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Current Research

I explore how social inequalities shaped by family, gender, and work influence health within various and often understudied social contexts.

One stream of my research focuses on not only what people are doing at work or within their families, but how they feel about their labor in these roles--and how this in turn impacts their health and relationships. I also examine how coupled individuals define and conceptualize both their own roles as well as their partner’s roles. I have studied these processes primarily within rural and farming families, as this context involves balancing several types of work and family roles. Other projects focus on farm women specifically, exploring gender identity/self-perception as well as farming identity and employment motivations.

Within other social contexts, my work demonstrates a commitment to understanding the consequences of social inequality for members of marginalized and underserved groups including sexual and gender minorities, racial/ethnic minorities, and important intersections of these identities and family/relationship statuses.

Merging my interests in exploring health and well-being across social contexts, I also explore variations in adults' health science knowledge by religion, gender, and levels of rurality.

I am currently an Early Career Fellow in the Work and Family Researchers Network

An up-to-date list of my publications can be found at: https://www.aswendener.com/publications

Recent Publications

Smyth, Jolene, Alexis Swendener, and Emily Kazyak. 2018. “Women’s Work? The Relationship between Farm Work and Gender Self-Perception.” Rural Sociology 83(3):654-676.

Jochman, Joseph, Alexis Swendener, Julia McQuillan, and Luke Novack. 2018. “Are Biological Science Knowledge, Interests, and Science Identity Framed by Religious and Political Perspectives in the United States?”  The Sociological Quarterly 59(4):584-602. 

Swendener, Alexis and Brandi Woodell. 2017. “Predictors of Family Support and Well-Being Among Black and Latina/o Sexual Minorities.Journal of GLBT Family Studies 13(4):357-379.​

Swendener, Alexis. 2017. “Examining Inequalities in Science Literacy by Religious Affiliation among Adults.”  The Nebraska Educator 4:47-63.

Tyler, Kimberly A., Lisa A. Kort-Butler, and Alexis Swendener. 2014. “The Effect of Victimization, Mental Health, and Protective Factors on Crime and Illicit Drug Use among Homeless Young Adults.Violence and Victims 29(2):348-362.

Courses Taught

 I teach the online Introduction to Sociology course (SOC 101).

Areas of specialization:

  • Family
  • Work
  • Social Inequality
  • Health, Gender