Featured Articles Spring 2012

The Latin AmericanistShifting Trends in Central American Migration: A Demographic Examination of Increasing Honduran-U.S. Immigration and Deportations
Sarah Blanchard, Erin R. Hamilton, Nestor Rodriguez, and Hirotoshi Yoshioka
The Latin Americanist 55(4): 61-84, 2011
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Abstract: The article examines changing trends in Central American migration by examining Honduran-U.S. immigration and deportation. It provides a comparison of immigration and deportation data of migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. In addition, it provides social and demographic profiles of the non-citizen immigrants. The factors that contribute to the high rates of migration and deportation are also discussed.

Social ForcesEarly Pubertal Timing and Union Formation Behaviors of Young Women
Shannon Cavanagh
Social Forces 89:1217-1238, 2011
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Abstract: This study examined whether the transition into adolescence, proxied by pubertal timing, shaped the transition into adulthood, proxied by union formation behaviors, among contemporary American women. In a sample drawn from Add Health (n = 7,523), early maturing girls reported an accelerated transition to marriage and cohabitation in young adulthood, net of family structure history, academic achievement in high school, and parental education. The link between pubertal timing and cohabitation was strongest among socioeconomically advantaged women; no socio-economic differences were identified for marriage. The tendency for early maturers to have more pronounced romantic orientations during adolescence partially explained their transitions to marriage. In all, the persistence of the pubertal timing effect into young adulthood suggests that early maturers accelerated entrance into the romantic market in adolescence has a cascading, long-term impact on the shape of their lives in young adulthood.

Sociology of EducationFamily Instability, School Context, and the Academic Careers of Adolescents
Shannon Cavanagh and Paula Fomby
Sociology of Education 85:81-97, 2012
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Abstract: An emerging literature suggests that the increasingly complex family histories of American children are linked with multiple domains of adolescent development. Much of this scholarship focuses on associations at the individual level. Here, the authors consider whether key dimensions of the school context, specifically the aggregate level of family instability and the academic press within schools, moderate the link between family instability and young people's course-taking patterns in mathematics in high school. Using the school-based design and the retrospective reports of family structure in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the linked academic transcript data in the Adolescent Health and Achievement Study (n = 6,545), the authors find that students from unstable families do more poorly when they attend schools with a high proportion of academically oriented students. The prevalence of family instability in a school does not moderate the individual experience of family instability in predicting course-taking patterns.

BJMSPThe Impact of Ignoring Multiple Membership Data Structures in Multilevel Models
Hyewon Chung and S. Natasha Beretvas
The British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology 65(2):185-200, 2012

Abstract: This study compared the use of the conventional multilevel model (MM) with that of the multiple membership multilevel model (MMMM) for handling multiple membership data structures. Multiple membership data structures are commonly encountered in longitudinal educational data sets in which, for example, mobile students are members of more than one higher-level unit (e.g., school). While the conventional MM requires the user either to delete mobile students' data or to ignore prior schools attended, MMMM permits inclusion of mobile students' data and models the effect of all schools attended on student outcomes. The simulation study identified underestimation of the school-level predictor coefficient, as well as underestimation of the level-two variance component with corresponding overestimation of the level-one variance when multiple membership data structures were ignored. Results are discussed along with limitations and ideas for future MMMM methodological research as well as implications for applied researchers.

Social Science QuarterlyReligion and Attitudes toward Same-Sex Marriage among US Latinos
Christopher Ellison, Gabriel Acevedo and Aida I. Ramos-Wada
Social Science Quarterly 92(1):35-56, 2011
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Abstract: Objectives. This study examines links between multiple aspects of religious involvement and attitudes toward same-sex marriage among U.S. Latinos. The primary focus is on variations by affiliation and participation, but the possible mediating roles of biblical beliefs, clergy cues, and the role of religion in shaping political views are also considered. Methods. We use binary logistic regression models to analyze data from a large nationwide sample of U.S. Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Forum in late 2006. Results. Findings highlight the strong opposition to same-sex marriage among Latino evangelical (or conservative) Protestants and members of sectarian groups (e.g., LDS), even compared with devout Catholics. Although each of the hypothesized mediators is significantly linked with attitudes toward same-sex marriage, for the most part controlling for them does not alter the massive affiliation/attendance differences in attitudes toward same-sex marriage. Conclusions. This study illustrates the importance of religious cleavages in public opinion on social issues within the diverse U.S. Latino population. The significance of religious variations in Hispanic civic life is likely to increase with the growth of the Latino population and the rising numbers of Protestants and sectarians among Latinos.

