Featured Articles Summer 2012
Women, Work and Public Spaces: Conflict and Coexistence in Karachi's Poor Neighborhoods
Kamran Asdar Ali
Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36.6:585-605, 2012
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Abstract: This article focuses on how working-class women encounter and negotiate economic uncertainty, social vulnerability and sexually threatening public spaces in contemporary Karachi, showcasing women's everyday experiences of social and physical violence as a microcosm of the city's life in order to explore the possibilities of a future politics for cities like Karachi that are haunted by the possibility of violent eruptions. By concentrating on people's everyday practices, it proposes a different register by which to understand cities and their politics, a register constituted by an emergent politics that is not always dependent on an analysis of conflict and friction, but which instead focuses on living with disagreements. Hence the article uses the ethnographic depiction of women's lives to understand the mechanisms through which people continue to coexist, share resources and work together, despite the endemic personal, social and political violence in Karachi's working-class neighborhoods.
Only as Happy as the Least Happy Child: Multiple Grown Children's Problems and Successes and Middle-aged Parents' Well-being
Karen L. Fingerman, Yen-Pi Cheng, Kira Birditt, and Steven Zarit
The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences 67(2):184-193, 2012
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Abstract: Objectives. Middle-aged parents' well-being may be tied to successes and failures of grown children. Moreover, most parents have more than one child, but studies have not considered how different children's successes and failures may be associated with parental well-being. Methods. Middle-aged adults (aged 40-60; N = 633) reported on each of their grown children (n = 1,384) and rated their own well-being. Participants indicated problems each child had experienced in the past two years, rated their children's successes, as well as positive and negative relationship qualities. Results. Analyses compared an exposure model (i.e., having one grown child with a problem or deemed successful) and a cumulative model (i.e., total problems or successes in the family). Consistent with the exposure and cumulative models, having one child with problems predicted poorer parental well-being and the more problems in the family, the worse parental well-being. Having one successful child did not predict well-being, but multiple grown children with higher total success in the family predicted enhanced parental well-being. Relationship qualities partially explained associations between children's successes and parental well-being. Discussion. Discussion focuses on benefits and detriments parents derive from how grown progeny turn out and particularly the implications of grown children's problems.
Longitudinal Links Between Spanking and Children's Externalizing Behaviors in a National Sample of White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian American Families
Elizabeth T. Gershoff, Jennifer E. Lansford, Holly R. Sexton, and Pamela Davis-Kean
Child Development 83(3): 838-843, 2012
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Abstract: This study examined whether the longitudinal links between mothers' use of spanking and children's externalizing behaviors are moderated by family race/ethnicity, as would be predicted by cultural normativeness theory, once mean differences in frequency of use are controlled. A nationally representative sample of White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian American families ( n = 11,044) was used to test a cross-lagged path model from 5 to 8 years old. While race/ethnic differences were observed in the frequency of spanking, no differences were found in the associations of spanking and externalizing over time: Early spanking predicted increases in children's externalizing while early child externalizing elicited more spanking over time across all race/ethnic groups.
The Enduring Impact of Borderline Personality Pathology: Risk for Threatening Life Events in Later Middle-Age
Marci E.J. Gleason, Abigail D. Powers, and Thomas F. Oltmanns
Journal of Abnormal Psychology 121(2):447-457, 2012
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Abstract: Both neuroticism and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are associated with increased frequency of stressful life events in young adults. It is not clear, however, whether this effect extends to later life because BPD is apparently diminished in frequency and severity when people reach middle adulthood. This issue was examined in a representative, community sample of men and women between the ages of 55 and 64 (N = 1,234). Ten DSM-IV PDs and neuroticism were assessed at baseline using a semistructured interview (SIDP-IV) and questionnaire (NEO-PI-R). Life events were measured 6 months later with a self-report questionnaire (LTE-Q) followed by a telephone interview. BPD features and neuroticism predicted increased frequency of life events, based on both self and interviewer-adjusted reports of negative life events. Avoidant and paranoid PD features predicted decreased frequency of negative life events. Approximately 42% of events reported on the LTE-Q were discounted following the telephone interview; higher scores on BPD symptoms were associated with more adjustments to self-report of threatening experiences. These findings indicate that symptoms of BPD and neuroticism continue to have a harmful impact on the lives of older adults.
Residential Change as a Turning Point in the Life Course of Crime: Desistance or Temporary Cessation?
