Welcome to the Sociology Department

Sharon Bzostek

Sharon Bzostek Sharon Bzostek's research focuses on child well-being and inequality, family demography, and social disparities in health and health care. Her current projects focus on maternal re-partnering after an unmarried birth, racial and ethnic disparities in survey respondents’ self-assessments of health, and mixed health insurance coverage among siblings. Prior to joining the department, Professor Bzostek was a postdoctoral fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at Harvard University from 2009-2011.

Selected Publications

Berger, Lawrence and Sharon Bzostek. 2014. “Adults’ Roles as Partners and Parents in a Context of Family Complexity.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 654: 87-109.

Percheski, Christine and Sharon Bzostek. 2013. “Health Insurance Coverage within Sibships: Prevalence of Mixed Coverage and Associations with Health Care Utilization.” Social Science and Medicine 90: 1-10.

Bzostek, Sharon, Sara McLanahan and Marcia Carlson. 2012. “Mothers’ Repartnering After a Nonmarital Birth.” Social Forces 90: 817-841.


2012-2013. University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty’s Emerging Scholars Small Grant. “Maternal Repartnering & Trajectories of Financial Well-Being Following a Non-marital Birth."

Honors and Awards

Editorial Board, Journal of Marriage and Family (9/2011 – present)

Deborah Carr

Deborah Carr Deborah Carr is a life course sociologist whose research focuses on the ways that macrosocial changes affect individual-level health and well-being. Her recent studies focus on the psychosocial consequences of obesity and weight change; the ways that psychological, couple-level, and death context characteristics shape the bereavement experiences of older widows and widowers; and the psychological consequences of work and family roles across the life course and across different birth cohorts. She is currently the principal investigator of two National Institute of Aging-funded studies of end-of-life plans and preparations among older adults and their families. One study focuses on healthy, community-dwelling white older adults in Wisconsin; the other focuses on terminally ill white, black, and Latino older adults in New Jersey. She has published more than 75 journal articles and book chapters. Her research has appeared in journals including Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Forces, Social Psychology Quarterly, and Sociological Methodology. She is the co-editor of Spousal Bereavement in Late Life (Springer, 2007), editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development (Cengage, 2009), and author of Worried Sick: Why Stress Hurts and How to Bounce Back (Rutgers University Press, 2014). She is chair-elect of the ASA section on Sociology of Aging & the Life Course and incoming editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.

Selected Publications

Carr, Deborah. 2014. Worried Sick: How Stress Hurts Us and How to Bounce Back. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Carr, Deborah, Vicki A. Freedman, Jennifer C. Cornman, and Norbert Schwarz. 2014. "Happy Marriage, Happy Life? Marital Quality and Subjective Well-Being in Later Life." Journal of Marriage and Family 76: 930-948.

Carr, Deborah and Shane Sharp. 2014. "Do Beliefs in an Afterlife Affect Psychological Adjustment to Spousal Loss?" Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 69B: 103-112.


Integrative Pathways to Health and Illness (National Institute on Aging 5P01 AG020166-09). Project 1: Psychosocial Contributors to Health and Illness: The MIDUS Refresher, and Core C: Methodological Core. 01/01/2002 – 06/30/2016. Principal Investigator: Carol D. Ryff, Co-investigator: Deborah Carr.

Economic Status, Health & Wellbeing Over the Life Course and Across Generations (National Institute on Aging 5 P01 AG029409-07). Project 4: Disability, Time Use, and Wellbeing Among Older Adults. Principal Investigator: Vicki A. Freedman, Co-investigator: Deborah Carr. 12/01/2012 – 11/30/2017.

The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (National Institute on Aging AG020166). Project 2: The Impact of End-of-Life Planning on the Quality of Death & Survivor Well-Being (D. Carr, PI); Project 18: Marital Life Course and Late-Life Health: A Biopsychosocial Approach (D. Carr, PI). Project co-principal investigators: Deborah Carr and Pamela Herd. 09/15/2002 - 06/30/2014.

Honors and Awards

Editor, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences (starting January 2015)

Chair, Section on Aging and the Life Course, American Sociological Association.

Chair, General Social Survey Board of Overseers

Patrick Carr

Patrick Carr

Selected Publications

Carr, Patrick J. (2012). “Citizens, Community, and Crime Control: The Problems and Prospects for Negotiated Order.” Criminology and Criminal Justice Vol. 12.

