Dale Dannefer


The SAGE Handbook of Social Gerontology
Dannefer, D. and Phillipson, C. (Editors)
Sage Publications Ltd, 2010


This volume reflects the emergence of ageing as a global concern, including chapters by international scholars from Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. The subject matter deals with one of the most challenging issues for societies in the 21st Century, namely, the social, economic and cultural changes associated with individual ageing and the rapidly growing reality of the human populations. It provides a comprehensive overview of key trends and issues in the field, drawing upon the full range of social science disciplines. The book is organized into five parts, each exploring different aspects of research into social aspects of ageing; disciplinary overviews, social relationships and social differences, individual characteristics and change in later life, comparative perspectives and cultural innovations, and policy issues. Essential reading for all students, researchers, and policy-makers concerned with the major issues influencing the lives of older people across the globe.



Age and Sociological Explanation: Explaining Horizons in the Study of Aging and the Life Course
Dannefer, D. and Phillipson, C. (Editors)
Contemporary Sociology 42(6): 793-800, 2013

This article provides a review of the best books in the field of age and life course studies since the year 2000.  After beginning with a recognition of the promise brought by the growing awareness of the power of social forces to shape individual aging that began to be recognized half a century ago, the field has for some time avoided a serious intellectual confrontation with the implications of those early insights - such as cohort analysis and the implications of constructivism - for the sociology of aging and the life course.  Nevertheless, several books that do provide rays of intellectual hope in pointing the way forward are identified and reviewed.  Within this set of seven monographs, various layers of theoretical awareness and critique can be distinguished. 



Culture Change in Long-term Care: Participatory Action Research and the Role of the Resident

Shura, Robin; Siders, Rebecca Ann; Dannefer, Dale
The Gerontologist 51: 212-225, 2011


This volume reflects the emergence of ageing as a global concern, including chapters by international scholars from Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. The subject matter deals with one of the most challenging issues for societies in the 21st Century, namely, the social, economic and cultural changes associated with individual ageing and the rapidly growing reality of the human populations. It provides a comprehensive overview of key trends and issues in the field, drawing upon the full range of social science disciplines. The book is organized into five parts, each exploring different aspects of research into social aspects of ageing; disciplinary overviews, social relationships and social differences, individual characteristics and change in later life, comparative perspectives and cultural innovations, and policy issues. Essential reading for all students, researchers, and policy-makers concerned with the major issues influencing the lives of older people across the globe.



Enriching the tapestry, Expanding the scope: Comment on Alwin’s treatment of life course concepts
Dannefer, D.

Journal of Gerontology Social Sciences 67b: 221-225, 2012


Although the treatment of the life course presented by Duane Alwin encompasses a remarkable array of terms drawn from North American perspectives on age and the life course, to it must be added a second major set of conceptions revolving around the idea of the life course as a social institution.  While an embryonic version of this idea is present in the early writings of the American scholars Cain and Riley, it has been mainly regarded as a European tradition, with its fullest and most forceful articulation in the writings of Martin Kohli.   The institutionalized life course represents a major paradigmatic axis for sociological analysis.  It opens up a broad and still-expanding set of questions about how individual lives are shaped by socially organized, age-related expectations, which are supported by an array of forces including legal-bureaucratic and organizational rules, media narratives and informal expectations.  Any adequate account of life-course concepts must include such a perspective.



Theorizing the Life Course: New Twists in the Paths
Dannefer, D.
In Handbook of Theories of Aging (Second Edition), edited by Vern L. Bengston, Daphna Gans, Norella M. Putney, and Merril Silverstein, 2009



The Waters We Swim: Everyday Social Processes, Macrostructural Realities, and Human Aging
Dannefer, D.
In Social Structures and Aging Individuals- Continuing Challenges, edited by K. Warner Schaie and Ronald P. Abeles, 2008

Homo sapiens as a species is distinct in the degree to which individual development and aging are shaped by experience. This is accounted for by specific features of human physical and mental development, including exterogestation and neoteny. It is understandable that we are generally unaware of the profound dependency of human nature on social context, since each of us typically grows up in a local setting of taken-for-granted and largely unreflective routines. Processes of individual development and aging occur gradually over long sweeps of time, and rarely are experienced directly as change. It has been said that “we don't know who discovered water, but we're certain it wasn't a fish.”. The everyday social relations that comprise the invisible and unnoticed “water we swim” shape human development and aging, but are also at the same time themselves constituted through human action. This dialectical interrelation raises the question of the relation of how to conceptualize the relation of individual human beings and the social institutions and practices. Two models for approaching this relationship are presented the accommodationist and constitutionalist models. In studies of aging, the systematic operation of social-structural processes have often been overlooked because of the tendency to link individual-level change and demographic analyses of population change, both of which omit analysis of the everyday operations of social-interactional dynamics and social institutions. 



The Missing Person: Some Limitations in the Contemporary Study of Cognitive Aging
Dannefer, D. (with Patterson, R.)
In Handbook of Cognitive Aging- Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by S. Hofer and D. Alwin, 2008

In this paper, we argue that the challenge posed by cohort analysis has yet to be fully engaged by much of the research on cognitive aging. The problems opened up by cohort analysis demonstrate the social basis for much of the age-related and intracohort variation in cognitive performance, and point to the need for a social-constitutive paradigm that would help identify the multiple levels and types of social influence on cognitive outcomes across the life course. While the discovery of cohort analysis implied a clear need for a paradigmatic change in the understanding of age, the dominant reaction of the field has been “damage control”, attempting to protect as much as possible the ontogenetic view of age-related change. We discuss two forms of damage control, containment and abandonment. We then show how the strong recent interest in the concept of ergodicity also implies the need for paradigm change. In the final section, we point out the lack of attention to distinctly human aspects of cognition (e.g., creativity, imagination, wisdom) in most studies of cognitive aging. Such dimensions of cognitive performance are obviously central important in understanding human aging and may, at least for considerable segment of the life course, have the potential systematically to increase with age. 



Reciprocal Co-optation: Reflections on the Interface Between Critical Theory and Social Gerontology
Dannefer, D.
In Aging, Globalization and Inequality: The New Critical Gerontology, edited by Baars, J., Dannefer, D., Phillipson, C. and Walker, A., 2006

The relationship between age and critical theory may be characterized as a relation of reciprocal co-optation. By co-optation I mean that an idea or principle is accepted, but is reframed to fit within the assumptions of one or more preexisting paradigms. Therefore, its power is diluted at the same time that it is heralded as a new contribution. When co-optation is reciprocal, it of course poses a double challenge. This chapter suggests that such a condition of reciprocal co-optation has characterized the relation between age and critical theory. The co-optation of critical theory by the wider discourse in social gerontology has occurred by reducing the scope and meaning of the term; the co-optation of social gerontology by critical theory has occurred by the focus on issues of political economy rather than the more vexing issues of alienation, meaning and mortality.

