and religion in black women’s lives. The results also identify two important factors researchers continue to overlook.
  7. Race-Ethnicity, Poverty, Urban Stressors, and Telomere Length in a Detroit Community-based Sample

    Residents of distressed urban areas suffer early aging-related disease and excess mortality. Using a community-based participatory research approach in a collaboration between social researchers and cellular biologists, we collected a unique data set of 239 black, white, or Mexican adults from a stratified, multistage probability sample of three Detroit neighborhoods. We drew venous blood and measured telomere length (TL), an indicator of stress-mediated biological aging, linking respondents’ TL to their community survey responses.

  8. Sharing the Burden of the Transition to Adulthood: African American Young Adults’ Transition Challenges and Their Mothers’ Health Risk

    For many African American youth, the joint influences of economic and racial marginalization render the transition to stable adult roles challenging. We have gained much insight into how these challenges affect future life chances, yet we lack an understanding of what these challenges mean in the context of linked lives. Drawing on a life course framework, this study examines how young African Americans’ experiences across a variety of salient domains during the transition to adulthood affect their mothers’ health.
  9. Social Context, Biology, and the Definition of Disorder

    In recent years, medical sociologists have increasingly paid attention to a variety of interactions between social and biological factors. These include how social stressors impact the functioning of physiological systems, how sociocultural contexts trigger genetic propensities or mitigate genetic defects, and how brains are attuned to social, cultural, and interactional factors. This paper focuses on how both sociocultural and biological forces influence what conditions are contextually appropriate responses or disorders.