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  1. Study Finds EITC Bolsters Recipients’ Self-Respect While Helping Them Financially

    America's welfare state is quietly evolving from needs-based to an employment-based safety net that rewards working families and fuels dreams of a better life, indicates a new study led by a Michigan State University (MSU) scholar.

    The major reason: the little-known Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a $65 billion federal tax-relief program for poor, working families. The program has been expanded dramatically during the past 25 years, while cash welfare has been sharply curtailed.

  2. Women More Likely Than Men to Initiate Divorces, But Not Non-Marital Breakups

    Women are more likely than men to initiate divorces, but women and men are just as likely to end non-marital relationships, according to a new study that will be presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

  3. Childhood Disadvantage and Health Problems in Middle and Later Life: Early Imprints on Physical Health?

    Drawing from cumulative inequality theory, we examine the relationship between childhood disadvantage and health problems in adulthood. Using two waves of data from Midlife Development in the United States, we investigate whether childhood disadvantage is associated with adult disadvantage, including fewer social resources, and the effect of lifelong disadvantage on health problems measured at the baseline survey and a 10-year follow-up.

  4. Cancer Diagnosis and Mental Health among Older White Adults: Moderating Role for Social Networks?

    Cancer is a life-changing condition for many American seniors, and a growing body of literature is assessing the mental health implications of living with the disease. This article builds from the well-known buffering hypothesis with insights from recent cancer research to investigate whether social networks moderate the association between cancer and mental health for older men and women.

  5. Defining the State from within: Boundaries, Schemas, and Associational Policymaking

    A growing literature posits the importance of boundaries in structuring social systems. Yet sociologists have not adequately theorized one of the most fraught and consequential sites of boundary-making in contemporary life: the delineation of the official edges of the government—and, consequently, of state from society. This article addresses that gap by theorizing the mechanisms of state boundary formation. In so doing, we extend culturalist theories of the state by providing a more specific model of how the state-society boundary is produced.

  6. Emerging Scripts of Global Speech

    As work regimes become global, social communication increasingly occurs across locations far apart. In the absence of a common national, ethnic, or organizational culture across continents, what makes communication possible among social worlds technologically integrated in real time? Taking India’s global call centers as the focus of analysis, this article attempts to solve the riddle of communication by showing how transnational business practices rely on the transmutation of cultural communication into global communication through the processes of neutralization and mimesis.

  7. Digital Punishment's Tangled Web

    Americans love crime. The criminal justice system is fetishized in popular culture and news media. We watch the news and scour the Internet to assess our own moral compass, take cues from others' digressions, and bear witness to justice and punishment. Historically, we learned about crime through news media and fiction. The Internet has dramatically changed this landscape: for the first time, mug shots and jailhouse rosters are available with a click.

  8. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  9. Don’t Tell Me Who I Can’t Love: A Multimethod Investigation of Social Network and Reactance Effects on Romantic Relationships

    In three studies, we examined the influence of social network reactions on feelings toward a romantic partner. Study 1 was a large survey (N = 858), Study 2 was a vignette design in which social network reactions were manipulated, and Study 3 was a laboratory-based, dating game experiment. We found extensive support for the social network effect, whereby relationship approval from family and friends leads individuals to feel more love, more committed, and more positive about a partner. We also examined whether psychological reactance moderated social network influence.

  10. A Hand Up for Low-Income Families

    by Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Laura Tach, Kathryn Edin, and Jennifer Sykes

    Welfare queens driving Cadillacs. Food stamp kings buying filet mignon. The stereotypes are rife. What if there was a way to support lower-income families without the stigma? There is. And it comes from an unexpected source: the Internal Revenue Service.