Cumulative Advantage, and the Life Course: Cross-Fertilizing Age and Social Science Knowledge
Dannefer, D.
Journal of Gerontology 58b: S327-S337, 2003

Age and cumulative advantage/disadvantages theory have obvious logical, theoretical, and empirical connections, because both are inherently and irreducibly related to the passage of time. Over the past 15 years, these connections have resulted in the elaboration and application of the cumulative advantage-disadvantage perspective in social gerontology, especially in relation to issues of heterogeneity and inequality. However, its theoretical origins, connections, and implications are not widely understood. This articles reviews the genesis of the cumulative advantage/disadvantage perspective in studies of science, it initial articulation with structural-functionalism, and its expanding importance for gerontology. It discusses its intellectual relevance for several other established theoretical paradigms in sociology, psychology, and economics. On the basis of issues deriving from these perspectives and from the accumulating body of work on cumulative advantage and disadvantage, I identify several promising directions for further research in gerontology.

Toward a Global Geography of the Life Course: Challenges of Late Modernity to the Life Course Perspective 
Dannefer, D.
In Handbook of the Life Course, edited by J.T. Mortimer and M.Shanahan, 2003

The life course is a term that refers both to a phenomenon and to a theoretical perspective. As a phenomenon, the life course has often referred to the trajectories and transitions resulting that have come to be associated with the “three boxes of life”, or the institutionalized life course of late modernity. As the destructuring and deinstitutionalizing forces celebrated by postmodernism advance and as awareness of global diversity in life course patterns increases and as the rapid social change associated with globalization develops, the life course as phenomenon becomes increasingly challenging to describe in any unitary or coherent fashion. This circumstance also has implications for life course as a theory or strategy of explanation. A prototypical explanatory strategy of life-course work is the idea that early life experiences predict later life outcomes. Yet this idea has been demonstrated mainly in the context of the relatively stable and prosperous late-20th century economies of the USA and Europe. A global geography of the life course provides the foundation for a fuller examination the life course as phenomenon, as it can illuminate the extent to which the “institutionalization” hypothesis can account for the age-graded sequence of social roles. It also provides a fuller examination of the life course as a strategy of explanation, specifically of the basic hypothesis that early events predict later outcomes under a much wider range of social conditions in adulthood.

When social conditions during one's adulthood years are less stable, predictable and orderly than has been the case in this relatively stable period, will early life experience continue to have a measurable effect on outcomes?


Gary Deimling


Correlated and Coupled Trajectories of Cancer-Related Worries and Symptoms among Long-Term Cancer Survivors
Kypriotakis, George; Deimlng, Gary; Hofer, Scott; Piccinin, Andrea
Behavioral Medicine (forthcoming 2014)



Adaptation and adjustment to cancer in later life: a conceptual model
Deimling, G., Kahana, M., Bowman, K
Cancer and Aging, edited by K. M. Bellizzi and M. Goseny. Wiley-Blackwell. 2012


This chapter entitled ”Adaptation and Adjustment to Cancer by Older Adults”,  examines  two related questions.  The first is exactly what do we mean by “adaptation” and “adjustment” to cancer. The second question is how do we conceptualize aging and older adulthood in relationship to cancer adaptation or adjustment?   This chapter considers possible answers to both of these questions and discusses alternative approaches to adaptation and adjustment with a focus on older adult cancer patients and survivors.   A conceptual model is presented that identifies the factors that represent adaptation and adjustment to cancer that are most relevant for older adults who have been diagnosed and treated for this disease.  This model is then used to organize a review of research findings from the recent aging and oncology literatures related to the conceptual model.  In this review we integrate research findings from our own NCI funded study on “The Quality of Life of Older-adult, Long-term Cancer Survivors”.



Determinants of Altered Life Perspectives Among Older-Adult Long-term Cancer Survivors
Kahana, Boaz, Kahana, Eva, Deimling, Gary T., Sterns, Samantha, VanGunten, Madeline
Cancer Nursing 34(3): 209-218, 2011


Objective: Consistent with nursing researchers' views about the duality of cancer survivor experiences, this research examined both positive and negative posttraumatic transformations (PTTs) among long-term survivors. Demographic, stress, and appraisal-related predictors of transformations were considered   Conclusion: Many long-term older cancer survivors report PTT reflecting altered perspectives on life. Posttraumatic transformations are related to the view that cancer is a continuing worrisome and stigmatizing experience. Implications for Practice: Nurses have a unique opportunity to discuss with patients the potentially life-changing nature of the cancer experience in a manner that allows for understanding and acceptance of complex changes, incorporating benefit finding along with acknowledgement of loss and suffering. This type of discussion can enhance cancer survivors' mental health. (C) 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.



Primary Care Physicians’ Involvement in the Cancer Care of Older Long-Term Survivors
Bowman, Karen F., Rose, Julia H., Deimling, Gary T., Kypriotakis, George, O’Toole, Elizabeth E.
Journal of Aging and Health 22(5): 673-686, 2010


Objective: This study investigated survivors’ reports of primary care physicians’ (PCPs) involvement in three key cancer survivorship activities: discussing cancer history, whether the PCP initiated discussions, and whether discussions led to tests/procedures  Results: Nearly two thirds of survivors indicated discussing cancer history; most said discussions were PCP initiated and nearly half said discussions resulted in tests/procedures. Predictors of discussing cancer history were African American race and more comorbid conditions. PCP-initiated discussions were related to older age, surviving breast cancer, more years in the PCP’s practice, and having less general health worry. The tests/procedures model was not significant. Conclusions: As older survivors focused more on other health concerns, PCPs remained attentive to cancer issues, prompting discussions about history and ordering tests.


Functioning of Older, Long-Term Cancer Survivors: The Role of Cancer and Comorbidities
Deimling, G.T., Arendt, Jacquelyn A., Kypriotakis, George, Bowman, Karen F.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society  57(s2):  S289-S292, 2009


Objective: To examine the relative effect of comorbidities, noncancer symptoms, and cancer-related factors on the functioning of older adult long-term survivors of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers. Conclusion: These findings indicate the importance of monitoring cancer-related characteristics along with comorbidities and noncancer symptoms in long-term survivors because they jointly affect overall physical functioning. Special attention needs to be given to women and minority cancer survivors as well.



