ASA speaks with sociologists Manisha Desai and Zakia Salime at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting on August, 2016, in Seattle, WA. Desai and Salime talk about what it means to “do sociology,” how they use sociology in their work, highlights of their work in the field, the relevance of sociological work to society, and their advice to students interested in entering the field.
A new study suggests that psychotherapists discriminate against prospective patients who are black or working class.
"Although I expected to find racial and class-based disparities, the magnitude of the discrimination working-class therapy seekers faced exceeded my grimmest expectations," said Heather Kugelmass, a doctoral student in sociology at Princeton University and the author of the study.
Despite the profound impact Durkheim’s Suicide has had on the social sciences, several enduring issues limit the utility of his insights. With this study, we offer a new Durkheimian framework for understanding suicide that addresses these problems. We seek to understand how high levels of integration and regulation may shape suicide in modern societies. We draw on an in-depth, qualitative case study (N = 110) of a cohesive community with a serious adolescent suicide problem to demonstrate the utility of our approach.
Mental illness identity deflection refers to rebuffing the idea that one is mentally ill. Predictors of identity deflection and its consequences for well-being were examined for individuals with mental disorders in the National Comorbidity Study–Replication (N = 1,368). Respondents more often deflected a mental illness identity if they had a nonsevere disorder, had low impairment in functioning, had no treatment experience, viewed possible treatment as undesirable, and held multiple social roles, consistent with theory about stigma resistance.
Blacks are especially hard hit by cognitive impairment at older ages compared to whites. Here, we take advantage of the Health and Retirement Study (1998–2010) to assess how this racial divide in cognitive impairment is associated with the racial stratification of life course exposures and resources over a 12-year period among 8,946 non-Hispanic whites and blacks ages 65 and older in 1998. We find that blacks suffer from a higher risk of moderate/severe cognitive impairment at baseline and during the follow-up.
Drawing on the life course perspective, this research addresses the direct and indirect pathways between childhood adversity and midlife psychological distress and drug use across a majority of the life span in an African American cohort (N = 1,242) followed from age 6 to 42 (1966 to 2002). Results from structural equation models highlight the impact of low childhood socioeconomic status (SES), poor maternal mental health, and the role of first-grade maladaptation in launching a trajectory of social maladaptation from age 6 to 42.
The stress process model predicts that current incarceration of a family member should damage the health status of the inmate’s relatives. We address this prediction with data from the National Survey of American Life, focusing exclusively on African American men (n = 1,168). In survey-adjusted generalized linear models, we find that familial incarceration increases psychological distress, but its effect attenuates ostensibly after controlling for other chronic strains.
Identifying casual peer influence is a long-standing challenge to social scientists. Using data from a natural experiment of randomly-assigned college roommates (N = 2,059), which removes the threat of friend selection, we investigate peer effects on aggressive behavior, smoking, and concurrent sexual partnering. The findings suggest that the magnitude and direction of peer influence depend on predisposition, gender, and the nature of the behavior.
Community college faculty who teach sociology are drawn to their positions for reasons that are personal and meaningful to them, including serving a diverse and underserved population and advancing social justice principles. This is despite the oftentimes challenging work conditions faced at community colleges, according to a new study by members of the American Sociological Association (ASA) Task Force on Community College Faculty in Sociology.
Adolescence is a period of tremendous socioemotional change, when youth develop important relationship skills that they carry with them into adulthood. The mental health of individuals during this period might act as resources or impediments that impact their ability to cultivate such skills as well as outcomes in their later romantic relationships.