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Christine L. Williams, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300
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Catherine E. Ross to Receive the 2010 Leonard I. Pearlin Award

The Leonard I. Pearlin Award is given each year for distinguished contributions to the sociological study of mental health. The selection of Dr. Catherine Ross is a reflection of her exceptional research productivity and impact, outstanding teaching and mentoring, and excellent service to the broader scientific community.

While most scholars struggle in their careers to impact a single literature, Dr. Ross has distinguished herself by publishing extensively on the mental health consequences of gender, socioeconomic status, family characteristics, social support, and, most recently, aging, and neighborhood context. She has also made significant contributions to our understanding of the measurement of mental health and the sense of control. Dr. Ross’ work is so important it is difficult to conduct research in any of these areas without referencing her in some way.

Much of Dr. Ross’ work is in the tradition of Leonard Pearlin, focusing on “durable, persistent, structured experiences” (Pearlin 1975) shaped by educational, work, and economic stratification. This focus is perhaps best illustrated by “Hardship and Depression”, which draws on Pearlin’s groundbreaking research. Some of her best individual works show us that (1) the sense of personal control is a key link between structural conditions and psychological well-being, (2) education and income uniquely benefit the mental health of women and men, (3) the employment status of wives can have important effects on the mental health of both wives and husbands, depending on employment preferences and the household division of labor, (4) socioeconomic and psychosocial mechanisms link parental divorce during childhood and depression in adulthood, (5) residential stability undermines mental health in poor neighborhoods, and (6) perceptions of neighborhood disorder contribute to the development of perceptions of powerlessness and mistrust.

During her career, Dr. Ross has published 99 journal articles, 19 book chapters, and 2 coauthored books. She has been especially productive in top research outlets, including the Journal of Health and Social Behavior (31 articles), American Sociological Review (6 articles), American Journal of Sociology (4 articles),

Social Forces (5 articles), and Social Psychology Quarterly (8 articles). Her articles

have been cited well over 6,000 times. Over the past decade, her lead-author

work has averaged over 200 citations per year. One of Dr. Ross’ books, Social Causes

of Psychological Distress (2003), is one of the most influential and widely read books in the sociology of mental heal th. According to Google Scholar, Social Causes

has been cited over 700 times, across an array of disciplines, including Sociology,

Psychology, Public Health, and Medicine. Not surprisingly, she is listed on the ISI

database of highly cited researchers in the category of Social Sciences, General.

Dr. Ross has been remarkably productive in her career as a research scholar. She has also made significant contributions as a teacher and mentor. Dr. Ross has developed and taught a wide range of courses over the years, including

courses in basic and advanced quantitative methods, as well as several

courses focused on the social distribution of mental health. In addition to her work

in the classroom, she has directed numerous theses and dissertations and

has published several articles with graduate students. In this way, Dr. Ross is

tremendously instrumental in the careers of her students. She also treats her

students with a great deal of consideration and respect, which encourages positive scholarly development. Not surprisingly, her students have gone on to make notable contributions to the sociological study of mental health and related fields.

In addition to direct scholarly, teaching, and mentoring achievements, Catherine has contributed to the sociological study of mental health through her work in various editorial positions. Over the years, Catherine has served as Deputy Editor for the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and Associate Editor/Consulting Editor, and/or Editorial Board Member for several leading journals, including Journal of

Health and Social Behavior, Social Psychology Quarterly, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Sociological Quarterly, and Journal of Marriage and the Family.

For all of these reasons, Dr. Ross is truly deserving of the 2010 Leonard I. Pearlin Award.

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