Cancer Survivorship and Aging
Avis, Nancy E. and Deimling, Gary T.
Cancer 113: 3519-3529, 2008


Cancer is primarily a disease of the elderly. Greater than 60% of new cancers occur in people aged >65 years, and 60% of the current 10 million cancer survivors are aged ≥65 years. Given these large numbers and the potential vulnerability of older adults, older cancer survivors have become an especially important group to study. This article discusses published research on the physical and mental functioning of older cancer survivors. In the first part, the authors reviewed studies of those who are newly diagnosed at the age of ≥65 years. The second part reviewed the research regarding long-term (≥5 years) cancer  survivors who are aged >65 years, but may have been diagnosed at a younger age. Older survivors are likely to be more affected by cancer in terms of physical than psychologic function. However, comparisons with individuals without a history of cancer  suggest that older cancer survivors may be faring worse physically and psychologically than noncancer comparison groups. For older cancer survivors, cancer occurs against a background of other chronic conditions and normal aging, and comorbidities and symptoms are important factors to consider. Limitations of the research were discussed, and recommendations for future research were provided. In particular, prospective studies with measures of functioning before cancer diagnosis and treatment, comparisons with age-matched noncancer populations, and interventions to reduce the impact of cancer on functioning are needed.Cancer 2008;113(12 suppl):3519-29. © 2008 American Cancer Society.


Functioning and Activity Participation Restrictions among Older Adult, Long-Term Cancer Survivors
Deimling, G.T., Sterns, S., Bowman, K.F. and Kahana, B.
Cancer Investigation, 25: 1-11, 2007

This research examines how cancer and treatment sequelae combine with comorbidities to influence the physical functioning and activity participation restrictions reported by older adult, long-term survivors of breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. The number of current comorbidities was the best predictor of functional difficulties and also a significant predictor of participation restrictions. Cancer stage at diagnosis and continuing cancer symptoms had direct effects on functional difficulties, and indirect effects through functional difficulties on participation restrictions.

Appraisal of the Cancer Experience by Family Members and Survivors in Long-Term Survivorship
Bowman, K.F., Rose, J.H. and Deimling, G.T.
Psycho-Oncology, 15(9): 143-159, 2006

The focus of this research is to discover the dynamics of appraisal of cancer experience in long-term survivorship. Also, it examines the convergence/divergence of this experience between older survivors and family members. Beliefs about the effect of the diagnosis and treatment on family members were important correlates for both family members and survivors in the appraisal process. Cancer characteristics were not related to appraisal for survivors, but stage at diagnosis was associated with a more stressful appraisal for family members.

Cancer-Related Health Worries and Psychological Distress Among Older Adult, Long-Term Cancer Survivors
Deimling, G.T., Bowman, K.F., Sterns, S., Wagner, L.G. and Kahana. B.
Psycho-Oncology, 15(4): 306-320, 2006

This paper examines the cancer-related health worries of older adults and the role that these health worries play in predicting psychological distress, anxiety and depression. About one-third of survivors continue to report worries about recurrence, worries about a second cancer, and worries that symptoms that they experience may be from cancer. The regression analyses show that cancer-related health worries is a significant predictor of both depression and anxiety. Race is s significant predictor; being African American is related to fewer cancer-related health worries. Having more symptoms during treatment is also a predictor of have more cancer-related worries.

Coping Among Older-Adult, Long-Term Cancer Survivors
Deimling, G.T., Wagner, L.G., Bowman, K.F., Sterns, S., Kercher, K. and Boaz Kahana
Psycho-Oncology, 15(2): 143-159, 2006

This research looks into the coping characteristics of older-adult long-term cancer survivors. It examines the effect of personal and illness-treatment characteristics on developing and maintaining coping styles. The most prominent forms of coping used by long-term survivors were planning and acceptance; least used were venting and denial. Increased age was associated with the lower use of all forms of coping, but cancer-type was not. Denial as a form of coping was associated with higher anxiety, depression and cancer-related worries. While race was not found to be a significant predictor of coping style, it was a significant predictor of three dimensions of psychological distress, anxiety, depression and cancer-related worries, with African Americans exhibiting lower levels of distress than Whites. The relevance of these findings for health and social service practitioners is discussed.

The Health of Older-Adult, Long-term Cancer Survivors
Deimling, G.T., Sterns, S., Bowman, K.F. and Kahana, B.
Cancer Nursing, 28(6): 415-424, 2005

This research examines the cancer-related health problems that persist for decades among cancer survivors. Various dimensions such as race and sex as well as type of cancer were incorporated in the analyses. Close to half of survivors in this research continue to have at least one symptom attributed to cancer/treatment and a few reported three for more continuing symptoms. Pain was the most commonly reported symptom attributing it to cancer. Almost half of breast cancer survivors reported experiencing pain, and nearly one third of prostate cancer survivors reported pain. Being African American or female was significantly associated with more current symptoms and greater functional difficulty. Survivors who had the most types of treatment and those who had chemotherapy reported significantly more symptoms both during treatment and currently.



Mary Erdmans


Title IX and the School Experiences of Pregnant and Mothering Students

Erdmans, Mary Patrice

Humanity & Society 36(1): 50-75. 2012


This paper examines why pregnant and mothering students did or did not stay in high school to see whether schools violated Title IX legislation by not providing equal educational opportunities. Examining life-story interviews conducted in 2002-2004 with 62 black, white, and Latina pregnant and mothering students in Connecticut, I found that: 1) while school policies and faculty were often hostile and unreceptive, mothers who dropped out were usually disengaged from school before pregnancy; 2) the presence or absence of school-based day care was a critical factor in school outcomes; and 3) alternative programs for pregnant and mothering students were experienced differently depending on whether students came from urban or non-urban school districts. In conclusion, I argue that when our attention shifts from teen mothers to the problems of underfunded and overburdened schools, we are confronted with the larger systemic problems of economic and racial segregation and consequently educational inequality.



The Problems of Articulating Beingness in Women’s Oral Histories

Erdmans, Mary Patrice

In Oral History: The Challenges of Dialogue, ed. Marta Kurkowska-Budzan and Krzysztof Zamorski, 87-97. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. 2009


Based on an analysis of women’s oral histories, this article examines the problem of articulating motherhood.  Despite the fact that motherhood was a primary identity, their self-reflections on being mothers were circumscribed for several reasons. First, the omnipresent and ethereal nature of the mother identity make it difficult to capture in words. Moreover, everyday routines are taken for granted and less visible unless they become problematic. Finally, activities in the public sphere are perceived as more significant and worth discussing than those performed in the private sphere. In sum, when using oral histories to document the lives of marginalized populations, it is important to consider how the subordinate position influences the content and form of the narrative.



The Personal is Political but is It Academic: Women’s life stories and oral histories

Erdmans, Mary Patrice

Journal of American Ethnic History 26(4): 7-23, 2007


The article provides an interdisciplinary overview of narrative methods as employed in the social sciences. Examining the history of narrative methods (life stories, oral histories, personal narratives), I explore their place in academic journals. Narratives are useful counterparts to positivist-based social science in several ways: they stress the importance of intersubjectivity and reflexivity in social science research, the grapple with the tension inherent in the politics of representation, and they critique traditional scholars for obscuring, talking over, and speaking for the people they are studying. The issue that I address in this paper is when do narratives lose their academic moorings. I argue that when they privilege the individual and eclipse the social, when they focus on description and forgo analysis, and when they let the people ‘speak for themselves’ but lose their own social science voice then they are more suitable for non-academic journals.