David S. Kirk
Criminology 50(2):329-358, 2012
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Abstract: Many former prisoners return home to the same residential environment, with the same criminal opportunities and criminal peers, where they resided before incarceration. If the path to desistance from crime largely requires knifing off from past situations and establishing a new set of routine activities, then returning to one's old environment and routines may drastically limit an ex-prisoner's already dismal chances of desisting from crime. This study tests these ideas by examining how forced residential migration caused by Hurricane Katrina affected the likelihood of reincarceration among a sample of ex-prisoners originally from New Orleans, LA. Property damage from the hurricane induced some ex-prisoners who otherwise would have moved back to their former neighborhoods to move to new neighborhoods. Findings from an instrumental variables survival analysis reveal that those parolees who moved to a new parish following release were substantially less likely to be reincarcerated during the first 3 years after release than those ex-offenders who moved back to the parish where they were originally convicted. Moreover, at no point in the 3-year time period was the hazard of reincarceration greater for those parolees who moved than for those who returned to the same parish.
All Shook Up: Sexuality of Mid-to Later Life Married Couples
Amy C. Lodge and Debra Umberson
Journal of Marriage and Family 74:428-443, 2012
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Abstract: The authors integrate theoretical work on the performance of gender with a life course perspective to frame an analysis of in-depth interviews with 17 long-term married couples. The findings indicated that couples' sexual experiences are characterized by change over time, yet that change is shaped by the intersection of gender and age. Midlife couples (ages 50-69) were distressed by changes in their sex lives likely because they impede couples from performing gendered sexuality. The source of this distress stems from age-related physical changes; however, it manifests in different ways for husbands and wives. In contrast, later life couples (ages 70-86) were more likely to emphasize the importance of emotional intimacy over sex as they age. Marital sex is a source of conflict for many midlife couples because of husbands' and wives' incongruent experiences, but later life husbands and wives tend to have more congruent experiences of marital sex.
Abstract: We developed a general-purpose multivariate decomposition command for nonlinear response models that incorporates several recent contributions to overcome various problems dealing with path dependence and identification. This work extends existing Stata packages in important ways by including additional models and allowing for weights and model offsets.
Low Income Families' Utilization of the Federal "Safety Net" Individual and State-Level Predictors of TANF and Food Stamp Receipt
Kelly M. Purtell, Elizabeth T. Gershoff, J. Lawrence Aber
Children and Youth Services Review 34:713-724, 2012
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Abstract: Two of the primary programs through which the federal government provides benefits to low income families are the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and the Food Stamp program. However, many eligible low income families do not actually receive these benefits. We combined state-level policy data with rich data on a national sample of low income families to investigate family and state-level predictors of TANF and Food Stamp receipt. Our findings indicate: 1) families experiencing more economic hardship and health challenges are more likely to receive benefits, and 2) states' coverage is associated with families' receipt of TANF, but not Food Stamps. Implications for policy and research are discussed.
Gender, Health Behavior, and Intimate Relationships: Lesbian, Gay, and Straight Contexts
Corinne Reczek and Debra Umberson
Social Science and Medicine 74:1783-1790, 2012
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Abstract: Many studies focus on health behavior within the context of intimate ties. However, this literature is limited by reliance on gender socialization theory and a focus on straight (i.e., heterosexual) marriage. We extend this work with an analysis of relationship dynamics around health behavior in 20 long-term straight marriages as well as 15 gay and 15 lesbian long-term cohabiting partnerships in the United States (N = 100 individual in-depth interviews). We develop the concept of "health behavior work" to align activities done to promote health behavior with theories on unpaid work in the home. Respondents in all couple types describe specialized health behavior work, wherein one partner works to shape the other partner's health behavior. In straight couples, women perform the bulk of specialized health behavior work. Most gay and lesbian respondents-but few straight respondents-also describe cooperative health behavior work, wherein partners mutually influence one another's health behaviors. Findings suggest that the gendered relational context of an intimate partnership shapes the dynamics of and explanations for health behavior work.
New Southern Neighbors: Latino Immigration and Prospects for Intergroup Relations between African Americans and Latinos in the South
Latino Studies 10(1-2): 18-40, 2012
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Abstract: The 1990s witnessed unprecedented Latino immigration in the Deep South. Some researchers developed a "new destinations" perspective to characterize this migration. Historical research, however, indicates that some Mexican migrants arrived in some areas of the Deep South decades earlier and worked in African American labor environments. Other Latinos also established an early presence in the South. The impact of Latino immigration on relations between African Americans and Latinos in the South has evolved through two phases divided by the emergence of large-scale Latino immigration in the early 1990s. National, state and local policies enacted since the mid-1990s have restricted many Latino immigrants in the South, limiting their ability to develop intergroup relations in the region. Cultural origin and social class differences among the Latino population in the South also affect the development of Latino relations with African Americans. Yet, restrictions against Latino immigrants may promote solidarity with African Americans.
