Social Science Quarterly

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1540-6237
Print ISSN: 0038-4941
Objective. The objective of this article is to examine the trend in attitudes toward gay marriage through the analysis of data from the General Social Survey. Methods. Using linear decomposition techniques, I explain the change in attitudes toward gay marriage from 1988 to 2006. Results. Attitudes significantly liberalized over time; 71 percent opposed gay marriage in 1988, but by 2006, this figure dropped to 52 percent. Approximately two-thirds of this change was due to an intracohort change effect, or individuals' modifying their views over time, and one-third was due to a cohort succession effect, or later cohorts replacing earlier ones. This pattern was replicated across many subgroups of the U.S. public, including age, sex, residential, educational, and religious groups. Conclusion. The results suggest that the use of the “equality/tolerance” framing of gay marriage by its supporters and other societal events or “moments” may have convinced some people who used to disapprove of gay marriage in 1988 to approve of it by 2006.
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Objective. This paper examines the abortion decisions of Hispanic women who reside in the Texas counties that border Mexico. We hypothesize that ethnicity as well as geographic location may capture differences in assimilation to the U.S. culture that, ultimately, influence fertility-control decisions. We concentrate on the connection between the abortion decision and provider availability as measured by distance to the nearest abortion provider. Methods. The empirical model uses a logit specification to compare the abortion decisions of border Hispanics to both Hispanic and Anglo women residing in nonborder regions of Texas. The data consist of all births and abortions for women 20 years old and older for 1993 in Texas. Results. We find characteristic differences among the abortion decisions of Texas women by ethnicity and geographic location. In particular, Hispanics along the border region are quantitatively more responsive to variations in the availability of abortion providers, poverty rates, female employment rates, and urbanization. Conclusions. The abortion decisions of nonborder Hispanics appear to more closely resemble those of Anglo women rather than those of their Hispanic counterparts in the border region. Also, economic development in the Texas-Mexico border region is likely to have a significant impact on abortion and fertility rates in the region.
Objective. This research examines the variables that influence the abortion attitudes of the three largest Latino populations: Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans. Methods. Using data from the Latino National Political Survey, we use multivariate analyses to examine the effects of selected variables on abortion attitudes. We also model attitudes toward abortion by using ordered logit. Results. We find that attitudes toward abortion among the Latino populations are influenced by the same sets of variables that influence the attitudes of non-Latinos. Conclusions. Abortion is not an "ethnic issue" in the sense that the term is generally used.
This project aims to answer a critically important question of public policy: Does effective child support enforcement lead to a change in the incidence of abortion across the United States? Using state-level data collected from 1978–2003 from a variety of sources, we employ fixed effects regression analysis to examine whether financial security as measured by five types of child support enforcement effectiveness impacts abortion outcomes. We find that child support enforcement effectiveness decreases the incidence of abortion as measured by the abortion rate, but not the abortion ratio. Income transfer policies such as child support enforcement can affect certain fertility outcomes such as abortion rates across the states.
Objectives. We examine how the racial/ethnic and generational status composition of Latino students' friendship groups is related to their academic achievement and whether there are differential effects by gender. Methods. We use multivariate regression analyses to examine the effects of friends' characteristics on Latino students' end of high school grades, utilizing data from the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement Study (AHAA), and its parent survey, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Results. For Latina girls, there are positive effects of having more friendship ties to third-plus-generation Latino peers in contrast to dominant culture peers; yet Latino boys benefit academically from ties to all co-ethnic peers. Having friends with higher parental education promotes achievement of both genders. Conclusion. Our results counter notions of a pervasive negative peer influence of minority youth and suggest that co-ethnic ties are an important source of social capital for Latino students' achievement.
Objectives: We examine how acculturation experiences such as discrimination and social acceptance influence the daily psychological well-being of Latino youth living in newly emerging and historical receiving immigrant communities. Methods: We use data on 557 Latino youth enrolled in high school in Los Angeles or in rural or urban North Carolina. Results: Compared to Latino youth in Los Angeles, Latino youth in urban and rural North Carolina experienced higher levels of daily happiness, but also experienced higher levels of daily depressive and anxiety symptoms. Differences in nativity status partially explained location differences in youths’ daily psychological well-being. Discrimination and daily negative ethnic treatment worsened, whereas social acceptance combined with daily positive ethnic treatment and ethnic and family identification improved, daily psychological well-being. Conclusions: Our analysis contributes to understanding the acculturation experiences of immigrant youth and the roles of social context in shaping adolescent mental health.