 The Poles, the Dutch, and the Grand Rapids Furniture Strike of 1911

 Erdmans, Mary Patrice

Polish American Studies 62:(2): 5-22, 2005


The Poles and the Dutch lived on opposite sides of the river, they attended different churches on Sunday, and they went their separate ways on Friday evenings, but on Monday mornings they both showed up to work at the same furniture factories. And in April of 1911, they were the majority of the 4,000 plus upholsterers, carvers, finishers, machine hands, trimmers, packers, and cabinet makers who walked off their jobs and shut down the furniture industry in Grand Rapid.


This unity lasted about four months. By the end of summer, capital remained organized and unified while labor was fractured along ethno-religious fault lines and unsupported by unions. The Poles and the Dutch remained divided at the river that gave Grand Rapids its name. There were a few concessions made to the workers such as a nine-hour work day, but not a pay raise, and more important, labor remained unorganized for another twenty-five years. Unions eventually came to the industry when the United Automobile Workers organized the Royal Furniture Company in 1937.  At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, ethnicity conflated with religion divided workers and the unions were not willing, nor strong enough, to promote labor solidarity.                           



Looking for Angel:  White Working-Class Women Lost between Identities

Erdmans, Mary Patrice

Race, Gender & Class 11(4): 48-62, 2004


While the racial bias in classical feminist theory has been corrected, the class bias of these middle-class theories still needs to be addressed. In this article, I argue that there has been a neglect of the culture of white working-class women in gender studies. First, when scholars study white women, the privilege of whiteness tends to overshadow class differences. Second, when class is discussed, it is more likely to be the poor class or middle class, with the working class folded into one of these bimodal humps. Third, working-class behavior is examined mostly in the work place where class identities rather than gender are emphasized. Moreover, white working-class women’s lives are anchored as much in the home as they are in the workplace. Ignoring this private sphere limits our understanding of how gender identities are classed.



The Grasinski Girls: The Choices They Had and the Choices They Made

Erdmans, Mary Patrice

Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2004


The Grasinski Girls are working-class Americans of Polish descent, born in the 1920s and 1930s, who created lives typical of women in their day. They went to high school, married, and had children. For the most part, they stayed home to raise their children. And they were happy doing that. They took care of their appearance and their husbands, who took care of them. Like most women of their generation, they did not join the women’s movement, and today they either reject or shy away from feminism. Based on life-story interviews with five sisters, this study explores the private lives of white, Christian women in the post–World War II generation. Expanding Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of habitus to include gendered routines, the analysis focuses on the ways that social location shaped the choices they were given as well as the choices they made, and examines the complexity of ordinary lives, exposing privileges taken for granted as well as nuances of oppression often overlooked.



Portraits of Emigration: Sour Milk and Honey in the Promised Land

Erdmans, Mary Patrice

Sociological Inquiry 69(3): 337-363, 1999


 This article analyzes the moral tones of public emigration stories through an exploratory analysis of newspaper stories published between 1990 and 1993 in a region in Poland with a century-old tradition of out-migration. Media stories are fertile ground for examining values and myths because they negotiate between the micro-level process of individuals constructing meanings and the macro-level process of political economies producing meanings. I identified two sets of contradictory stories: (1) stories about the sending country cast emigrants as either home builders or home wreckers, and (2) stories about the receiving country depicted America as either Horatio Alger's land of possibility or a morally degenerate place where greed corrupts the soul. To explain these contradictions, I compare the institution of migration to postmodern culture and note that both contribute to social diversity, structural differentiation, and value inconsistencies.



Opposite Poles: Immigrants and Ethnics in Polish Chicago, 1976-1990 

Erdmans, Mary Patrice

University Park, PA:  Penn State Press, 1998


This book examines the relations and divisions between new Polish immigrants and established Polish American ethnics in Chicago, the largest Polish community outside of Warsaw. During the 1980s a new cohort of Polish immigrants from communist Poland, including many refugees from the Solidarity movement, joined the Polish American ethnics already settled in Chicago. The two groups shared an ancestral homeland, social space in Chicago, and the common goal of wanting to see Poland become an independent noncommunist nation. These common factors made the groups believe they ought to work together and help each other; but they were more often at opposite poles. The specious solidarity led to contentious conflicts as the groups competed for political and cultural ownership of the community. The intracommunity conflict demonstrates the importance of distinguishing between immigrants and ethnics in American ethnic studies. While a common ancestral heritage creates the potential for ethnic allegiance, it is not a sufficient condition for collective action. The study focuses on the period of 1976-1990 -- the rise of Solidarity and collapse of communism -- and uses data from interviews, participant observation, surveys, organizational archives, and the ethnic press.



Nielegalni imigranci I domowa opieka pielegniarska: Pozarynkowe warunki osiagania zadowolenia z pracy.” (“Illegal Immigrant Home Care Workers: Non-market Conditions of Job Satisfaction.”)

Erdmans, Mary Patrice

Przeglad Polonijny  22(2): 53-69.  Krakow, Poland: Jagiellonian University, 1996


Based on interviews with 35 Polish immigrants in Chicago, this study examines job satisfaction among illegal immigrants working as home care (HC) providers for the elderly.  The article first explains why returning to the home country obviates the negative conditions of the HC market.  It then explores two conditions related to worker satisfaction: freedom of space and time, and inclusive kinship relations. It also identifies a reciprocal relation between satisfaction and time such that satisfaction affects tenure, and is also an effect of tenure. Finally, the article analyzes the effects of self-employment, illegal status and foreign-born status on worker satisfaction.



Brian Gran

The Handbook of Sociology and Human Rights 
Brunsma, David L.; Smith, Keri E. Iyall; Gran, Brian K.. (Editors)
Paradigm Publishers, 2013

Link to Table of Contents

Link to Book Detail/Paradigm Publishers


Social Policy Puzzles: Reconsidering the Public-Private Dichotomy in Health and Pension Policies 
Béland, D. and Gran, B. (Editors)
New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, Forthcoming, 2008

In affluent democracies, the welfare state often shares responsibilities with private institutions. Does public-private welfare provision vary across countries and, if so, how? Although scholars have long paid attention to these crucial questions, comparative research can offer unique insights to understanding the changing boundaries between the public and private spheres' efforts to provide social benefits. Such knowledge is especially important now, as pushes for privatization and market-based social protection are strengthening in a number of advanced industrial societies. This book makes contributes to current debates by offering comprehensive analyses of the public-private dichotomy for social policies across four continents. It innovatively unites systematic quantitative analyses and qualitative, case studies of the public-private dichotomy for health and pension policies. This book underlines the complex nature of the public-private dichotomy for social policy. 


The Rights of the Child
Gran, B.
In The Leading Rogue State: The US and Human Rights edited by Judith Blau, J., Moncada, A., Zimmer, C. and Brunsma, D. To be published by Paradigm Publishers

This chapter argues that the United States is a rogue state when it comes to children's rights. The U.S. government is one of only two in the world not to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. What legal changes would need to take place for the United States to meet this Convention?