Carr, Patrick J. Daniel T. Lichter and Maria J. Kefalas (2012). “Can Immigration Save Small-town America? Hispanic Boomtowns and the Uneasy Path to Renewal.” Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 641(1): 38-57.

Waters, Mary C., Patrick J. Carr, Maria J. Kefalas, and Jennifer Holdaway [Eds.] (2011). Coming of Age in America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Steven Hansell

Steven Hansell Steven Hansell has research interests in medical sociology, the social psychology of illness behavior, and social support networks. Current projects focus on the effects of managed care on treatment outcomes for mentally ill children and adolescents. Dr. Hansell also served as Director of the Undergraduate Program in the Department of Sociology.

Selected Publications

Hansell, Stephen. 1997. "Treatment for Comorbid Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse Disorders." Pp. 65-74 in Improving Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment in an Era of Managed Care, edited by David Mechanic. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

White, Helene Raskin, and Stephen Hansell. 1998. "Acute and Long-Term Effects of Drug Use on Aggression from Adolescence into Adulthood." Journal of Drug Issues 28:837-858.

Hansell, Stephen, Helene Raskin White, and Firoozeh Molaparastali. 1999. "Specific Alcoholic Beverages and Physical and Mental Health among Adolescents." Journal of Studies on Alcohol 60:209- 218.

Allan V. Horwitz

Allan V. Horwitz Allan V. Horwitz is Board of Governors Professor of Sociology and Interim Director of the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research. Professor Horwitz has studied a variety of aspects of mental health and illness, including the social response to mental illness, family caretaking for dependent populations, the impact of social roles and statuses on mental health, and the social construction of mental disorders. His current work integrates biological and sociological perspectives in distinguishing between normal and dysfunctional types of depression. He has published over 100 articles and chapters in the main journals in his field. In addition, he has published several books including The Social Control of Mental Illness (Academic Press 1982; new edition Percheron Press 2002), The Logic of Social Control (Plenum Press 1990), Creating Mental Illness (University of Chicago Press 2002), The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Misery into Depressive Disorder (Oxford University Press 2007), Conundrums of Modern American Medicine (Rutgers University Press 2010), All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry’s Transformation of Normal Anxieties into Mental Disorders (Oxford University Press, 2012) and Anxiety: A Short History (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Since 1980 he has been the co-director (with David Mechanic) of the NIMH funded Rutgers Postdoctoral Program in Mental Health. He has also served as Chair of the Sociology Department for nine years (1985-1991; 1996-1999) and Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences (2006 – 2012).

Selected Publications

Horwitz, Allan V. 2013. Anxiety: A Short History. Baltimore. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Horwitz, Allan V. and Jerome C. Wakefield. 2012. All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry’s Transformation of Natural Anxiety into Mental Disorder. New York: Oxford University Press.

Horwitz, Allan V. and Jerome C. Wakefield. 2007. The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Misery into Depressive Disorder. New York: Oxford University Press.

(Winner Association of American Publishers Best Book Award 2007, Psychology Category; Winner Best Publication Award, American Sociological Association Section on Evolution,    Biology, and Society, 2010; Named one of seven best books of the past decade in the sociology of mental health in )

Recent Honors and Awards

Chair Medical Sociology Section, American Sociological Association, 2013  

Fellow-in-Residence the Center for Advanced Study at Stanford University 2012-13.

Best Publication Award, Section on Evolution, Biology, and Society, 2014, for All We Have to Fear.

Joanna Kempner

Joanna Kempner Joanna Kempner is an assistant professor of sociology. Her research investigates the intersection of medicine, science, politics, gender and the body. Dr. Kempner pursues these interests in a diverse range on research projects. Her book, Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Health (Chicago, 2014), examines the gendered social values embedded in the way we talk about, understand, and make policies for people in pain. She is currently researching the production and policing of forbidden knowledge, with a particular emphasis on how political controversies shape scientific research agendas. Prior to joining the department, Professor Kempner was a postdoctoral fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at the University of Michigan from 2004-2006. She was also a Research Associate at the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University. Her research appears in peer-reviewed sociology and medical journals including Science, Social Science & Medicine, and Gender & Society.

Selected Publications

Kempner, J. 2014. Not Tonight: Migraine and the Politics of Gender and Legitimacy. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.

Young, William B., Iris X. Tian, Jung E. Park, Joanna Kempner. 2013. "The stigma of migraine." Public Library of Science One. 8(1): e54074.