Objective. The objective of this paper is to determine whether community SES and community acculturation have an effect on substance exposure rates among pregnant Latinas. Methods. The hypotheses in this paper are tested with logistic regression analyses based on a file which merges individual-level data from the 1992 Perinatal Substance Exposure Study in California with 1990 census data. Results. Our findings indicate that community SES did not have a linear effect on substance prevalence rates for Latinas, except for a category of overall drug exposure. Higher levels of community acculturation had a direct relationship with prevalence rates for tobacco, marijuana, amphetamines, anc any drug. Community acculturation also had a direct relationship with alcohol prevalence for English speakers, but an inverse relationship with Spanish speakers. Conclusions. Our results suggest that community acculturation is an important component of substance use studies of Latinas, above and beyond individual-level measures of acculturation.
Objectives. Immigrant adolescents' academic achievement is crucial to our future economic stability, and Mexican-origin linguistic minority youth in U.S. schools generally demonstrate lower levels of achievement. English as a Second Language (ESL) programs provide an institutional response to these students' needs, the effect of which may vary by the proportion of immigrant students in the school. Measures. Using propensity score matching and data from the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement Study (AHAA) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we estimate the effect of ESL placement on Mexican-origin achievement for first-, second-, and third-generation adolescents separately in schools with many and few immigrant students. Results. The estimated effect of ESL placement varies by both immigrant concentration in the school and by students' generational status. Conclusions. We find that ESL enrollment may be protective for second-generation Mexican-origin adolescents in high immigrant concentration schools, and may prove detrimental for first-generation adolescents in contexts with few other immigrant students.
Percentage of Poor City and Suburban Neighborhoods Experiencing Organizational Deprivation
Descriptive Statistics for Outcome and Predictor Variables
Logistic Regressions Comparing the Lack of Organizations for Suburban Versus Central City Neighborhoods
Objectives. Given the recent rise of poverty in U.S. suburbs, this study asks: What poor neighborhoods are most disadvantageous, those in the city or those in the suburbs? Building on recent urban sociological work demonstrating the importance of neighborhood organizations for the poor, we are concerned with one aspect of disadvantage—the lack of availability of organizational resources oriented toward the poor. By breaking down organizations into those that promote mobility versus those that help individuals meet their daily subsistence needs, we seek to explore potential variations in the type of disadvantage that may exist. Methods. We test whether poor urban or suburban neighborhoods are more likely to be organizationally deprived by breaking down organizations into three types: hardship organizations, educational organizations, and employment organizations. We use data from the 2000 U.S. County Business Patterns and the 2000 U.S. Census and test neighborhood deprivation using logistic regression models. Results. We find that suburban poor neighborhoods are more likely to be organizationally deprived than are urban poor neighborhoods, especially with respect to organizations that promote upward mobility. Interesting racial and ethnic composition factors shape this more general finding. Conclusion. Our findings suggest that if a poor individual is to live in a poor neighborhood, with respect to access to organizational resources, he or she would be better off living in the central city. Suburban residence engenders isolation from organizations that will help meet one's daily needs and even more so from those offering opportunities for mobility.
The objective of this study was to investigate whether misaligned or uncertain ambitions in adolescence influence the process of socioeconomic attainment. Using 34 years of longitudinal data from the British Cohort Study (BCS70), we considered whether youth with (1) misaligned ambitions (i.e., those who either over- or underestimate the level of education required for their desired occupation), (2) both low occupational aspirations and educational expectations (low-aligned ambitions), and (3) uncertainty with regard to their future occupations (uncertain ambitions) at age 16 experienced more unemployment spells, lower educational attainment, and lower hourly wages in adulthood compared to youth with high occupational aspirations and educational expectations (high-aligned ambitions). Youth who hold misaligned or uncertain aspirations show long-term deficits in employment stability and educational attainment, which in turn leads to lower wage attainments at age 34. Misaligned and uncertain ambitions in adolescence compromise the construction of life paths and the realization of long-term educational and occupational goals.