Abnormal PsychologyThe Enduring Impact of Borderline Personality Pathology: Risk for Threatening Life Events in Late 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.

Ethnic and Racial StudiesSocial Effects of Mass Deportations by the United States Government: 2000-2010

Jacqueline Hagan, Nestor Rodriguez, and Brianna Castro
Ethinc and Racial Studies 34(8):1374-1391, 2011
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Abstract: Interviews with deportees in El Salvador and Mexico and with immigrants in the United States indicate that expanded US enforcement policies are straining transnational families and imposing fear on immigrant communities. Expanded enforcement is removing long-term settlers with strong kinship ties to the United States. Through various strategies, some immigrants attempt to cope with new enforcement operations, while others involuntarily return to their home communities. The findings suggest that (1) conceptualizations of immigration policy enactment of the ‘liberal state' need to be reassessed, and (2) migration policies of the United States, Mexico and El Salvador need to be revisited in light of their human costs.

Abnormal PsychologyGene-Environment interplay in the Association Between Pubertal Timing and Delinquency in Adolescent Girls
K. Paige Harden and Jane Mendle
Journal of Abnormal Psychology 121(1):73-87, 2012
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Abstract: Early pubertal timing places girls at elevated risk for a breadth of negative outcomes, including involvement in delinquent behavior. While previous developmental research has emphasized the unique social challenges faced by early maturing girls, this relation is complicated by genetic influences for both delinquent behavior and pubertal timing, which are seldom controlled for in existing research. The current study uses genetically informed data on 924 female-female twin and sibling pairs drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to (1) disentangle biological versus environmental mechanisms for the effects of early pubertal timing and (2) test for gene-environment interactions. Results indicate that early pubertal timing influences girls' delinquency through a complex interplay between biological risk and environmental experiences. Genes related to earlier age at menarche and higher perceived development significantly predict increased involvement in both nonviolent and violent delinquency. Moreover, after accounting for this genetic association between pubertal timing and delinquency, the impact of nonshared environmental influences on delinquency are significantly moderated by pubertal timing, such that the nonshared environment is most important among early maturing girls. This interaction effect is particularly evident for nonviolent delinquency. Overall, results suggest early maturing girls are vulnerable to an interaction between genetic and environmental risks for delinquent behavior.

Developmental ScienceGenetically Influenced Change in Sensation Seeking Drives the Rise of Delinquent Behavior during Adolescence
K. Paige Harden, Patrick D. Quinn, and Elliot M. TUcker-Drob
Developmental Science 121(1):73-87, 2012
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Abstract: Sensation seeking is associated with an increased propensity for delinquency, and emerging research on personality change suggests that mean levels of sensation seeking increase substantially from childhood to adolescence. The current study tested whether individual differences in the rate of change of sensation seeking predicted within-person change in delinquent behavior and whether genetically influenced differences in rate of personality change accounted for this association. Sensation seeking and delinquent behavior were assessed biennially between ages 10-11 and 16-17 in a nationally representative sample of 7675 youths from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth: Children and Young Adults (CNLSY). Analyses using latent growth curve modeling found that within-person change in sensation seeking was significantly and positively correlated with within-person change in delinquency from childhood to adolescence. Furthermore, behavioral genetic analyses of a subset of 2562 sibling pairs indicated that there were substantial genetic influences on both initial levels of sensation seeking and change in sensation seeking during early adolescence, with over 80% of individual differences in change due to genetic factors. Finally, these genetically driven increases in sensation seeking were most important for predicting increases in delinquency, whereas environmental paths between sensation seeking and delinquency were not significant. These results suggest that developmental changes in delinquent behaviors during adolescence are driven by a genetically governed process of personality change.

