American Sociological Association



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  1. Life Course Pathways to Racial Disparities in Cognitive Impairment among Older Americans

    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.

  2. Pathways from Early Childhood Adversity to Later Adult Drug Use and Psychological Distress: A Prospective Study of a Cohort of African Americans

    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.

  3. Imprisoned by Empathy: Familial Incarceration and Psychological Distress among African American Men in the National Survey of American Life

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. What Skills Can Buy: Transmission of Advantage through Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills

    Parental income and wealth contribute to children’s success but are at least partly endogenous to parents’ cognitive and noncognitive skills. We estimate the degree to which mothers’ skills measured in early adulthood confound the relationship between their economic resources and their children’s postsecondary education outcomes.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Category Taken-for-Grantedness as a Strategic Opportunity: The Case of Light Cigarettes, 1964 to 1993

    Theories within organizational and economic sociology that center on market categories often equate taken-for-grantedness with increased constraint on category members’ features. In contrast, we develop a novel perspective that considers how market participants’ changing category-related attributions decrease the scrutiny of category offerings, opening up strategic opportunities for firms. We further argue that whether producers should be expected to take advantage of these opportunities depends on the extent to which they are incentivized to do so.

  9. Can Ratings Have Indirect Effects? Evidence from the Organizational Response to Peers’ Environmental Ratings

    Organizations are increasingly subject to rating and ranking by third-party evaluators. Research in this area tends to emphasize the direct effects of ratings systems that occur when ratings give key audiences, such as consumers or investors, more information about a rated firm. Yet, ratings systems may also indirectly influence organizations when the collective presence of more rated peers alters the broader institutional and competitive milieu.

  10. The Price of Protection: A Trajectory Analysis of Civil Remedies for Abuse and Women’s Earnings

    We know men’s violence against women is costly. Yet, we know little about the costs—or benefits—of women’s efforts to end it. This study investigates the temporal dynamics of women’s earnings and petitioning for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) civil restraining order. Women’s earnings might rise or fall at the time of petitioning but quickly return to pre-petitioning levels, a short-term boost or shock; or, petitioning might precipitate a longer-term stall or upward shift in women’s earnings.