Trajectories of Social Engagement and Mortality in Late Life
Patricia A. Thomas
Journal of Aging & Health 24(4): 547-568, 2012
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Abstract: Objective: There is a dearth of empirical research examining how patterns of stability and change in social engagement affect mortality. This study uses social integration theory within a life course framework to examine trajectories of social engagement over time and how those patterns relate to mortality. Method: Data are drawn from the Americans' Changing Lives survey, a nationally representative panel study, with mortality information spanning from 1986 to 2005. Results: Even after controlling for known predictors of mortality, membership in a trajectory of high and slightly increasing social engagement was related to lower risk of mortality. Sociodemographic, health condition, and health behavior variables mediated the impact of the other social engagement trajectories on mortality. Discussion: Findings suggest the importance of maintaining high levels of social engagement over time for the health of older adults.
Preschools Reduce Early Academic-Achievement Gaps: A Longitudinal Twin Approach
Elliot M. Tucker-Drob
Psychological Science 23(3):310-319, 2012
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Abstract: Preschools may reduce inequalities in early academic achievement by providing children from disadvantaged families with higher-quality learning environments than they would otherwise receive. In this study, longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of more than 600 twin pairs were used to estimate the contributions of genes, the shared environment, and the nonshared environment to cognition and achievement scores in children enrolled versus not enrolled in preschool. Attending preschool at age 4 was associated with reductions in shared environmental influences on reading and math skills at age 5, but was not associated with the magnitude of shared environmental influences on cognition at age 2. These prospective effects were mediated by reductions in achievement gaps associated with minority status, socioeconomic status, and ratings of parental stimulation of cognitive development. Lower socioeconomic status was associated with lower rates of preschool enrollment, which suggests that the very children who would benefit most from preschools are the least likely to be enrolled in them.
A Patrimony for the Children": Low-Income Homeownership and Housing (Im)Mobility in Latin American Cities
Peter M. Ward
Annals of the Association of American Geographers 102:1-22, 2011
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Abstract: Data are presented from a 2007 restudy of some 300 low-income self-builder owner households across eight settlements in Bogotá and Mexico City originally interviewed in the early and late 1970s, published in the mid-1980s (Gilbert and Ward 1985). Framed within a longitudinal perspective, the article analyzes the level of turnover of household owners living in irregular settlements over a period of thirty years; the current (2007) housing arrangements of households in dwellings and on plots; and the expectancies of ownership and inheritance of (now) adult children and grandchildren. The findings from the resurvey show minimal land-use changes and that more than 80 percent of the original families remain living on the lot. Densities have increased significantly, as has the average number of households sharing the lot. In Mexico City, sharing a lot is almost exclusively done with close kin (adult children), whereas in Bogotá it is both kin as well as renters. Self-estimated property values and tax office assessments show that house values in these consolidated settlements are often so high as to make it very difficult to sell, thereby reducing residential mobility. Also, the use value, and the inheritance expectations for second- and third-generation households living on the lots, gives little incentive (or option) to sell up and exit the settlement. Some of the social, judicial (tenure and inheritance), and housing policy implications and challenges are discussed.
Does Mentioning "some people" and "other people" in a Survey Question Increase the Accuracy of Adolescents' Self-Reports?
David S. Yeager and Jon A. Krosnick
Developmental Psychology 47(6):1674-1679, 2011
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Abstract: A great deal of developmental research has relied on self-reports solicited using the "some/other" question format ("Some students think that... but other students think that..."). This article reports tests of the assumptions underlying its use: that it conveys to adolescents that socially undesirable attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors are not uncommon and legitimizes reporting them, yielding more valid self-reports than would be obtained by "direct" questions, which do not mention what other people think or do. A meta-analysis of 11 experiments embedded in four surveys of diverse samples of adolescents did not support the assumption that the some/other form increases validity. Although the some/other form led adolescents to think that undesirable attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors were more common and resulted in more reports of those attitudes and behaviors, answers to some/other questions were lower in criterion validity than were answers to direct questions. Because some/other questions take longer to ask and answer and require greater cognitive effort from participants (because they involve more words), and because they decrease measurement accuracy, the some/other question format seems best avoided.
Better Off Jobless? Scarring Effects of Contingent Employment in Japan
Social Forces 90(3): 735-768, 2012
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Abstract: Previous research fails to address whether contingent employment benefits individuals' careers more than the alternative they often face: being without a job. Using work history data from Japan, this study shows that accepting a contingent job delays individuals' transition to standard employment more than remaining jobless. Moreover, having a contingent job, rather than having no job, leads Japanese men to have lower occupational status after they transition back to standard employment. I argue that in a highly segmented labor market like Japan's, the strict separation of labor pools for standard and contingent jobs makes being labeled as a contingent worker particularly detrimental. Meanwhile, the legacy of Japan's welfare corporatism alleviates the stigma of unemployment, making individuals better off jobless than having a contingent job. This research thus demonstrates the importance of labor-market contexts in shaping the scarring effects of contingent work arrangements.