Why neighborhoods (and how we study them) matter for adolescent development

Adolescence is a sensitive developmental period marked by significant changes that unfold across multiple contexts. As a central context of development, neighborhoods capture—in both physical and social space—the stratification of life chances and differential distribution of resources and risks. For some youth, neighborhoods are springboards to opportunities; for others, they are snares that constrain progress and limit the ability to avoid risks. Despite abundant research on “neighborhood effects,” scant attention has been paid to how neighborhoods are a product of social stratification forces that operate simultaneously to affect human development.

From “personalized” to “precision” medicine: The ethical and social implications of rhetorical reform in genomic medicine

Since the late 1980s, the human genetics and genomics research community has been promising to usher in a “new paradigm for health care”—one that uses molecular profiling to identify human genetic variants implicated in multifactorial health risks. After the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, a wide range of stakeholders became committed to this “paradigm shift,” creating a confluence of investment, advocacy, and enthusiasm that bears all the marks of a “scientific/intellectual social movement” within biomedicine.

Aging: It’s interpersonal! Reflections from two life course migrants

We start with the observation that aging gerontologists often engage in two distinct discourses on aging—one public and one private. This separation entails “othering,” which reproduces agism and stigma. Based on personal experience, insight from colleagues and writers, and concepts from symbolic interaction perspectives, we argue that becoming old to some degree involves becoming a stranger. Before reaching old age, both of us have been in the position of strangers due to social experiences that left us “off the line” or “on the margins.” Examples are crossing social borders related to nations, class structures, gender, race, health status, and generations.

Citizen science or scientific citizenship? Disentangling the uses of public engagement rhetoric in national research initiatives

The language of “participant-driven research,” “crowdsourcing” and “citizen science” is increasingly being used to encourage the public to become involved in research ventures as both subjects and scientists. Originally, these labels were invoked by volunteer research efforts propelled by amateurs outside of traditional research institutions and aimed at appealing to those looking for more “democratic,” “patient-centric,” or “lay” alternatives to the professional science establishment.

Normative climates of parenthood across Europe: Judging voluntary childlessness and working parents

Past research on gender role attitudes has often focused on individual- rather than country-level explanations. Drawing on European Social Survey data from 21 countries, we examine the effect of societal normative climates (i.e., shared perceptions of others’ attitudes) on personal attitudes towards two non-traditional gender roles: Voluntary childlessness and working full-time while children are young. To detect potential gender differences, we analyse disapproval of men and women separately.

Relationships in time and the life course: The significance of linked lives

Life’s strongest storylines are punctuated by and enmeshed with other people. The principle of “linked lives”—that the lives of individuals affect and are affected by the lives of others—is repeated as a mantra in life course literature. And yet this stands in direct contrast to the state of research, which largely treats individuals as if they exist in isolation of others. This author’s wish for the study of human development is to take more seriously the interdependence of lives.

Responses to financial loss during the Great Recession: An examination of sense of control in late midlife

The “Great Recession” shocked the primary institutions that help individuals and families meet their needs and plan for the future. This study examines middle-aged adults’ experiences of financial loss and considers how socioeconomic and interpersonal resources facilitate or hinder maintaining a sense of control in the face of economic uncertainty. Using the 2006 and 2010 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, change in income and wealth, giving help to and receiving help from others, household complexity, and sense of control were measured among middle-aged adults

What changing American families mean for aging policies

During the latter half of the twentieth century, the American family underwent radical changes that, in conjunction with dramatic increases in life expectancy, have greatly altered the reality of aging. In our post-traditional, multicultural society, one can no longer speak of “the” family, as if it exists in a singular form. Instead, families come in diverse forms that also change in composition over time.