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  1. Toward a Cultural-Structural Theory of Suicide: Examining Excessive Regulation and Its Discontents

    Despite its enduring insights, Durkheim’s theory of suicide fails to account for a significant set of cases because of its overreliance on structural forces to the detriment of other possible factors. In this paper, we develop a new theoretical framework for thinking about the role of culture in vulnerability to suicide. We argue that by focusing on the cultural dynamics of excessive regulation, particularly at the meso level, a more robust sociological model for suicide could be offered that supplements structure-heavy Durkheimian theory.
  2. Anticipatory Minority Stressors among Same-sex Couples: A Relationship Timeline Approach

    The authors build on previous stress theories by drawing attention to the concept of anticipatory couple-level minority stressors (i.e., stressors expected to occur in the future that emanate from the stigmatization of certain relationship forms). A focus on anticipatory couple-level minority stressors brings with it the potential for important insight into vulnerabilities and resiliencies of people in same-sex relationships, the focus of this study. The authors use relationship timelines to examine stressors among a diverse sample of same-sex couples (n = 120).
  3. The Meaning and Predictive Value of Self-rated Mental Health among Persons with a Mental Health Problem

    Self-rated health is a valid measure of health that predicts quality of life, morbidity, and mortality. Its predictive value reflects a conceptualization of health that goes beyond a traditional medical model. However, less is known about self-rated mental health (SRMH). Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (N = 2,547), we examine how rating your mental health as good—despite meeting criteria for a mental health problem—predicts outcomes. We found that 62% of people with a mental health problem rated their mental health positively.
  4. Therapeutic Social Control of People with Serious Mental Illness: An Empirical Verification and Extension of Theory

    Mental health services and psychiatric professional values have shifted in the past several decades toward a model of client autonomy and informed consent, at least in principle. However, it is unclear how much has changed in practice, particularly in cases where client behavior poses ethical challenges for clinicians. Drawing on the case of clients’ sexual behavior and contraception use, we examine whether sociological theories of “soft” coercion remain relevant (e.g., therapeutic social control; Horwitz 1982) in contemporary mental health treatment settings.
  5. After the Rainy Day: How Private Resources Shape Personal Trajectories following Job Loss and Amplify Racial Inequality

    Using data from in-depth interviews with a diverse group of people who lost jobs between 2007 and 2011, my study identifies the important role of private resource banks—reserves of personal resources such as assets and social connections amassed during more favorable times—following job loss. Without these resources, job losers are unable to move past the struggle to survive and onto recovery (through reemployment, comfortable labor market exit, or buffered labor market failure).
  6. “If You Were Like Me, You Would Consider It Too”: Suicide, Older Men, and Masculinity

    Rates of suicide are far higher for older men than for any other age or gender group. However, we know relatively little about how depressed older men think about suicide. This study addresses this gap by exploring how Latino and white non-Hispanic elderly men discuss why they would or would not contemplate suicide. Men, aged 60 and older, were screened and assessed using standard instruments for clinical depression. Those meeting criteria were invited to participate in a 1.5 to 2.5-hour in-depth interview, in either English or Spanish.
  7. Histories of Perceived Job Insecurity and Psychological Distress among Older U.S. Adults

    Changes in the labor market and employment contracts over the past several decades and a recent global recession have increased the salience of perceived job insecurity as a risk factor for poor mental health. We use 25 years of prospective data from the Americans’ Changing Lives study to examine long-term histories of perceived job insecurity and their link to psychological distress. We build on the prior literature by using a much longer window of exposure and accounting for involuntary job losses over the lengthy observation period.
  8. The Impact of Housing Assistance on the Mental Health of Children in the United States

    Housing assistance policies may lead to improved mental health for children and adolescents by improving housing quality, stability, and affordability. We use a unique data linkage of the National Health Interview Survey and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administrative data to examine the impact of housing assistance on parent-reported mental health outcomes for children ages 2 to 17 (N = 1,967).
  9. Featured Essay: The Contributions of Charles Tilly to the Social Sciences

    Evaluating Charles Tilly’s contributions to the social sciences is not an easy task: “Chuck Tilly was a master of sociological thinking and methodology,” wrote two of his former students when he passed away ten years ago; “But he was sufficiently concerned about getting to the heart and dynamics of questions and topics that he never permitted the blinkers of disciplinary orthodoxy to stand in his way” (Michelson and Wellman 2008).
  10. From the Bookshelf of a Sociologist of Diagnosis: A Review Essay

    The present essay will take readers through the bookshelf of this sociologist of diagnosis. It will demonstrate the wide-reaching topics that I consider relevant to the sociologist who considers diagnosis as a social object and also as a point of convergence where doctor and lay person encounter one another, where authority is exercised, health care is organized, political priorities are established, and conflict is enacted.