American Sociological Association

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  1. The Contingent Value of Embeddedness: Self-affirming Social Environments, Network Density, and Well-being

    Social capital theorists claim that belonging to a densely knit social network creates a shared identity, mutually beneficial exchange, trust, and a sense of belonging in that group. Taken together with the empirical research on the importance of social support and social integration for individuals’ well-being, there is reason to expect that the density of one’s personal social network should be positively related to well-being.

  2. 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.

  3. Where Does Debt Fit in the Stress Process Model?

    This paper contrasts two money-related stressors—debt and economic hardship—and clarifies where debt fits into the stress process model. Debt may be a direct or indirect stressor, as something mediated by psychosocial resources, and may be a potential buffer, interacting with economic hardship. The analyses use data from a two-wave panel study of 1,463 adults. One way debt is distinct from economic hardship is that debt is more common among economically advantaged groups.

  4. The Link between Functional Limitations and Depressive Symptoms: The Explanatory Role of Self-conceptions

    Having more physical limitations predicts greater depressive symptoms. However, relatively few studies examine self-conceptions as potential explanations for this association. Using ordinary least squares regression on panel data collected in Miami-Dade County, Florida (2001 and 2004, N = 1,362), we examine the effect of functional limitations on five dimensions of the self: self-esteem, mastery, mattering, introspection, and emotional reliance.

  5. The Effect of Labeling and Numbering of Response Scales on the Likelihood of Response Bias

    Extreme response style (ERS) and acquiescence response style (ARS) are among the most encountered problems in attitudinal research. The authors investigate whether the response bias caused by these response styles varies with following three aspects of question format: full versus end labeling, numbering answer categories, and bipolar versus agreement response scales. A questionnaire was distributed to a random sample of 5,351 respondents from the Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences household panel, of which a subsample was assigned to one of five conditions.

  6. Individualism as a Discursive Strategy of Action: Autonomy, Agency, and Reflexivity among Religious Americans

    This paper reconceptualizes "individualism" as a discursive strategy of action through which everyday Americans attempt to manage the cultural dilemma of engaging in externally imposed social obligations within a broader individualistic culture.

  7. Good, Bad, and Extraordinary Mothers: Infant Feeding and Mothering in African American Mothers' Breastfeeding Narratives

    Dominant discourses promote breastfeeding as essential to "good mothering," shown in research to set a difficult standard that many white mothers internalize. Little is known about African American mothers’ perceptions of the connection between breastfeeding and mothering ideals. We analyzed perceptions of the relationship between breastfeeding and formula feeding and mothering through in-depth semistructured interviews with 22 predominantly middle-class African American mothers in the southeastern United States who breastfeed.

  8. Studying Race and Religion: A Critical Assessment

    The authors provide an analytical review of the past 115 years of scholarship on race, ethnicity, and religion. Too often work in the study of race and ethnicity has not taken the influence of religion seriously enough, with the consequence being an incomplete understanding of racialization, racial and ethnic identity, and racial inequality. The authors examine key works in the field; conduct an assessment of articles published on race, ethnicity, and religion in six journals over a five-year period; and outline where scholarship should head in future years.

  9. Student Accountability in Team-based Learning Classes

    Team-based learning (TBL) is a form of small-group learning that assumes stable teams promote accountability. Teamwork promotes communication among members; application exercises promote active learning. Students must prepare for each class; failure to do so harms their team’s performance. Therefore, TBL promotes accountability. As part of the course grade, students assess the performance of their teammates. The evaluation forces students to rank their teammates and to provide rationale for the highest and lowest rankings. These evaluations provide rich data on small-group dynamics.

  10. Should We Talk about the Pain? Personalizing Sociology in the Medical Sociology Classroom

    This article discusses the potential of personalizing sociology curriculum, specifically in Medical Sociology courses, to increase student engagement and sociological awareness. Based on our experiences offering separate Medical Sociology courses at a large public research university and a small private teaching university, respectively, we outline emotional techniques we have each employed—separately and together—in our classes to facilitate student engagement, critical awareness, and medical coming out processes in our classrooms.