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  1. Peer Influence on Aggressive Behavior, Smoking, and Sexual Behavior: A Study of Randomly-assigned College Roommates

    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.

  2. Adolescent Mental Health and Dating in Young Adulthood

    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.

  3. Study Reveals Incarceration’s Hidden Wounds for African American Men

    There’s a stark and troubling way that incarceration diminishes the ability of a former inmate to empathize with a loved one behind bars, but existing sociological theories fail to capture it, Vanderbilt University sociologists have found.

  4. Study Finds Couples’ Division of Paid and Unpaid Labor Linked to Risk of Divorce

    A new study suggests that financial factors, including couples’ overall resources and wives’ ability to support themselves in the event of a divorce, are not predictive of whether marriages last. Rather, it is couples’ division of labor — paid and unpaid — that is associated with the risk of divorce.     

  5. "A Quintessentially American Thing?": The Unexpected Link between Individualistic Values and the Sense of Personal Control

    A popular image of Americans is that they are among the most individualistic people on the planet. This long-standing myth has informed theorizing about the sense of control and its relevance for stress and mental health. Prior claims have suggested that differences based on individualistic and collectivistic values contribute to group differences in the sense of control. We analyze data from the World Values Survey to test this hypothesis, focusing on a comparison of Americans and individuals in East Asian societies.

  6. Depressive Symptoms and Electronic Messaging with Health Care Providers

    Recent health policies encourage electronic messaging with providers to potentially improve health care. It is unclear whether the same potential exists for individuals with mental health symptoms. Whereas these individuals appear interested in such technologies, they may also be concerned about privacy and security risks. To clarify this ambiguity, we conceptualize electronic messaging as an impression management tool for individuals with depressive symptoms, who risk devaluation from others.

  7. The "Work" of Workplace Mental Health: An Institutional Ethnography

    This article employs institutional ethnography (IE) inclusive of its distinctive epistemological stance to elucidate the institutional organization of the everyday work experience of the employee living with self-reported depression. The study was conducted within a large industrial manufacturing plant in Ontario, Canada.

  8. Health Insurance Status and Symptoms of Psychological Distress among Low-income Urban Women

    Although numerous studies have considered the effects of having health insurance on access to health care, physical health, and mortality risk, the association between insurance coverage and mental health has been surprisingly understudied. Building on previous work, we use data collected from a two-year follow-up of low-income women living in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio to estimate a series of latent fixed-effects regression models assessing the association between insurance status and symptoms of psychological distress.

  9. Vintage Wine in New Bottles: Infusing Select Ideas into the Study of Immigration, Immigrants, and Mental Health

    The metaphor vintage wine in new bottles imagines how ideas from immigration studies, social psychology, and cultural sociology add novel insights about how the social context and social relationships of immigrant lives are linked to well-being. This article describes a few patterns in research studies that have addressed whether immigrants have higher or lower rates of mental health problems than their U.S.-born counterparts. It discusses a few past approaches to explain the differences in mental health outcomes.

  10. Physical Illness in Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Marriages: Gendered Dyadic Experiences

    The inclusion of same-sex married couples can illuminate and challenge assumptions about gender that are routinely taken for granted in studies of physical illness. We analyze gender dynamics in gay, lesbian, and heterosexual marriages with in-depth interview data from 90 spouses (45 couples) to consider how spouses co-construct illness experiences in ways that shape relationship dynamics.