Associate Professor of Sociology
Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University
Areas of Specialization:
My primary research interest is focused on understanding how the social experiences of stratification and discrimination get under the skin to influence minority group members’ health over the life course. Because the biology of stress is a key mechanism through which health disparities emerge in the U.S. population, my research agenda seeks to integrate biological markers into traditional sociological data collections and analyses – as a way to better understand how and why social processes matter. I am currently collecting survey and biological marker data from a sample of low-income mothers and their adolescent children to assess 1) race differences in the impact of stressful conditions on maternal and offspring health and 2) whether mother’s and their offspring’s stress levels, both perceived and biological, coincide with each other and 3) the extent to which their stress patterns are related to the presence of illness.
In addition I also examine the degree to which various social factors from infancy to adolescence are related to the onset and progression of health conditions over the life course. This work examines how family circumstances during youth, school composition, and peer relationships may both offset illness or exacerbate the risk of poor health outcomes thus perpetuating both socioeconomic and racial disparities in health over the life course. My research has appeared in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Health and Place, Society and Mental Health, Social Science Research, Social Forces, Journal of African American Studies, Journal of Family Issues, and other venues.