Kempner, Joanna, Jon F. Merz, Charles L. Bosk. 2011. “Forbidden knowledge: Public controversy and the production of nonknowledge.” Sociological Forum. 26(3). 475-500. Lead article.

Honors and Awards

2013-2016 Council Member, Body and Embodiment Section of the American Sociological Association

2012 Honorable Mention, Star-Nelkin Paper Award. Science, Knowledge and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association.

2009-10 Faculty Fellow, Center for Cultural Analysis, “Evidence and Explanation in the Arts and Sciences,” Rutgers University.

Lauren Krivo

Lauren Krivo Lauren Krivo’s population research focuses on race-ethnic and economic segregation and spatial inequality.  A major focus of her work is on the consequences of ethnoracial segregation and concentrated disadvantage and affluence for urban neighborhood crime.  Her book with Ruth D. Peterson, Divergent Social Worlds: Neighborhood Crime and the Racial-Spatial Divide (Russell Sage 2010) shows that inequalities in crime across neighborhoods of distinct colors are rooted in the extraordinary differentials in community conditions that are core components of residential segregation in U.S. urban areas.  In her research on spatial inequality, she has examined how residential inequalities in disadvantage and advantage are reproduced in the places that people go away from home.  She is currently studying geographic mobility across urban space (with Zaire Dinzey-Flores and Idit Fast), the macro-structural sources of homicide and suicide (with Julie Phillips), and inequality in where neighbors conduct everyday routines.

Selected Publications

Krivo, Lauren J., Heather M. Washington, Ruth D. Peterson, Christopher R. Browning, Catherine A. Calder, and Mei-Po Kwan.  2013.  “Social Isolation of Disadvantage and Advantage:  The Reproduction of Inequality in Urban Space.” Social Forces 92:141-164.

Peterson, Ruth D. and Lauren J. Krivo.  2010.  Divergent Social Worlds:  Neighborhood Crime and the Racial-Spatial Divide.  New York:  Russell Sage.

Krivo, Lauren J., Ruth D. Peterson, and Danielle C. Kuhl.  2009.  “Segregation, Racial Structure, and Neighborhood Crime.”  American Journal of Sociology 114:1765-1802.


National Science Foundation, Sociology & Law and Social Science Programs.  “Crime and Community in a Changing Society: The National Neighborhood Crime Study 2.”  Principal Investigator.  Collaborative Research Project with Maria Vélez and Christopher Lyons, University of New Mexico, Co-Principal Investigators.  $274,536 to Rutgers University; $143,364 to University of New Mexico.  June 2014-May 2016.

National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse.  “Spatial Patterns of Social Isolation, Youthful Marijuana Use, and Sexual/HIV Risk.”  Co-Principal Investigator with Ruth D. Peterson, Christopher R. Browning, Catherine A. Calder, and Mei-Po Kwan. $697,849. August 2009-July 2012.

Catherine Lee

Catherine Lee Catherine Lee is associate professor of sociology. She examines how meanings of race and ethnicity shape social relations and inequalities across three critical sites: immigration; science and medicine; and law and society. Catherine is the author of Fictive Kinship: Family Reunification and the Meaning of Race and Nation in American Immigration (2013, Russell Sage) and co-editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History (2012, Rutgers University Press). Her current projects include an investigation of racial disparities in pain management and the politics of narcotics control and a study of how social institutions are addressing ideas of racial ambiguity or uncertainty tied to shifting demographics and rise of multiraciality.

Selected Publications

Lee, Catherine. 2013. Fictive Kinship: Family Reunification and the Meaning of Race and Nation in American Immigration. Russell Sage Press. 

Wailoo, Keith, Alondra Nelson, and Catherine Lee. 2012. Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History. Rutgers University Press.

Friedman, Asia and Catherine Lee. 2013. “Producing Knowledge about Racial Differences: Tracing Scientists’ Use of ‘Race’ and ‘Ethnicity’ from Grants to Articles.” Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 41(3): 720-732.


Faculty Research Grant, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Rutgers University, “The Color of Pain: Race and the Management of Pain in Medicine” (2012-2013)

Honors and Awards

2009-10 Russell Sage Foundation, Visiting Scholars Program

2003-05 Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Research Program, University of Michigan

Norah MacKendrick

Norah MacKendrick Norah MacKendrick studies environmental health, with a focus on social responses to chemical body burdens and toxins in food and consumer products. She writes and teaches about consumer citizenship, food politics and gender.

