Featured Articles Spring 2014
Are Latina Women Ambivalent About Pregnancies They Are Trying to Prevent? Evidence from the Border Contraceptive Access Study
Abigail R.A. Aiken and Joseph E. Potter
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 45(4):196-203, 2013
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Abstract: Context: Women's retrospective reports of their feelings about a pregnancy and of its intendedness are often inconsistent, particularly among Latinas. Interpretation of this incongruence as ambivalence overlooks the possibility that happiness about the prospect of pregnancy and desire to prevent pregnancy need not be mutually exclusive. Methods: Data from the 2006-2008 Border Contraceptive Access Study-a prospective study of 956 Latina oral contraceptive users aged 18-44 in El Paso, Texas-were used to compare women's planned pill use and childbearing intentions with their feelings about a possible pregnancy. Associations between women's feelings and their perceptions of their partner's feelings were examined using logistic regression. Prospective and retrospective intentions and feelings were compared among women who became pregnant during the study. Results: Forty-one percent of women who planned to use the pill for at least another year and 34% of those who wanted no more children said they would feel very or somewhat happy about becoming pregnant in the next three months. Perceiving that a male partner would feel very upset about a pregnancy was negatively associated with happiness about the pregnancy among both women who planned to continue pill use and those who wanted no more children (coefficients, -4.4 and -3.9, respectively). Of the 36 women who became pregnant during the study, 24 reported feeling very happy about the pregnancy in retrospect, while only 14 had prospectively reported feeling happy about a possible pregnancy. Conclusion: Intentions and happiness appear to be distinct concepts for this sample of Latina women.
Multigenerational Households and the School Readiness of Children Born to Unmarried Mothers
Jennifer March Augustine and R. Kelly Raley
Journal of Family Issues 34(4):431-459, 2013
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Abstract: Following the ongoing increase in nonmarital fertility, policy makers have looked for ways to limit the disadvantages faced by children of unmarried mothers. Recent initiatives included marriage promotion and welfare-to-work programs. Yet policy might also consider the promotion of three generational households. We know little about whether multigenerational households benefit children of unwed mothers, although they are mandated for unmarried teen mothers applying for welfare benefits. Multigenerational households are also becoming increasingly common. Thus, using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (N = 217), this study examines whether grandparent-headed coresidential households benefit preschool-aged children’s school readiness, employing propensity score techniques to account for selection into these households. Findings reveal living with a grandparent is not associated with child outcomes for families that select into such arrangements but is positively associated with reading scores and behavior problems for families with a low propensity to coreside. The implications of these findings for policy are discussed.
Violence and the State of the Urban Margins
Javier Auyero, Agustin Burbano de Lara and Maria Fernanda Berti
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 43:94-116, 2014
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Abstract: Based on thirty months of ethnographic fieldwork in a violence-ridden, low-income district located in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, this article examines the state’s presence at the urban margins and its relationships to widespread depacification of poor people’s daily life. Contrary to descriptions of destitute urban areas in the Americas as either governance voids deserted by the state or militarized spaces firmly controlled by the state’s iron fist, this article argues that law enforcement in Buenos Aires’s high-poverty zones is intermittent, selective, and contradictory. By putting the state’s fractured presence at the urban margins under the ethnographic microscope, the article reveals its key role in the perpetuation of the violence it is presumed to prevent.
Bridging Worlds in the Social Studies Classroom: High School Teachers’ Practices and Latino Immigrant Youths’ Civic and Political Development
Rebecca Callahan and Kathryn Obenchain
Sociological Studies of Children and Youth 16:97-123, 2013
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Abstract: Purpose: Prior research suggests that high school experiences shape young adult political behaviors, particularly among immigrant youth. The U.S. social studies classroom, focused on democratic citizenship education, proves an interesting socializing institution. Methods: Through qualitative inquiry, we interviewed Latino immigrant young adults and their former teachers regarding their high school social studies experiences and evolving political and civic engagement. Findings: Armed with experience bridging the worlds of the school and home, immigrant students respond and relate to the content and pedagogy of the social studies classroom in such a way that they (1) participate in civic discourse and (2) nurture a disposition toward leadership through teachers’ civic expectations of them and instructional emphasis on critical thinking skills. Social implications: The ability to engage in civic discourse and a disposition toward leadership are both necessary to foster America's democratic ideals, and to take on leadership roles during adulthood. With focused effort on the unique perspective of immigrant youth, high school social studies teachers can nurture in these students the ability to become leaders in young adulthood, broadening the potential leadership pool. Originality: This study highlights how the social studies curriculum may be particularly salient to Latino immigrant youth as they transition from adolescence to young adulthood and develop their political and civic identities.