Adolescent weight and depressive symptoms are serious population health concerns in their own right and as they relate to each other. This study asks whether relationships between weight and depressive symptoms vary by sex and race/ethnicity because both shape experiences of weight and psychological distress. Results are based on multivariate analyses of National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) data. There are no associations between adolescent girls' weight and depressive symptoms, but these associations vary considerably among boys. Underweight is associated with depressive symptoms among all boys and subpopulations of White and Hispanic boys. Among Hispanic boys, those who are overweight (versus normal weight) have a lower probability of reporting depressive symptoms. Finally, among normal weight boys, Hispanics and Blacks are more likely to report depressive symptoms than Whites. Findings are a reminder that understanding population health issues sometimes requires a focus on subpopulations, not simply the population as a whole.
OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to examine whether and how characteristics of the relationship dyad are linked to nonmarital childbearing among young adult women, additionally distinguishing between cohabiting and nonunion births. METHODS: We used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 Cohort and discrete-time event history methods to examine these objectives. RESULTS: Our analyses found that similarities and differences between women and their most recent sexual partner in educational attainment, disengagement from work or school, race/ethnicity, and age were linked to the risk and context of nonmarital childbearing. For example, partner disengagement (from school and work) was associated with increased odds of a nonmarital birth regardless of whether the woman herself was disengaged. Additionally, having a partner of a different race/ethnicity was associated with nonmarital childbearing for whites, but not for blacks and Hispanics. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that relationship characteristics are an important dimension of the lives of young adults that influence their odds of having a birth outside of marriage.
Objective. This article addresses the relationship between suicide mortality and family structure and socioeconomic status for U.S. adult men and women. Methods. We use Cox proportional hazard models and individual-level, prospective data from the National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File (1986–2002) to examine adult suicide mortality. Results. Larger families and employment are associated with lower risks of suicide for both men and women. Low levels of education or being divorced or separated, widowed, or never married are associated with increased risks of suicide among men, but not among women. Conclusions. We find important sex differences in the relationship between suicide mortality and marital status and education. Future suicide research should use both aggregate and individual-level data and recognize important sex differences in the relationship between risk factors and suicide mortality—a central cause of preventable death in the United States.
OBJECTIVE: This article documents nativity differentials in depressive symptoms among Hispanics during their initial years of adulthood and explores how ethnicity, socio-demographic characteristics, and exposure to stressful life events and changes in social roles help to explain those differentials. METHODS: Data is drawn from a large-scale two-wave community study of stress, psychiatric well-being, and substance use disorders among young adults. Our analytic sample includes 553 Hispanic respondents and we employ multivariate regression techniques. RESULTS: Regardless of age at immigration, foreign-born women experience greater declines in depressive symptoms than native-born women during early adulthood. This advantage is explained by differences in perceptions of discrimination, family-based stress, and social role changes. The association between nativity and depressive symptoms is not conditioned by ethnicity, but ethnicity does condition the association between stressful events and depressive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that mental health treatment and prevention efforts should focus more heavily on stress exposure.
Objective. Disasters are a regular occurrence throughout the world. Whether all eligible victims of a catastrophe receive similar amounts of aid from governments and donors following a crisis remains an open question. Methods. I use data on 62 similarly damaged inland fishing villages in five districts of southeastern India following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to measure the causal influence of caste, location, wealth, and bridging social capital on the receipt of aid. Using two-limit tobit and negative binomial models, I investigate the factors that influence the time spent in refugee camps, receipt of an initial aid packet, and receipt of 4,000 rupees. Results. Caste, family status, and wealth proved to be powerful predictors of beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries during the aid process. Conclusion. While many scholars and practitioners envision aid distribution as primarily a technocratic process, this research shows that discrimination and financial resources strongly affect the flow of disaster aid.
OBJECTIVE: This study uses tract-level demographic data and toxicity-weighted air pollutant concentration estimates for the continental United States to determine whether (1) single-mother families are overrepresented in environmentally hazardous Census tracts and (2) the percentage of single-mother families in a Census tract is a significant predictor of tract-level toxic concentration estimates. METHODS: After calculating tract-level toxic concentration estimates for the average female-headed family, male-headed family, and married-couple family with and without children, we use fixed-effects regression models to determine whether the percentage of single-mother families in a tract is a significant predictor of tract-level toxic concentration estimates. RESULTS: Single-mother families are overrepresented in environmentally hazardous Census tracts, and the percentage of single-mother families in a tract remains a significant predictor of estimated toxic concentration levels even after controlling for many of the most commonly used variables in the literature. CONCLUSION: Environmental inequality researchers need to broaden their focus beyond race and income to include groups such as single-mother families in their research.
