American Sociological Association

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  1. Variation in the Protective Effect of Higher Education against Depression

    Numerous studies document that higher education is associated with a reduced likelihood of depression. The protective effects of higher education, however, are known to vary across population subgroups. This study tests competing theories for who is likely to obtain a greater protective benefit from a college degree against depression through an analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and recently developed methods for analyzing heterogeneous treatment effects involving the use of propensity scores.

  2. Ability Groupings Effects on Grades and the Attainment of Higher Education: A Natural Experiment

    To test the effect of ability grouping on grades and the attainment of higher education, this study examines a naturally occurring experiment—an admission reform that dramatically increased ability sorting between schools in the municipality of Stockholm. Following six cohorts of students (N = 79,020) from the age of 16 to 26, I find a mean effect close to zero and small positive and negative differentiating effects on grades.

  3. (No) Harm in Asking: Class, Acquired Cultural Capital, and Academic Engagement at an Elite University

    How do undergraduates engage authority figures in college? Existing explanations predict class-based engagement strategies. Using in-depth interviews with 89 undergraduates at an elite university, I show how undergraduates with disparate precollege experiences differ in their orientations toward and strategies for engaging authority figures in college. Middle-class undergraduates report being at ease in interacting with authority figures and are proactive in doing so. Lower-income undergraduates, however, are split.

  4. ''Fake It 'til You Make It'': Why Community College Students' Aspirations ''Hold Steady''

    Sociologists of education have explored the relationship between students’ postsecondary aspirations and their propensity to get "cooled out" in community colleges. However, researchers have directed little attention to students whose aspirations remain stable over long periods of time or to the different roles that college degree goals play in the lives of disadvantaged students. Using four waves of longitudinal interviews, I examine the reasons why low-income women hold steady to their aspirations for college degrees over a three-and-a-half-year period.

  5. The Social Structure of Criminalized and Medicalized School Discipline

    In this article, the author examines how school- and district-level racial/ethnic and socioeconomic compositions influence schools’ use of different types of criminalized and medicalized school discipline. Using a large data set containing information on over 60,000 schools in over 6,000 districts, the authors uses multilevel modeling and a group-mean modeling strategy to answer several important questions about school discipline. First, how do school- and district-level racial and ethnic compositions influence criminalized school discipline and medicalization?

  6. Secondary Education Systems and the General Skills of Less- and Intermediate-educated Adults: A Comparison of 18 Countries

    We investigate the impact of external differentiation and vocational orientation of (lower and upper) secondary education on country variation in the mean numeracy skills of, and skills gaps between, adults with low and intermediate formal qualifications. We use data on 30- to 44-year-olds in 18 countries from the 2011–12 round of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. We find that higher levels of external differentiation (tracking) amplify skills gaps between less- and intermediate-educated adults.

  7. Trusting Each Other: Student-Counselor Relationships in Diverse High Schools

    Many minority, first-generation, and low-income students aspire to college; however, the college application process can present a significant obstacle. These students cannot always rely on their parents for college information and must instead turn to their high schools, where counselors are in a key position.

  8. Caring for Them Like Family: How Structure and Culture Simultaneously Influence Contemporary African American Middle- and Upper-Middle-Class Mothers Kin and Community Child Care Choices

    Scholars examining kin and community care have often sought to identify the relative importance of structural and cultural factors on the use and availability of these networks, but research has yielded unclear results in the case of child care. Cultural theories focus on how values, beliefs, and practices lead to differences in kin and community care; structural theories focus on how educational attainment, income, inherited power or inequality, and family structure lead to such differences.

  9. A Rebuttal to Jack Niemonen's "Whither the White Working Class?"

    Prof. Niemonen claims that the concept of white privilege is "anti-sociological" and "mask[s] complex race–class interactions." He highlights the importance of including social class in discussions of white privilege but focuses exclusively on the white working class, neglecting how race and social class also intersect for people of color. Further, while different social identities mediate how whites experience race privilege, race remains a key factor in shaping life chances and opportunities.

  10. Evaluating Distributional Differences in Income Inequality

    Income and wage inequality between gender and other social groups is commonly evaluated by the difference in average income or the decomposition of the total amount of inequality into between-group and within-group components using an inequality measure such as the Theil index. Either approach ignores the dispersional difference between social groups, often manifested in glass-ceiling and glass-floor effects. The author introduces a refined Theil decomposition that offers two ways of capturing such between-group distributional differences.