Tara D. Warner
My research examines how human development, health, and well-being unfold in, and are affected by, the various contexts in which individuals are embedded across the life course. I have pursued this line of inquiry along three dimensions of adolescent health risk behavior—crime and delinquency, intimate relationships and sexual activity, and substance use—with a particular focus on neighborhood contexts. For example, in recent research I examined the link between neighborhood sex ratios and young adults’ relationships formation and stability, and also explored the effect of adolescents’ neighborhood sexual normative climate on sexual debut, casual sex, and number of sex partners.
Currently I am pursuing an expanded view of context by drawing on macro-sociological life course theory to advance what I term a “neighborhood-centered” approach, identifying a finite set of distinct developmental contexts that reflect the intersecting social structural forces shaping group outcomes. I am using this “neighborhood-centered” approach to understand how neighborhoods anchor trajectories of health and well-being into adulthood, specifically focusing on the effect of neighborhood type on age-based trajectories of health risk behaviors such as violent perpetration, substance use, and sexual activity. Additional research in progress involves investigating interactions between individual and family characteristics and neighborhood type, as well as examining various sources of heterogeneity within and between neighborhood types.
By focusing on expanding our view of context, my research strives to consider the broader, social structural context of neighborhoods across all geographies. This is a critical step toward extending our understanding of the structural dimensions of neighborhood inequality that matter for children, adolescents, and adults.
My research has appeared in journals such as Social Forces, Social Science Research, and theJournal of Family Violence, among others.