Sociology of the Family

Sharon H. Bzostek Ph.D.

Cohort 16 — Harvard Alumni List
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Dr. Bzostek received her PhD in sociology from Princeton University in 2009. Her primary research interests are in the fields of family demography, childhood inequality, and health disparities. Current research projects include a study of differential self-rating of health by race/ethnicity, an analysis of child health disparities resulting from instability in family structure, a study of the patterns and consequences of health insurance coverage among children in the same family, and an investigation of differences in maternal and paternal reports of children’s health status.

Discipline: Sociology
		

Dalton Conley Ph.D.

Cohort 3 — Berkeley/UCSF Alumni List
Henry Putnam University Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Dr. Conley received his PhD in sociology from Columbia University in 1996 and a PhD in Biology (Genomics) from NYU in 2014. His research focuses on how socio-economic status and health are transmitted across generations and on the public policies that affect those processes. He studies sibling differences in socioeconomic success; racial inequalities; the measurement of class; and how health and biology affect (and are affected by) social position. His publications include Being Black, Living in the Red; The Starting GateHonky; The Pecking Order; You May Ask Yourself; and Parentology. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Russell Sage Foundation fellowships as well as a CAREER award and the Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Science Foundation.

 

His current work applies econometric methods for causal inference--namely, a natural experiment framework--to genome-wide data available in social surveys to model gene-by-environment interaction effects.  Examples in this vein include deploying the Vietnam draft lottery, twin differences in birth weight, exogenous job loss (such as plant closure), and sibling differences in genotype (polygenic scores) to questions of health, development and socioeconomic attainment across the life course.  I am also interested in mapping the genetic architecture of phenotypic plasticity, interrogating the assumptions underlying models for heritability, and characterizing social and genetic sorting as distinct processes.

Discipline: Sociology
		

Kimberly A. DaCosta Ph.D.

Cohort 7 — Yale Alumni List
Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Students, Department of Sociology
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
New York University, New York, NY

Dr. DaCosta received both her PhD and MA in Sociology from University of California-Berkeley, and a BA in Sociology from Harvard University. She is especially interested in the contemporary production of racial boundaries. Her book, Making Multiracials: State, Family, and Market in the Redrawing of the Color Line (Stanford University Press, 2007), explores the cultural and social underpinnings of the movement to create multiracial collective identity in the United States. She is currently working on a study of the advertising industry and the structural, economic and cultural dimensions of ethnic marketing. Before coming to NYU, Professor DaCosta taught in African American Studies and Social Studies at Harvard University. Professor DaCosta’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Advertising Educational Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She teaches courses on race in different societies, families, and consumerism in international perspective.

Discipline: Sociology
Health Policy Interests:
		

Brian Goesling Ph.D.

Cohort 10 — Michigan Alumni List
Associate Director of Human Services Research
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton, NJ

Dr.Goesling received his PhD in Sociology from the Pennsylvania State University. His expertise is in social programs and trends affecting families and youth. Dr. Goesling currently serves as project director for the Evaluation of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Approaches, a large, multisite random assignment evaluation of promising approaches to prevent teen pregnancy. He also directs a systematic evidence review of teen pregnancy prevention programs, serves as principal investigator for a large, multisite random assignment evaluation of healthy relationship programs for youth, and directs an ongoing cost study of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. He has published more than a dozen scholarly book chapters and journal articles, including articles in the Journal of Adolescent HealthJournal of Health and Social BehaviorAmerican Sociological ReviewAmerican Journal of Sociology, and Social Forces. He coauthored a recent report for the U.S. Department of Education on the largest experimental evaluation to date of the effectiveness of mandatory random student drug testing in U.S. high schools. He has also authored research on systematic reviews, teen pregnancy prevention, teenagers’ attitudes toward marriage, the links between marriage and health, and health care coverage among families with children. 

Discipline: Sociology
		

Kristen S. Harknett Ph.D.

Cohort 9 — Berkeley/UCSF Alumni List
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Harknett received her PhD in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University in 2002. Her research is motivated by the sociological contention that a person's social environment influences his or her most personal and important decisions, sometimes in ways that may not be apparent to the individuals involved. She demonstrates this idea by studying the role of context – city of residence, school, or labor market – in shaping romantic relationships. Her research shows that male shortages and weak labor markets act as impediments to stable romantic relationships. One innovation in her research is to demonstrate that male shortages matter not only during the process of searching for a romantic partner, but they also influence the dynamics and trajectories of relationships that have already formed. In a second line of research, she investigates the importance of “private safety nets” comprised of supportive family members and friends. In this research, she examines how social support is unevenly distributed across individuals, and the consequences of lacking social support. Some of the topics she explores include the bi-directional relationship between fertility and social support, the correlation between personal and social network disadvantages, and the relationship between social support and psychological and material well-being.

Discipline: Sociology
		

Christine M. Percheski Ph.D.

Cohort 15 — Harvard Alumni List
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Dr. Percheski received her PhD in Sociology at Princeton University. Dr. Percheski's studies how recent and ongoing changes in family life are related to changing patterns of social inequality in the United States. Her previous work has considered questions such as whether becoming a father affects employment differently for married and unmarried men, how increases in family income inequality are related to increasing women's employment and single motherhood, how employment patterns have changed across birth cohorts of college-educated women in professional occupations, and how childhood family experiences are associated with non-marital births during early adulthood. Percheski has also examined the relationship between family characteristics and social inequality  in several domains including poverty risk during the recent recession, health insurance coverage for adults, and health care utilization among children. Dr. Percheski's current research portfolio includes an NSF-funded examination of wealth inequality in the United States. In collaboration with Christina Gibson-Davis, Percheski is assessing trends in the wealth of households with children relative to the elderly, variations in wealth by family structure, and racial gaps in wealth poverty.

Discipline: Sociology