A Second Opinion: Rethinking the Public-Private Dichotomy for Health Insurance
Gran, B.
International Journal of Health Services 33(2): 283-313, 2003

Does the public-private dichotomy effectively describe health insurance systems in the advanced industrialized democracies? Is the boundary separating the public and private sectors accurate for studies of social policy formation and cutback? This article has three goals. The first is to discuss reasons for reconsidering the pubic-private dichotomy, as it applies to health insurance systems. The second is to offer a reconceptualization of the public-private demarcation useful for analyses of health insurance systems; the author presents four sectors that may illuminate patters of health insurance for different OECD countries; the social, individual, public, and market sectors. The third goal is to present results using a new methodological approach useful for studying complex social phenomena: the fuzzy-set approach, which allows researchers to treat social phenomena as partially belonging to more than one category. This approach is employed to demonstrate that health insurance provision rarely is solely public or private, but is formed by a combination of sectors. Underlying these three goals is the contention that comparative and historical sociological researchers can offer innovative approaches to the study of health insurance and the interests served by public and nonpublic health insurance programs through reconceiving the public-private dichotomy.

The Office of the Children's Ombudsperson: Children's Rights and Social-Policy Innovation
Gran, B. and Aliberti, D.
International Journal of the Sociology of Law 31(2): 89-106, 2003

A potential key to the future of children's rights is the ombudsperson. In 1981, Norway became the first government to establish an office of a children's ombudsperson, which has statutory powers to protect children and enforce their rights. This paper represents the first cross-national analysis of the offices of children's ombudsperson. We employ Qualitative Comparative Analysis, which is based on Boolean algebra, to examine explanations why a national office of children's ombudsperson has or has not been established in 193 countries up to the year 2000. Our research suggests social policy innovations responds to need and is contingent on country wealth, but is mediated by either strong political rights or subscription to international treaties. This work indicates future research should consider subsequent establishment of offices of children's ombudsperson and the rights of children an ombudsperson seeks to enforce.




Susan Hinze


Can We Capture the Intersections? Older Black Women, Education and Health

Hinze, Susan W.; Lin, Jielu;  Andersson, Tanetta

Women’s Health Issues 22(1):91-98, 2012

Despite the fact that persistent health inequalities are found between groups, we know little about how the interrelatedness of these social positions influences the health of older adults. In this study, we apply a feminist intersectional approach to the study of health inequalities, treating social variables as multiplicative rather than additive to capture the mutually constitutive dimensions of race/ethnicity, gender, and education. Using the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a nationally representative sample of 3,005 community-dwelling U.S. adults aged 57 to 85 years old, we confirm that Black women with less than a high school education have the poorest self-rated health. We also find highly educated White men are not the converse of lower educated Black women. Finally, we find being Black and female has an effect on health beyond those already accounted for by race and gender. This research demonstrates the explanatory power of an intersectionality approach to deepen understanding of the overlapping, simultaneous production of health inequalities by race, class, and gender.




Medical Sociology Through the Lens of Human Rights

Susan W. Hinze and Heidi Taylor

Pp. 118-128 in  Handbook of Sociology and Human Rights, edited by David Brunsma, Brian Gran and Keri Iyall. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers. 2012

Medical sociology is uniquely positioned to lay bare the ways in which myriad inequities around the world strip individuals, and particularly the disenfranchised, of their basic right to health and well-being. By making the case for a right to health, the right to health care and the right to autonomy from medical sovereignty, medical sociologists can help lay a solid foundation for the human rights paradigm.




Hurt Running from Police? No Chance of (Pain) Relief: The Social Construction of Deserving Patients in Emergency Departments

Hinze, Susan W.; Webster, Noah J.; Chirayath, Heidi T.; Tamayo-Sarver, Joshua H.

Research in the Sociology of Health Care,  27: 235-261. 2009

Do physician perceptions of patient “deservingness” factor into the decision to prescribe opioid analgesics? Using a data set of 398 physicians randomly selected from the American College of Emergency Physicians membership list, we explore how a range of patient social context variables influence a physician’s decision to prescribe opioids for three conditions: ankle fracture, back pain, and migraine headache. Being hurt running from the police, former and current drug or alcohol use, and frequent ER visits reduce the likelihood of opioid prescription. Having a reliable relationship with a primary care provider, and being injured in a ladder fall or intramural collegiate basketball game increase the likelihood of opioid prescription. Factor analyses for each of the three conditions reveal two scales: socially stigmatizing characteristics and socially accepted characteristics. Discussion centers on what places people at risk for inadequate pain control. Our work contributes to the expanding literature on social conditions as a fundamental cause of illness.




Rapid Clinical Decision-Making in Context: A Theoretical Model to Understand Physicians' Decision-Making with an Application to Racial/Ethnic Treatment Disparities
Tamayo-Sarver, J. H., Dawson, N.V., Hinze, S.W., Cydulka, R.K., Wigton, R.S., Ibrahim, S.A. and Baker, D.W. Research in the Sociology of Health Care (Health Services, Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Underserved Populations: Patient and Provider Perspectives), 23: 183-213, 2005

The purpose of this paper is to draw on previous work in multiple disciplines to establish a theoretical framework for clinical decision-making that incorporates non-medical factors, such as race/ethnicity, into the way physicians make decisions in the practice of medicine. The proposed Rapid Clinical Decision in Context (RCDC) model attempts to understand the influence of various contextual elements on physicians' decision-making process. The RCDC model provides a basis for future studies to move beyond documentation of areas where disparities exist to understanding the causes of the disparities and designing interventions to address those causes. The paper concludes with a discussion of possible studies to test the proposed model.


‘Am I Being Over-Sensitive?' Women's Experience of Sexual Harassment in Medical Training
Hinze, S.W.
Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine, 8(1): 125-151, 2004

Despite larger numbers of women in medicine and strong statements against harassment and gender discrimination in written policies and the medical literature, sexual harassment persists in medical training. This study examines the everyday lives of women and men resident physicians to understand the context within which harassment unfolds. The narratives explored here reveal how attention is deflected from the problem of sexual harassment through a focus on women's ‘sensitivity.' Women resist by refusing to name sexual harassment as problematic, and by defining sexual harassment as ‘small stuff' in the context of a demanding and rigorous training program. Ultimately, both tactics of resistance fail. Following Dorothy Smith (1987), I argue that closer examination of the relations shaping and determining everyday actions is key. The rigid hierarchy of authority and power in medical training should be viewed through a gender lens. I conclude with a discussion of how reforms in medical education must tend to the gendered, everyday realities of women and men in training.