Help With “Strings Attached”: Offspring Perceptions That Middle-Aged Parents Offer Conflicted Support
Karen Fingerman, Yen-Pi Cheng, Kelly E. Cichy, Kira Birditt and Steven Zarit
Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences 68(6):902-911, 2013
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Abstract: Objectives: Middle-aged adults often provide beneficial support to grown children. Yet, in some relationships, grown children may feel beholden or intruded upon when they receive parental help. The purpose of this study was to examine such conflicted support in relationships between middle-aged parents and young adults. Methods: Middle-aged parents (aged 40–60, n = 399) and their grown children (n = 592) participated. Parents rated perceptions of providing support and relationship quality with each child. Grown children indicated whether their mothers and fathers provided conflicted support and rated their perceptions of parental support, relationship quality, and other factors. Results: Multilevel models revealed that offspring’s perceptions of conflicted support were associated with (a) parents’ evaluations about providing support (e.g., greater stress and beliefs that grown children should be autonomous), (b) poorer quality relationships, and (c) offspring having more problems. Discussion: Findings suggest that perceptions of conflicted support are embedded in a larger constellation of relationship problems and underlying distress for parents and children. These patterns may reflect lifelong difficulties in the tie or that arise in adulthood. Researchers might seek to understand how dyads experiencing such conflicted support differ from more normative relationships characterized by warmth and well-received support.
Changing Views on Intergenerational Ties
Karen Fingerman, Jori Sechrist, and Kira Birditt
Gerontology 59:64-70, 2013
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Abstract: Ties to parents or grown children may be the most important social relationships in an adult's life. Research examining intergenerational relationships has focused on three broader topics: (a) the strength of emotional bonds, (b) exchanges of social support, and (c) the effects of the relationship on individual well-being. This review considers some of the major theoretical developments in the field including solidarity and intergenerational ambivalence theory as well as the newly developed multidimensional model of support. We also consider weaknesses in the research and theories to date and provide suggestions for future research.
The Embeddedness of Adolescent Friendship Nominations: The Formation of Social Capital in Emergent Network Structures
Kenneth A. Frank, Chandra Muller and Anna S. Mueller
American Journal of Sociology 119(1):216-253, 2013
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Abstract: Although research on social embeddedness and social capital confirms the value of friendship networks, little has been written about how social relations form and are structured by social institutions. Using data from the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement study and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the authors show that the odds of a new friendship nomination were 1.77 times greater within clusters of high school students taking courses together than between them. The estimated effect cannot be attributed to exposure to peers in similar grade levels, indirect friendship links, or pair-level course overlap, and the finding is robust to alternative model specifications. The authors also show how tendencies associated with status hierarchy inhering in triadic friendship nominations are neutralized within the clusters. These results have implications for the production and distribution of social capital within social systems such as schools, giving the clusters social salience as “local positions.”
Red States, Blue States and Divorce: Understanding the Impact of Conservative Protestantism on Regional Variation in Divorce Rates
Jennifer Glass and Philip Levchak
American Journal of Sociology 119(4):1-44, 2014
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Abstract: Why do states with larger proportions of religious conservatives have higher divorce rates than states with lower proportions of religious conservatives? This project examines whether earlier transitions to marriage and parenthood among conservative Protestants ðknown risk factors for divorceÞ contribute to this paradox while attending to other plausible explanations. County-level demographic information from all 50 states is combined from a variety of public data sources and merged to individual records from the National Surveys of Family Growth to estimate both aggregated county and multilevel individual models of divorce. Results show that individual religious conservatism is positively related to individual divorce risk, solely through the earlier transitions to adulthood and lower incomes of conservative Protestants. However, the proportion of conservative Protestants in a county is also independently and positively associated with both the divorce rate in that county and an individual’s likelihood of divorcing. The earlier family formation and lower levels of educational attainment and income in counties with a higher proportion of conservative Protestants can explain a substantial portion of this association. Little support is found for alternative explanations of the association between religious conservatism and divorce rates, including the relative popularity of marriage versus cohabitation across counties.
The Political Socialization of Adolescent Children and Immigrants
Melissa Humphries, Chandra Muller, and Kathryn Schiller
Social Science Quarterly 94(5):1261-1282, 2013
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Abstract: Objectives: This study aims to evaluate the adolescent political socialization processes that predict political participation in young adulthood, and whether these processes are different for children of immigrants compared to white third-plus-generation adolescents. We focus on socialization agents based in the family, community, and school. Methods: We use a nationally representative longitudinal survey of adolescents to evaluate the predictors of three measures of political participation—voter registration, voting, and political party identification—and whether the process leading to political participation varies by immigrant status and race/ethnic group. Results: We find that the parental education level of adolescents is not as predictive for many minority children of immigrants compared to white children of native-born parents for registration. Additionally, the academic rigor of the courses taken in high school has a greater positive estimated effect on the likelihood of registration and party identification for Latino children of immigrants compared to white third-plus-generation young adults. Conclusions: The process of general integration into U.S. society for adolescent children of immigrants may lead to differing pathways to political participation in young adulthood, with certain aspects of their schooling experience having particular importance in developing political participation behaviors.