Objective. To assess whether the cumulative impact of exposure to repeated or chronic stressors, as measured by allostatic load, contributes to the “unhealthy assimilation” effects often observed for immigrants with time in the United States. Methods. We analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–1994, to estimate multivariate logistic regression models of the odds of having a high allostatic load score among Mexican immigrants, stratified by adult age group, according to length of residence in United States, controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and health input covariates. Results. Estimates indicate that 45–60-year-old Mexican immigrants have lower allostatic load scores upon arrival than U.S.-born Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanic blacks, and that this health advantage is attenuated with duration of residence in the United States. Conclusions. The findings of our analysis are consistent with the hypothesis that repeated or chronic physiological adaptation to stressors is one contributor to the “unhealthy assimilation” effect observed for Mexican immigrants.
OBJECTIVE: A widely noted concern with amenity-driven rural population growth is its potential to yield only low-wage service-sector employment for long-term residents, while raising local costs of living. This research examines change in socioeconomic status during the 1990s for long-term residents of high-amenity, high-growth rural counties in the United States. METHODS: Using longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, in combination with county-level information, we estimate growth-curve models to examine the extent to which the socioeconomic status of long-term residents is associated with amenity-related in-migration. RESULTS: We find that, on average, residents in high-growth, amenity-rich rural areas have higher income growth over time and higher levels of initial occupational prestige compared to those from other rural areas, but that socioeconomic gains are primarily for individuals with low baseline prestige. CONCLUSIONS: The socioeconomic gains made by long-term residents of high-growth, amenity-rich rural areas associated with net in-migration may be limited to individuals with low initial prestige and growth may be due to low-skill service-sector jobs.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigates how prenatal demographic, social, and behavioral characteristics of Mexican origin immigrant mothers, which are linked to their relatively healthy birth outcomes, influence the subsequent health of their children in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups. METHODS: We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study of a cohort of 2,819 children born between 1998 and 2000 to analyze chronic health conditions at age 5 using logistic regression models. RESULTS: Multivariate analyses revealed no significant differences in chronic health conditions at age 5 between children of Mexican immigrant mothers and non-Hispanic white children, controlling for socioeconomic status and access to health care. In contrast, children of U.S.-born Mexican American mothers had significantly higher odds of chronic conditions compared to non-Hispanic white children. Social support and health care use are related to child health outcomes but do not explain racial and ethnic differences. CONCLUSIONS: Health policy must respond in order to help maintain the healthy outcomes of Mexican American children of immigrants and reverse the deteriorating health of children in subsequent generations, in light of considerable socioeconomic disadvantage and inadequate access to health care.
Objectives. There is disagreement in the literature on immigration attitudes regarding the relative importance of ethnic stereotypes and more general cultural and economic concerns about increasing immigration in the formation of those attitudes. We argue that the impact of stereotypes relative to these other factors may have been underestimated for a variety of reasons. Methods. We test the impact of stereotypes on immigration preferences in data from the Multi-Ethnic Module of the 2000 General Social Survey. Because the dependent variables analyzed herein are ordinal, we estimate ordered logistic regressions that correct for diagnosed hetereoskedacticity. Results. Statistical analyses confirm that negative stereotypes are a significantly larger predictor of ethnicity-specific immigration preferences relative to general attitudes about immigration. Intervening variables analyses also suggest that the impact of stereotypes has been underestimated relative to cultural and economic anxieties because these variables significantly mediate its observed impact. Conclusions. The results suggest that ethnic stereotypes are significantly more important in determining immigration preferences among Americans than has been reported in previous research.
Objective. Links between phenotypes (skin tone, physical features) and a range of outcomes (income, physical health, psychological distress) were examined. Ethnic identity was examined as a protective moderator of phenotypic bias. Method. Data were from a community sample of 2,092 Filipino adults in San Francisco and Honolulu. Results. After controlling for age, nativity, marital status, and education, darker skin was associated with lower income and lower physical health for females and males. For females, more ethnic features were associated with lower income. For males, darker skin was related to lower psychological distress. One interaction was found such that females with more ethnic features exhibited lower distress; however, ethnic identity moderated distress levels of those with less ethnic features. Conclusions. Phenotypic bias appears prevalent in Filipino Americans though specific effects vary by gender and skin color versus physical features. Discussion centers on the social importance of appearance and potential strengths gained from ethnic identification.