Women, Men, Career and Family in the U.S. Young Physician Labor Force
Hinze, S.W.
Research in the Sociology of Work (Diversity in the Workforce), 14: 185-217, 2004

Drawing upon the 5% Public-Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses (with comparisons to the 1980 Census through the work of Uhlenberg and Cooney, 1990), this paper examines the changing characteristics of the U.S. young physician labor force (age 30-49). Currently, over 45% of medical degrees are earned by women, but gendered work-family patterns persist. Measures examined include income, hourly wages, mean work hours, part-time and overtime work, practice setting, marital status, and children. For a sub-sample of physicians married to physicians, I also examine income and work hour differentials. Close attention is paid to whether a marriage premium and/or a motherhood penalty in wages exists and persists over time. Implications of the documented workforce diversity are discussed for organizations within which physicians are employed. 


Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Emergency Department Analgesic Prescription
Sarver, J.H., Hinze, S.W., Cydulka, R.K. and Baker, D.W.
American Journal of Public Health, 93(12): 2067-2073, 2003

The purpose of this paper was to examine racial and ethnic disparities in analgesic prescription among a national sample of emergency department patients. Black, Latino, and White patients in the 1997-1999 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys were analyzed to compare prescription of any analgesics and opioid analgesics by race/ethnicity. For any analgesic, no association was found between race and prescription; opioids, however, were less likely to be prescribed to Blacks than to Whites with migraines and back pain, though race was not significant for patients with long bone fractures. Differences in opioid use between Latinos and Whites with the same conditions were less and nonsignificant. In conclusion, physicians were less likely to prescribe opioids to Blacks; this disparity appears greatest for conditions with fewer objective findings (e.g., migraine).

Inside Medical Marriages: The Effect of Gender on Income
Hinze, S.W.
Work and Occupations, 27(4): 464-499, 2000

Past research on the gender gap in physician incomes suggests that young male physicians outearn young female physicians because they are located in more lucrative specialties and practices and work longer hours. In this paper, I present data on 321 physicians married to physicians and incorporate a range of variables not usually included in studies of income disparities. Besides traditional human capital and structural labor market variables, I include family context measures which prove significant for understanding why women earn less. The findings challenge support for the meritocratic view of the pay gap and call our attention to the importance of the work-family interface in studies of physician income. 


Gender and the Body of Medicine or at Least Some Body Parts: (Re)constructing the Prestige Hierarchy of Medical Specialties
Hinze, S.W.
The Sociological Quarterly, 40(2): 217-239, 1999

Understanding the disproportionate location of women physicians in lower status medical specialties necessitates knowing how women and men view the prestige hierarchy of specialties. Previous research on status ranking has been largely quantitative and based upon male respondents. Using narratives from face-to-face interviews with male and female resident physicians, this study finds that, although residents are fairly consistent in their rankings, women were more likely to resist the concept of a prestige hierarchy. In addition to explicit dimensions conferring prestige are implicit justifications grounded in the physician's body. Specifically, high prestige is associated with active interventionist hands and “balls,” body parts that I argue are not gender neutral. The findings shift the focus from individual-level gender differences toward a gendered examination of the medical specialty hierarchy. The physicians interviewed here give voice to the silent, symbolic, embodied work of gender that shapes the structure of medical specialties into a ladder with a masculine top and a feminine bottom, regardless of whether male or female bodies occupy the rungs.




Eva Kahana


Defining Successful Aging: A Tangible or Elusive Concept

Martin, Peter; Kelly,  Norene;  Kahana, Boaz; Kahana, Eva; Willcox, Bradley J.; Willcox, D. Craig; Poon, Leonard W.

The Gerontologist 00(00): 1-12, 2014.


Everyone wants to age successfully; however, the definition and criteria of successful aging remain vague for laypersons, researchers, and policymakers in spite of decades of research on the topic. This paper undertook a thorough review and evaluation of the literature and highlighted work of scholars who made significant theoretical contributions to the topic.  Historical perspectives reached back to philosophical and religious texts, and more recent approaches have focused on both process- and outcome-oriented models of successful aging.



Baby Boomers’ Expectations of Health and Medicine

Eva Kahana and Boaz Kahana

Virtual Mentor 16(5): 380-384, 2014


As large numbers of baby boomers cross into old age, there will be greater demands for chronic health care and for meeting the special needs posed by the “graying” of disability. Baby boomers are different from the generations that preceded them; they are more savvy, assertive, health-conscious, and engaged in their care.


The authors’ recent research has involved interventions to encourage older adults to be more proactive in communicating with their clinicians. As part of a randomized controlled trial (RCT), they are evaluating the efficacy of a patient communication intervention—“Speak Up”—compared to a civic engagement-oriented attention control group—“Connect.” During the four-year period of this study, they have noticed a marked increase in patient preparedness and initiatives and an increasingly active group process in which study participants offer advice to one another about speaking up to their primary care physicians and requesting test results and other data about their health status and care needs.




The emergent discipline of health web science

Luciano, Joanne S.; Cumming, Grant P.; Wilkinson, Mark D.; Kahana, Eva

Journal of Medical Internet Research, 15(8): e166-173, 2013


The transformative power of the Internet on all aspects of daily life, including health care, has been widely recognized both in the scientific literature and in public discourse. Viewed through the various lenses of diverse academic disciplines, these transformations reveal opportunities realized, the promise of future advances, and even potential problems created by the penetration of the World Wide Web for both individuals and for society at large.


This paper explored and interrogated the contributions of the burgeoning field of Web Science in relation to health maintenance, health care, and health policy. This paper then introduced Health Web Science as a subdiscipline of Web Science, distinct from but overlapping with Medicine 2.0.We present Health Web Science (HWS) as a subdiscipline of Web Science that, while being interested in the Web's impact on health and well-being, also examined the impact of the Web's health-related uses on the design, structure, and evolution of the Web itself.




Altruism, helping, and volunteering: Pathways to well-being in late life

Kahana, E.; Bhatta, T.; Lovegreen, L.D.; Kahana, B.; Midlarsky, E. 

 Journal of Aging and Health, 25(1): 159-187, 2013


This study examined the influence of prosocial orientations including altruism, volunteering, and informal helping on positive and negative well-being outcomes among retirement community dwelling elders. We utilized data from 2 waves, 3 years apart, of a panel study of successful aging (N = 585). Psychosocial well-being outcomes measured included life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect, and depressive symptomatology. 


Ordinal logistic regression results indicated that altruistic attitudes, volunteering, and informal helping behaviors make unique contributions to the maintenance of life satisfaction, positive affect and other well-being outcomes considered in this research. Predictors explained variance primarily in the positive indicators of psychological well-being, but are not significantly associated with the negative outcomes. Findings underscore the value of altruistic attitudes as important additional predictors, along with prosocial behaviors in fostering life satisfaction and positive affect in old age.




Self-regulatory driving behaviors: Gender and transportation support effects

Choi, M.; Adams, K. B.; Kahana, E.