Journal of Policy AnalysisThe Long-Term Effect on Children and Adolescents of a Policy Providing Work Supports for Low-Income Parents
Aletha C. Huston, Anjali E. Gupta, Jessica Thornton Walker, Chantelle J. Dowsett, Sylvia R. Epps, Amy E. Imes, and Vonnie C. McLoyd
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 30(4):729-754, 2011
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Abstract: New Hope, an employment-based poverty-reduction intervention for adults evaluated in a random-assignment experimental design, had positive impacts on children's achievement and social behavior two and five years after random assignment. The question addressed in this paper was the following: Did the positive effects of New Hope on younger children diminish or even reverse when children reached the challenges of adolescence (eight years after random assignment)? Small positive impacts on school progress, school motivation, positive social behavior, child well-being, and parent control endured, but impacts on school achievement and problem behavior were no longer evident. The most likely reasons for lasting impacts were that New Hope families were slightly less likely to be poor, and children had spent more time in center-based child care and structured activities. New Hope represents a model policy that could produce modest improvements in the lives of low-income adults and children.

EpidemiologyMaternal Exposure to Unexpected Economic Contraction and Birth Weight for Gestational Age
Claire Margerison-Zilko, Ralph Catalano, Alan Hubbard, and Jennifer Ahern
Epidemeiology 22(6):855-858, 2011
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Abstract: AB Background: There is concern about possible effects of disinfection by-products on reproductive outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between maternal exposure to chlorination by-products and the risk of delivering a small for-gestational-age (SGA) neonate. Methods: We conducted a population-based case-control study in the Quebec City (Canada) area. Term newborn cases with birth weights <10th percentile (n = 571) were compared with 1925 term controls with birth weights >=10th percentile. Concentrations of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids in the water-distribution systems of participants were monitored during the study period, and a phone interview on maternal habits was completed within 3 months after childbirth. We estimated chlorination by-products ingestion during the last trimester of pregnancy and trihalomethanes doses resulting from inhalation and dermal exposure. We evaluated associations between chlorination by-products in utero exposure and SGA by means of unconditional logistic regression with control of potential confounders. Results: When total trihalomethanes and the 5 regulated haloacetic acids concentrations were divided into quartiles, no clear dose-response relationship was found with SGA. However, increased risk was observed when haloacetic concentrations were above the fourth quartile and when either trihalomethanes or haloacetic acids concentrations were above current water standards (adjusted OR= 1.5 [95% confidence interval = 1.1-1.9] and 1.4 [1.1-1.9], respectively). Inhalation and dermal absorption of trihalomethanes did not contribute to this risk, but a monotonic dose-response was found with haloacetic acids ingestion. Conclusion: Oral exposure to high levels of chlorination by-products in drinking water could be a risk factor for term SGA.

Journals of GerontologyCognitive Decline and the Default of American Lifestyles

John Mirowsky
The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 66B(S1):i50-i58 2011
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Abstract: Objectives. Upward trends in IQ, education, and mental work suggest that cognitive function among seniors should be rising strongly across cohorts. There is little sign of such improvement in recent decades, and some analyses find poorer function in the newer cohorts. This essay explores possible explanations of the anomaly. Methods. Major long-term trends that might increase cognitive impairment are reviewed, and their implications are considered. Results. Physical activity is declining, food is increasingly manufactured, body fat is increasing, diabetes and metabolic syndrome are on the rise, the number of prescription drugs per person is increasing, and the proportion of the population either old or obese is growing. Discussion. Technological and economic development may lower the cognitive function needed for survival. They also lower physical activity in daily life. Sedentary work, transportation, and leisure undermine the aerobic and metabolic fitness required for the brain to perform well. Some prescription drugs impair cognitive function, and others do so when taken for many years or in combination with others. The growing fraction of the population that is either old or obese may further lower physical activity norms and requirements and substitute medical intervention for health, accelerating a trend toward cognitive impairment.