Selected Publications

MacKendrick, N.A. Forthcoming. “More Work for Mother: Precautionary Consumption as a Maternal Responsibility." Gender & Society.

Cairns, K., Johnston, J. and N. MacKendrick. 2013. "Feeding the 'organic child': Mothering through ethical consumption." Journal of Consumer Culture. 13(2): 97-118.

MacKendrick, N.A. 2010. "Media framing of body burdens: Precautionary consumption and the individualization of risk." Sociological Inquiry. 80(1): 126-149.


Research Council Grant (2013-14)

Julie Phillips

Julie Phillips Julie Phillips is a social demographer whose research focuses on the causes and consequences of various forms of social inequality. Her current research agenda extends prior work on homicide to examine another form of lethal violence, namely suicide. With funding from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), she has explored how and why patterns of U.S. suicide rates vary across place, time, and demographic groups, with particular attention to the role of rising antidepressant drug usage rates among other demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral factors.  A related project, also funded by AFSP, investigates varying patterns of suicide risk across the life course, time period, and birth cohort, with an emphasis on understanding the rising rates of suicide among middle-aged Baby Boomers.  Other work in this area include studies of the role of immigration in affecting rates of lethal violence (with Lauren Krivo) and of circumstances and method of suicide using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (with Katherine Hempstead).

Selected Publications

Phillips, Julie A. and Colleen N. Nugent. 2014.  “Suicide and the Great Recession of 2007-2009: The Role of Economic Factors in the 50 U.S. States.”  Social Science and Medicine 116: 22-31.

Phillips, Julie A.  2014. “A Changing Epidemiology of Suicide? The Influence of Birth Cohorts on Suicide Rates in the United States.”   Social Science and Medicine 114: 151-160.

Lorenzo-Luaces, Lorenzo and Julie A. Phillips. 2014. “Race Differences in Risk Factors for Suicidal Ideation and Attempts among Young Adults in the United States.”  Ethnicity and Health 19(4): 458-477.


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  2014-2016. “The Changing Epidemiology of Suicide: Life Course, Age, Cohort and Period Factors.”  $87, 516.  (Principal Investigator).

Rutgers University Research Council Grant. 2013-2014. “The Great Recession and Middle-Aged Suicide Rates.” $1,700.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  2007-2009. “Factors Associated with Spatial and Temporal Variation in Suicide Rates.” $19, 997.  (Principal Investigator).

Sarah Rosenfield

Sarah Rosenfield Sarah Rosenfield teaches courses in mental health, the self, gender, and writing. In addition to sociology, she studied psychiatric epidemiology at Columbia University and psychosocial epidemiology at Yale University. Her work focuses on gender, racial/ethnic and social class differences in mental health, both in internalizing problems like depression and anxiety and in externalizing problems like substance abuse and anti-social behavior. She examines cultural schemas as explanations for the often paradoxical differences between these groups. She also studies the impact of stigma on the life chances and quality of life of people with severe mental illness, as well as the effectiveness of services to improve these outcomes. A third area investigates contradictory results in studies of race/ethnicity and mental health, which questions the ways we study mental health and whether we can believe studies comparing diverse groups.

Selected Publications

Rosenfield, Sarah. forthcoming. "Gender and Mental Health,” in Allan Horwitz and Teresa Scheid, eds., A Handbook for the Study of Mental Health: Social Contexts, Theories, Systems. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rosenfield, Sarah, Julie Phillips, and Helene Raskin White. 2006. “Gender, Race, and the Self in Mental Health and Crime,” Social Problems 53:161-185.

Rosenfield, Sarah, Mary Clare Lennon, and Helene White. 2005. "Mental Health and the Self: The Impact of Self-Salience," Journal of Health and Social Behavior 6:326-340.

Kristen Springer

Kristen Springer Kristen Springer's research centers on health and aging in the context of gender relations and families. She is particularly interested in examining health as a fundamental and sensitive indicator of gender inequality. Her work emphasizes understanding possible causal mechanisms, both proximate and distal, that link social and structural factors to health inequalities. Professor Springer is also dedicated to choosing methodological techniques, qualitative or quantitative, that best fit specific research questions. She is currently engaged in three broad research projects: 1) the gendered health effect of marital income across the life course, 2) the influence of masculinity ideals on men’s healthcare seeking behaviors dependent on socioeconomic status, and 3) the interactive influence of biology and social environment for understanding gendered health. She has published research multiple peer-reviewed journals including American Journal of Sociology, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Journal of Family Issues, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Social Science & Medicine, Social Science Research, and Sociological Forum. Professor Springer’s research has also been featured in national and international news sources including ABC News, LA Times, The New York Times, US News & World Report, and USA Today.