Journal of Women & Aging, 25(2): 104-118, 2013


This study examined the relationship between transportation support and self-regulatory driving behaviors of 566 community-dwelling older adults living in retirement communities, with a focus on gender differences. The results of logistic regression analysis showed that older women were more likely to avoid driving at night or on the highway than their male counterparts.


 Transportation support from peer friends was found to increase the likelihood of self-regulatory driving behaviors. The findings of this study imply that transportation policy and driving safety programs for older adults need to be developed, considering available transportation alternatives and gender differences in driving behaviors.



Altruism, Well Being and Mental Health in Late Life   
Midlarsky, L. & Kahana, E.
In S. Post (Ed.), Altruism and Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research.  New York: Oxford University Press.  81-103, 2007

Blood donors and community service volunteers are recruited with posters announcing that by giving to others, they will receive even more than they give.  Is this true?  Will those who help others to benefit themselves obtain rewards that they expect?  In this chapter, we begin with the background of and theory on altruism.  We then focus on our own research on older helpers, emphasizing work on Holocaust heroes, who are now quite elderly.  A basic premise of this chapter is that they consequences of altruism, in the form of well-being and mental health, can be viewed through the prism of the altruism paradox.



Meeting challenges of aging among elderly survivors of the Nazi Holocaust
Kahana, B., Kahana, E., King, C., Harel, Z & Seckin, G.  
Gerontology: Journal of the Israel Gerontological Society, 47-59, 2007

This paper considers the social and psychological aftermath of one of the most extreme social disasters in recent history, that of the Nazi Holocaust.  Focusing on elderly Holocaust survivors, we address broader issues regarding social challenges faced, and adaptations exhibited, by adult trauma survivors.  Findings regarding adaptations to aging in the aftermath of early life trauma are presented from interviews with over 300 Holocaust survivors, evenly divided between those living in the U.S. and in Israel.  Interviews were also conducted with Jewish elders who did not experience the Holocaust but who immigrated to the U.S., or to Israel just prior to World War II.  Survivors of the Holocaust were compared to the immigrant group in terms of physical health, psychiatric symptomatology, and social functioning.  Quantitative analyses revealed significant adverse effects of surviving trauma on psychological well-being but did not support anticipated age by survivorship interaction effects.  Analyses of qualitative data revealed four notable typologies:  (1) the resilient, (2) the unaffected, (3) the conditionally vulnerable, and (4) the generally vulnerable survivors.  Within each of these typologies, we note responses illuminating efforts at normalization as survivors interact with society and through this interaction negotiate self-mastery.



Patient proactivity enhancing doctor-patient-family communication in cancer prevention and care among the aged  
Kahana, E., & Kahana, B.  
In G. Kreps, (Ed.),  Handbook of Cancer Care and Communication.  New York:  Hampton Press, 2007

In attempting to improve communication between doctors and patients related to cancer prevention and care, there have been relatively little patient-driven data, particularly based on elderly patients, to help in developing better communication guidelines (1;2).  Present recommendations are largely based on expert (physician) opinions about desirable approaches to communication (3; 4).  We present a model that aims to address this gap in knowledge.  Our discussion goes beyond the typical focus of the health communication literature on only dyadic interactions, to consideration of interactions among members of a health care triad of physician, patient and Health Significant Other (HSO).




Institutional constraints on residents in long-term care facilities for the elderly
Sterns, S., & Kahana, E.
In J. Kronenfeld (Ed.), Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 24:  Access, Quality and Satisfaction with Care: Concerns of Patients, Providers and Insurers. 135-154, 2006

For frail older persons, gaining access to care is primarily in the context of long-term care institutions. Based on hypotheses derived from the theory of the total institution (Goffman, 1961) and anticipatory socialization theory (Merton & Kitt, 1950), linkages of intra-institutional and extra-institutional social ties with quality of life outcomes were assessed based on 168 residents' self-reports of their life and problems experienced in long-term care (Kahana, Kahana, & Young, 1987). Findings reveal that lack of anticipatory socialization was a significant predictor of subsequent wellbeing, whereas the extent of social ties to the outside world did not predict subsequent wellbeing.


Cancer in the Elderly
Berger, N., Savvides, P., Koroukian, S., Kahana, E., Deimling, G., Rose, J., Bowman, K., & Miller, R.  
Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, 117,  147-156, 2006

As the population expands, over the period from 2000 to 2050, the number and percentage of Americans over age 65 is expected to double. This population expansion will be accompanied by a marked increase in patients requiring care for disorders with high prevalence in the elderly. Since cancer incidence increases exponentially with advancing age, it is expected that there will be a surge in older cancer patients that will challenge both healthcare institutions and healthcare professionals.  In anticipation of this challenge, researchers at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio are conducting a series of investigations focused on the intersection of aging and cancer. Studies will be addressed in the high priority research areas of 1) Treatment Efficacy and Tolerance, 2) Effects of Comorbidities, 3) Psychosocial Issues, and 4) Biology of Aging Cancer.



Spirituality and healthy lifestyle behaviors:  Stress counter-balancing effects on the well-being of older adults 
Boswell, G., Kahana, E., Dilworth-Anderson, P.
Journal of Religion and Health
.  45(4), 587-602, 2006

The goal of this study was to examine stress-ameliorating effects of religiosity, spirituality, and healthy lifestyle behaviors on the stressful relationship of chronic illness and the subjective physical well-being of 221 older adults.  We also investigated whether the intervening variables functioned as coping behaviors and orientations or as adaptations in late life.  Guided by the stress paradigm, path analysis was used to assess these relationships in a stress suppressor model and a distress deterrent model.  No suppressor effects were found; however a number of distress deterrent relationships were detected.  Spirituality, physical activities, and healthy diet all contributed to higher subjective physical well-being, as counter-balancing effects, in the distress deterrent model.  The findings have implications for future research on the role of spirituality, religiosity and the lifestyle behaviors on the well-being of chronically ill older adults.  Findings also support the need for studying different dimensions of religiosity and spirituality in an effort to understand coping versus adaptation in behaviors and orientations.



Jennifer Karas Montez


Explaining the Widening Education Gap in Mortality among U.S. White Women

Jennifer Karas Montez and Anna Zajacova

Journal of Health and Social Behavior 54(2):165-180, 2013


Over the last half century the gap in mortality across education levels grew in the United States, and since the mid-1980s the growth was especially pronounced among white women. The reasons for the growth among white women are unclear. We investigated three explanations—social-psychological factors, economic circumstances, and health behaviors—for the widening education gap in mortality across 1997-2006 among white women 45-84 years of age. We used data from the National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File (N=46,744; deaths=4,053). We found little support for social-psychological factors; however, economic circumstances and health behaviors jointly explained the growing education gap in mortality to statistical nonsignificance. Employment and smoking were the most important individual components. Increasing high school graduation rates, reducing smoking prevalence, and designing work-family policies that help women find and maintain desirable employment may reduce mortality inequalities among women.