DemographyEducational Attainment and Adult Mortality in the United States: A Systematic Analysis of Functional Form

Jennifer Karas Montez, Robert A. Hummer, and Mark D. Hayward
Demography, 49(1): 315-336, 2012
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Abstract: A vast literature has documented the inverse association between educational attainment and U.S. adult mortality risk but given little attention to identifying the optimal functional form of the association. A theoretical explanation of the association hinges on our ability to describe it empirically. Using the 1979-1998 National Longitudinal Mortality Study for non-Hispanic white and black adults aged 25-100 years during the mortality follow-up period ( N = 1,008,215), we evaluated 13 functional forms across race-gender-age subgroups to determine which form(s) best captured the association. Results revealed that the preferred functional form includes a linear decline in mortality risk from 0 to 11 years of education, followed by a step-change reduction in mortality risk upon attainment of a high school diploma, at which point mortality risk resumes a linear decline but with a steeper slope than that prior to a high school diploma. The findings provide important clues for theoretical development of explanatory mechanisms: an explanation for the selected functional form may require integrating a credentialist perspective to explain the step-change reduction in mortality risk upon attainment of a high school diploma, with a human capital perspective to explain the linear declines before and after a high school diploma.

JHSBTrajectories of Social Engagement and Limitations in Late Life

Patricia Thomas
Journal of Health and Social Behavior 52(4):430-443
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Abstract: Although studies have established important links between social relations and health, much of this research does not take into account the dynamic nature of both social relations and health over time. The present study combines person-centered and variable-centered approaches and uses social integration theory within the life course framework to examine patterns of change in social engagement and how those patterns relate to trajectories of physical and cognitive limitations among older adults, using data from the Americans' Changing Lives survey, a nationally representative panel study (N = 1,667). Individuals who had trajectories of high and increasing social engagement experienced lower levels of physical and cognitive limitations over time. The findings suggest the importance of maintaining high levels of social engagement for the physical and cognitive health of older adults.

Social Science and MedicineParenthood and Trajectories of Change in Body Weight over the Life Course
Debra Umberson, Hui Liu, John Mirowsky, Corinne Reczek
Social Science and Medicine 73:1323-1331, 2011
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Abstract: Scholars call for greater attention to social contexts that promote and deter risk factors for health. Parenthood transforms social contexts in a myriad of ways that may influence long-term patterns of weight gain. Life course features of parenthood such as age at first birth, parity, and living with a minor child may further influence weight gain. Moreover, the social and biological features of parenthood vary in systematic ways for women and men, raising questions about how social contexts might differentially affect weight patterns by gender. We consider how parenthood influences trajectories of change in body weight over a fifteen year period (from 1986 to 2001) with growth curve analysis of data from the Americans' Changing Lives Survey, conducted with adults aged 24 and older in the contiguous United States (N = 3617). Findings suggest that parents gain weight more rapidly than the childless throughout the study period and that this weight gain occurs for both men and women. Men and women who have their first child earlier or later than about age 27 have accelerated weight gain, living with a minor child is associated with heavier weight for men than women, and parity is associated with greater weight gain for women than men. We conclude that parenthood contributes to a long term, cumulative process of weight gain for American women and men but life course factors that accelerate this process may differ by gender.

The Latin AmericanistPush Back: U.S. Deportation Policy and the Reincorporation of Involuntary Return Migrants in Mexico
Christine Wheatley
The Latin Americanist 55(4):35-60, 2011
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Abstract: The article examines the impact of deportation to Mexican deportees and the nature of their social and economic reincorporation in Mexico as compared to voluntary returnees. It also presents the impact of U.S. immigration policies such as the Immigration Reform and Control Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Individual Responsibility Act on migration flows. It presents findings from several research areas and the challenges encountered by both deportees and returnees.