Selected Publications

Carr, Deborah, Lauren F. Murphy, Heather D. Batson, and Kristen W. Springer. 2013. “Bigger Isn’t Always Better: The Effect of Obesity on Sexual Satisfaction and Behavior of Adult Men in the U.S.” Men and Masculinities. 16. 452-477.

Springer, Kristen W., Jeanne Mager Stellman and Rebecca Jordan-Young. 2012. “Beyond a Catalogue of Differences: A Theoretical Frame and Good Practice Guidelines for Researching Sex/Gender in Human Health” Social Science & Medicine. 74(11). 1817-1824.

Springer, Kristen W. and Dawne Mouzon. 2011. “’Macho Men’ and Preventive Healthcare: Implications for Older Men in Different Social Classes.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 52(2). 212-227.


Principal Investigator: “Spouses' Health at Midlife and Wife Breadwinning Dynamics Across the Life Course.” R03 funded by National Institute of Aging.  $77,410. (2012-2014)

Principal Investigator: “Identifying Physiological Mechanisms Linking Masculinity Threats to Men’s Health.”  Charles and Johanna Busch Memorial Fund.  $45,000. (2011-2013)

Principal Investigator: “Gender and Health Working Group Conference and Special Issue Supplement” Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Grant. $11,500. (2010)

Honors and Awards

2011 – present  Elected Editorial Board Member, Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

2011 – present      Elected Editorial Board Member, Gender & Society.

2011 – 2013 Secretary-Treasurer, American Sociological Association, Medical Sociology Section.    

2008 – 2010  Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar, Columbia University.

Helene White

Helene White Helen R. White is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology with a joint appointment in the Sociology Department and the Center of Alcohol Studies. Her research focuses on the development, causes, consequences, comorbidity, and prevention of substance use and other problem behaviors (e.g., violence, delinquency, crime, and mental health problems) using longitudinal data from community and at-risk samples. Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since the late 1970s as well as by several foundations. Currently, she is co-Principal Investigator on an R01 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to conduct integrated data analysis of individual-level data from 24 studies of brief interventions designed to reduce heavy drinking and related problems among college students. She is also co-Principal Investigator on an R01 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse examining predictors and consequences of marijuana use trajectories from childhood into young adulthood. Dr. White also collaborates on several other longitudinal studies across the U.S. She has co-authored one book, co-edited three others, and published about 200 articles and chapters. In addition, Dr. White organized the founding of the Section on Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco of the American Sociological Association and was Chair of that section twice. She also serves on several journal Editorial Boards and regularly reviews grants for various NIH study sections.

Selected Publications

Lee, C. and White, H.R. 2012. "The Effects of Childhood Maltreatment on Violent Injuries and Premature Death During Young Adulthood Among Urban High-Risk Men." Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 166(9):814-820.

White, Helene R. and Rabiner, D. (Eds.). 2012. College Student Drinking and Drug Use. New York: Guilford Press.

White, Helene R. and Anne E. Ray. 2014. “Differential Evaluations of Alcohol-related Consequences Among Emerging Adults.” Prevention Science 15:115-124.


National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Diverging Marijuana Use Trajectories in Black & White Men: Antecedents & Outcomes.” Co-principal investigator with Dustin Pardini. April 2013-March 2016.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Innovative Analyses of Alcohol Intervention Trials for College Students. Co-principal investigator with Eun-Young Mun. April 2010-March 2015.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Persistence and Desistance in Heavy Drinking and Violence.”  Principal Investigator. June 2009-May 2012.

National Institute on Mental Health. “Center for Mental Health Services and Criminal Justice Research.” Research Director, Deputy Director, and Principal Investigator on pilot study. June 2008-May 2014.

Honors and Awards

Helene R. White is listed on the Web of Science ISI Highly Cited list.

In 2009 Helene R. White was listed as one of the Most Cited Authors 2006-2008, International Journal of Drug Policy.

In 2011, Helene R. White was promoted to Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University.

In 2013, Helene R. White was awarded the Translation Science Award from the Society for Prevention Research.

In 2014, Helene R. White was selected as a Fellow of the Society for Prevention Research.