Financialization and Income Inequality, 1970-2008
Ken-Hou Lin and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey
American Journal of Sociology 118(5):1284-1329, 2013
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Abstract: This article presents a historical overview of the late 20th-century advent of financialization, that is, the unprecedented growth of the financial sector. We summarize its origins and consequences, particularly greater income inequality. An econometric model quantifies the relationship. We conclude that along with higher unemployment and an eroding minimum wage, the growth of the U.S. financial sector has contributed to the exacerbation of inequality in recent decades.
Depression and the Sense of Control: Aging Vectors, Trajectories and Trends
Journal of Health and Social Behavior 54(4):407-425, 2013
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Abstract: Adulthood trajectories of outcomes such as depression and the sense of control measure aspects of the human condition that Americans may view as objects of change. Social science should provide information on that progress, or its absence. Whether these trajectories change their shape, and how and why if they do, is important theoretically too. A range of birth cohorts coexist in time, place, and social relationship. Each cohort, as it goes through adulthood, follows in aggregate a path left by older ones, reshaping that path as it goes. The shapes of the trajectories, and the trends reshaping them, represent two inseparable aspects of the same phenomenon. This report describes methods for mapping aging trajectories and intercohort trends, using linear latent-growth models of relatively brief follow-up data (six years in the examples). The author reviews shared research ideals that led to the model: put theory into modeling, go where the data lead, use what you have, go beyond where you have been, and risk being precisely wrong.
The Gender Gap in High School Physics: Considering the Context of Local Communities
Catherine Riegle-Crumb and Chelsea Moore
Social Science Quarterly DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.12022, 2013
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Abstract: Objectives: We focus on variation in gender inequality in physics course-taking, questioning the notion of a ubiquitous male advantage. We consider how inequality in high school physics is related to the context of students’ local communities, specifically the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations in the labor force. Methods: This study uses nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and its education component, the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement Transcript Study. Results: Approximately half of schools are characterized by either gender equality or even a small female advantage in enrollment in this traditionally male subject. Furthermore, variation in the gender gap in physics is related to the percent of women who are employed in STEM occupations within the community. Conclusion: Our study suggests that communities differ in the extent to which traditionally gendered status expectations shape beliefs and behaviors.
Early Disparities in Mathematics Gains among Poor and Non-Poor Children: Examining the Role of Behavioral Engagement in Learning
The Elementary School Journal 114(1):22-47, 2014
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Abstract: Multilevel modeling was used to investigate the relationship between poverty status, mathematics achievement gains, and behavioral engagement in learning over kindergarten. Data included information on 11,680 poor, low-income, and non-poor kindergartners from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort of 1998–1999 (ECLS-K). Results show that accounting for teachers' reports of non-poor students' higher behavioral engagement (e.g., attentiveness, task persistence) explains the disparity in mathematics gains between poor and non-poor students over kindergarten. Furthermore, results suggest that exposing poor and low-income students to higher classroom behavioral engagement could play a substantial role in equalizing mathematics gains. Given these findings, strategies designed at narrowing economic disparities in early mathematics achievement should take into consideration the impact of behavioral engagement at the intrapersonal and contextual levels.
Race, Gender, and Chains of Disadvantage: Childhood Adversity, Social Relationships, and Health
Debra Umberson, Kristi Williams, Patricia A. Thomas, Hui Liu and Mieke Beth Thomeer
Journal of Health and Social Behavior 55(1):20-38, 2014
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Abstract: We use a life course approach to guide an investigation of relationships and health at the nexus of race and gender. We consider childhood as a sensitive period in the life course, during which significant adversity may launch chains of disadvantage in relationships throughout the life course that then have cumulative effects on health over time. Data from a nationally representative panel study (Americans’ Changing Lives, N= 3,477) reveal substantial disparities between black and white adults, especially pronounced among mn, in the quality of close relationships and in the consequences of these relationships for health. Greater childhood adversity helps to explain why black men have worse health than white men, and some of this effect appears to operate through childhood adversity’s enduring influence on relationship strain in adulthood. Stress that occurs in adulthood plays a greater role than childhood adversity in explaining racial disparities in health among women.