American Sociological Association

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  1. What Is Driving the Drug Overdose Epidemic in the United States?

    The demand-side perspective argues that the drug overdose epidemic is a consequence of changes in the economy that leave behind working-class people who lack a college education. In contrast, the supply-side perspective maintains that the epidemic is primarily due to changes in the licit and illicit drug environment, whereas a third, distinct perspective argues that income inequality is likely a key driver of the epidemic. To evaluate these competing perspectives, we use a two-level random intercept model and U.S. state-level data from 2006 to 2017.

  2. Racial Disparities in Emotional Well-Being during Pregnancy

    In light of persistent racial disparities in maternal and child health, it is important to understand the dynamics shaping outcomes for black mothers. We examine racial patterns in women’s emotional well-being regarding pregnancy (i.e., women’s reported happiness to be pregnant), which has been shown to have health consequences. Using the 2002–2017 National Survey of Family Growth (N = 6,163 pregnancies ending in birth), we find that black women are less happy about their pregnancies than white women both for intended and mistimed pregnancies.

  3. Transcending the Profession: Psychiatric Patients’ Experiences of Trust in Clinicians

    Classical medical sociological theory argues patients trust doctors in part because they are professionals. Yet in the past half-century, medicine has seen a crisis of trust as well as fundamental changes to the nature of professionalism. To probe the relationship between professionalism and trust today, we analyzed interviews with 50 psychiatric patients receiving care in diverse clinical settings. We found patients experience trust when they perceive clinicians transcending the formal bounds of professionalism.

  4. Scientific Hegemony and the Field of Autism

    Autism is one of the twenty-first century’s most contested illnesses. Early controversies around vaccine harm have irrevocably structured the field of autism science. Despite incredible investment in genetic research on autism over the past 30 years, scientists have failed to identify a set of “genes for” autism, and genomic causality has become more complex.
  5. Medical Authority under Siege: How Clinicians Transform Patient Resistance into Acceptance

    Over the past decades, professional medical authority has been transformed due to internal and external pressures, including weakened institutional support and patient-centered care. Today’s patients are more likely to resist treatment recommendations. We examine how patient resistance to treatment recommendations indexes the strength of contemporary professional authority. Using conversation analytic methods, we analyze 39 video recordings of patient-clinician encounters involving pediatric epilepsy patients in which parents resist recommended treatments.
  6. Aggression, Conflict, and the Formation of Intimidating Group Reputation

    From inmates in prison gangs to soldiers in elite units, the intimidating reputation of groups often precedes its members. While individual reputation is known to affect people’s aggressiveness, whether one’s group reputation can similarly influence behavior in conflict situations is yet to be established. Using an economic game experiment, we isolate the effect of group reputation on aggression and conflict from that of individual reputation.
  7. Comparing Internet Experiences and Prosociality in Amazon Mechanical Turk and Population-Based Survey Samples

    Given the high cost of traditional survey administration (postal mail, phone) and the limits of convenience samples such as university students, online samples offer a much welcomed alternative. Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT) has been especially popular among academics for conducting surveys and experiments. Prior research has shown that AMT samples are not representative of the general population along some dimensions, but evidence suggests that these differences may not undermine the validity of AMT research.
  8. Pharmaceutical Side Effects and Mental Health Paradoxes among Racial-Ethnic Minorities

    Sociologists have long struggled to explain the minority mental health paradox: that racial-ethnic minorities often report better mental health than non-Hispanic whites despite social environments that seem less conducive to well-being. Using data from the 2008–2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), this study provides a partial explanation for the paradox rooted in a very different disparity. Evidence from MEPS indicates that non-Hispanic whites consume more pharmaceuticals than racial-ethnic minorities for a wide variety of medical conditions.
  9. If Only It Were That Complex

    Research on the dynamics of social change is often framed by what Damon Centola refers to in his new book How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions as “the convenience of classical epidemiological tropes” (p. 173) in which “contagions” spread from infected to susceptible individuals through interaction. Social networks became alluring to use in conjunction with this epidemiological frame because the two together evoke the determinism of electrical wiring, with charges traveling paths (ties) structured by the location of switches (nodes) in the line.
  10. Visualizing Age, Period, and Cohort Patterns of Substance Use in the U.S. Opioid Crisis

    Descriptions of the contemporary U.S. opioid crisis emphasize several “waves” of overdose deaths. However, a focus on trends in overdose deaths may obscure important sociological dynamics. The authors provide heatmap visualizations of estimated annual rates of past-year substance use, rather than overdose deaths, for prescription pain relievers and heroin. These visualizations are based on weighted analyses of self-reports, cross-classified by age and period, collected as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2017. Whereas descriptions of the U.S.