Shannon E. Cavanagh

Faculty Research AssociatePh.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Associate Professor of Sociology
Shannon E. Cavanagh



Shannon Cavanagh received her PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. After that, she completed a three year NICHD-funded Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin. She began her faculty position in the Department of Sociology at Texas in 2006.

Cavanagh’s research program consists of two general themes. The first focuses on the implications of family instability for children across the early life course. Her work documents children’s movement into and out of different family structure statuses and examines whether this instability, the characteristics of parents’ that select children into these unstable families, or a combination of both is most important to the health and well-being of children and adolescents.  Most of her work to date has focused on the US context; Cavanagh is currently exploring the prevalence and implications of family instability in the UK and South Africa.

Publications related to this research include:

Cavanagh, Shannon and Paula Fomby.  Forthcoming.  School Context, Family Instability, and the Academic Careers of Adolescents: The Role of Family Instability within Schools. Sociology of Education.

Cavanagh,Shannon and Aletha Huston. 2008. The Timing of Family Instability and Children’s Social Development. Journal of Marriage and Family. 70: 1258-1269.

Cavanagh's research on family instability has been supported by grants from NICHD and the National Center for Family and Marriage Research.

The second area focuses on the role of pubertal timing in the lives of young women. Puberty is one of the few universals in early development, producing change throughout the body. Given the social value attached to the female body, the significance of this event often extends beyond the physiological and biological to include many other, non-physical changes in life. What interests Cavanagh most here are the ways that notions of gender, the body, and social context come together to shape how girls negotiate adolescence and the transition into adulthood.

Publications related to this research include:

Cavanagh, Shannon. 2011. Early Pubertal Timing and Union Formation Behaviors of Young Women. Social Forces. 89:1217-1238.

Cavanagh, Shannon, Catherine Riegle-Crumb, and Robert Crosnoe. 2007. Early Pubertal Timing and the Education of Girls. Social Psychology Quarterly 70: 186-198.



UGS 303 • Difficult Dialog: Hiv/Aids

63945 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 930-1100 MEZ 1.210

See attached

Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

External Links