Educational 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


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 empirically describe it. 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 a functional form that includes a linear decline in mortality risk from 0-11 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 was generally preferred. 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.



Jessica Kelley-Moore

Assessing Racial Health Inequality: comparisons from Mixed-Mode Panel Interviews
Kelly-Moore, Jessica A.
Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 61B(4): S212-S220, 2006

Estimates of the extent of health disparities among Black and White older adults are not consistent across studies. The purpose of this study was to systematically compare responses from Black and White older adults in telephone and face-to-face interviews in order to determine whether estimates of racial health inequality vary by survey interview mode. By using data from a mixed-mode panel study, I compared estimates of changing health inequality for Black and White older adults collected from face-to-face and telephone interviews. I calculated trajectories of physical disability by using latent growth models across seven waves of data. Face-to-face interviews yielded consistently higher reports of disability relative to telephone interviews of the same persons. Black adults had significantly greater and increasing disability than did White adults for both interview modes. After adjusting for covariates, I found that Black and White older adults had parallel disability trajectories in face-to-face interviews but a widening gap in disability over time in telephone interviews. Researchers should judiciously consider whether estimates of racial health inequality-and change in disability more broadly-may be misleading because of interview-mode effects.


When Do Older Adults Become “Disabled”? Social and Health Antecedents of Perceived Disability in a Panel Study of the Oldest Old
Kelley-Moore, J., Schumacher, J., Kahana, E., & Kahana, B.
Journal of Health & Social Behavior, 47: 126-141, 2006

Disability carries negative social meaning, and little is known about when (or if ), in the process of health decline, persons identify themselves as "disabled." We examine the social and health criteria that older adults use to subjectively rate their own disability status. Using a panel study of older adults (ages 72+), we estimate ordered probit and growth curve models of perceive disability over time. Total prevalent morbidity, functional limitations, and cognitive impairment are predictors of perceived disability. Cessation of driving and receipt of home health care also influence older adults' perceptions of their own disability. A dense social network slowed the rate of labeling oneself disabled, while health anxiety accelerated the process over time, independent of health status. When considering perceived disability, the oldest old use multidimensional criteria capturing function, recent changes in health status and social networks , and anxiety about their health.


A 3-D Model of Health Decline: Disease, Disability, and Depression Among Black and White Older Adults
Kelley-Moore, J., Ferraro, K.F.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46(4): 376-391, 2005

Much of the research on health decline in older adulthood has specified a single causal direction between two health domains, often measured at the same time point, making it difficult to disentangle the mechanisms of health decline over time. Using three waves of data over seven years from older residents of North Carolina, a 3-D model is used to examine the temporal ordering of general health decline and the pathways of influence across three health domains (disease, disability, and depression). In addition, we test whether the 3-D model of health decline is similar for Black and White older adults. Results indicate that both prevalent and incident disease lead to increases in depression and that prevalent disease leads to greater disability three years later. Depression, in turn, leads to disease, identifying a cycle of health decline that is, for the most part, similar for Black and White older adults. The effect of widowhood is more deleterious to the health of Black older adults than for their White counterparts.


The Black/White Disability Gap: Persistent Inequality in Later Life?
Kelley-Moore, J., Ferraro, K.F.
Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 59B (1): S34-S43, 2004

Moore and Ferraro identify several reasons for the inconsistent results on differences between Black and White older adults and examine these differences in disability trajectories over 6 years. They conclude that a disability gap between Black and White adults exists, but after socioeconomic resources, social integration, and other health indicators are adjusted for, the trajectories of disability by race are not significantly different.


Cumulative Disadvantage and Health: Long Term Consequences of Obesity?
Ferraro, K.F., Kelley-Moore, J.
American Sociological Review, 68: 707-729, 2003

Drawing from cumulative disadvantage theory, the health consequences of obesity are considered in light of the accumulation of risk factors over the life course. Two forms of compensation are also examined to determine if the risk due to obesity is persistent or modifiable. Analyses make use of data from a national survey to examine the consequences of obesity on disability among respondents 45 years of age or older, tracked across 20 years (N = 4,106). Results from tobit models indicate that obesity, especially when experienced early in life, is consistently related to lower body disability. The results also show that obesity has long-term health consequences during adulthood, altering the life course in an enduring way. Compensation was not manifest from risk-factor elimination (weight loss), but rather through regular exercise. Although there is evidence for long-term consequences of risk factors on health, the findings suggest that more attention should be given to compensatory mechanisms in the development of cumulative disadvantage theory.




Cassi Pittman


Stop ‘Blaming the Man’: Perceptions of Inequality and Opportunities for Success in the Obama Era among Middle-Class African Americans

Jessica S. Welburn & Cassi L. Pittman

Ethnic and Racial Studies. 35(3): 523-540. 2012


This paper builds upon work that has shown that African Americans exhibit a dual consciousness when explaining persistent inequality. We draw upon 45 in-depth interviews with middle-class African Americans following the 2008 election to explore how they explain persistent disadvantage for African Americans, the de-stigmatization strategies they employ, and the impact they believe the election of Barack Obama will have on opportunities for African Americans. Consistent with dual consciousness theory, we find that respondents explain persistent disadvantage for African Americans by citing structural and motivational factors. We also extend previous work to show that for the majority of respondents the use of individualistic de-stigmatization strategies reinforces their dual consciousness. These respondents are optimistic about Obama's election because it supports their belief that African Americans should assume responsibility for improving their circumstances. A minority of respondents express more concern about the persistence of racial inequality, and consequentially are less optimistic about changes that Obama's election may bring about.




The Use of Social Capital in Borrower Decision‐Making

Cassi L. Pittman

Cambridge, MA: Joint Center For Housing Studies of Harvard University. [Internet] 2008


By looking beyond the financial characteristics of borrowers, this research brings to light the social factors that influence a borrower’s choice of a lender and mortgage product. Previous research has indicated that distinct channels exist that funnel borrowers into lower or higher cost loan products (Apgar, Bendimerad, and Essene 2007). But little is known as to how borrowers seek out or are directed to such channels. A particular concern that this paper hopes to address is why black borrowers disproportionately have higher priced products. Some research indicates that even when credit worthiness is controlled for, blacks are overrepresented in the subprime sector and in higher-cost products (Bocian, Ernst, and Li 2006). Through in-depth interviews with 32 borrowers, this research (1) highlights how borrowers seek mortgage credit and evaluate their mortgage options, and (2) demonstrates how borrowers make use of their social networks (friends and family) when making their decisions. The preliminary findings indicate that borrowers’ preferences and subsequent demands for mortgage products were shaped by the informal and formal advice they received. Those borrowers who consulted the most diverse sources of information had loans with lower interest rates. Those borrowers who received advice only from family and friends did not fare as well as those who received help from credit counselors. Thus, arguably, their loan outcomes varied not just based on if they consulted others, but especially whom they consulted. When given the right advice, potential homebuyers make better decisions in choosing both a lender and a loan.