Objective. This study assesses the pace of cultural assimilation of Mexican Americans by comparing changes in their gender-role attitudes over generations to the European-origin U.S. mainstream. Methods. Using cumulative data from the 1972–2004 General Social Survey, we examine the rate at which progressive generations of Mexican Americans approach the mainstream gender-role attitudes. We also employ a set of logistic regressions to assess the differences in gender-role attitudes between Mexican and European Americans. Results. For five out of the eight gender-role-related questions considered in the study, Mexican Americans of the third or later generations show more liberal or egalitarian gender-role attitudes than those of the first or second generations. A comparison between Mexican and European Americans suggests that Mexican Americans in the sample have more conservative gender-role attitudes than European Americans in terms of division of labor at home and women's participation in politics. Conclusion. Mexican Americans become more likely to adopt egalitarian gender-role attitudes as generation progresses. The differences between Mexican and European Americans in terms of gender-role attitudes are sensitive to the particular domains of attitudes under consideration.
Objective. Few social scientists have examined how Internet usage, including using the Internet for health purposes, may affect mental health. This study assesses whether the type or amount of online health activities and the timing of Internet use are associated with psychological distress. Methods. We use data from the National Cancer Institute's 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey. Results. When we compare Internet users to non-Internet users, using the Internet and using the Internet for health purposes are negatively associated with distress. However, among Internet users, the number of online health activities is positively associated with distress. Greater distress is also associated with using the Internet on weekdays and looking online for information on sun protection. Conclusions. Internet usage is not necessarily positively associated with psychological distress. The effects depend on the type, amount, and timing of Internet usage.
Objective. This study examined institutional anomie theory in the context of transitional Russia. Methods. We employed an index of negative socioeconomic change and measures of family, education, and polity to test the hypothesis that institutional strength conditions the effects of poverty and socioeconomic change on homicide rates. Results. As expected, the results of models estimated using negative binomial regression show direct positive effects of poverty and socioeconomic change and direct negative effects of family strength and polity on regional homicide rates. There was no support, however, for the hypothesis that stronger social institutions reduce the effects of poverty and socioeconomic change on violence. Conclusions. We interpret these results in the Russia-specific setting, concluding that Russia is a rich laboratory for examining the effects of social change on crime and that empirical research in other nations is important when assessing the generalizability of theories developed to explain crime and violence in the United States.
To study the association between social disorganization and youth violence rates in rural communities. We employed rural Missouri counties (N = 106) as units of analysis, measured serious violent victimization data via hospital records, and the same measures of social disorganization as Osgood and Chambers (2000). Controlling for spatial autocorrelation, the negative binomial estimator was used to estimate the effects of social disorganization on youth violence rates. Unlike Osgood and Chambers, we found only one of five social disorganization measures, the proportion of female-headed households, to be associated with rural youth violent victimization rates. Although most research on social disorganization theory has been undertaken on urban areas, a highly cited Osgood and Chambers (2000) study appeared to extend the generalizeability of social disorganization as an explanation of the distribution of youth violence to rural areas. Our results suggest otherwise. We provide several methodological and theoretical reasons why it may be too early to draw strong conclusions about the generalizeability of social disorganization to crime rates in rural communities.
Objectives. We aim to understand why blacks are significantly less likely than whites to perpetuate their middle-class status across generations. To do so, we focus on the potentially different associations between parental job loss and youth's educational attainment in black and white middle-class families. Methods. We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), following those children “born” into the survey between 1968 and 1979 and followed through age 21. We conduct multivariate regression analyses to test the association between parental job loss during childhood and youth's educational attainment by age 21. Results. We find that parental job loss is associated with a lesser likelihood of obtaining any postsecondary education for all offspring, but that the association for blacks is almost three times as strong. A substantial share of the differential impact of job loss on black and white middle-class youth is explained by race differences in household wealth, long-run measures of family income, and, especially, parental experience of long-term unemployment. Conclusions. These findings highlight the fragile economic foundation of the black middle class and suggest that intergenerational persistence of class status in this population may be highly dependent on the avoidance of common economic shocks.
Objective. We outline the role of race, racial resentment, and attentiveness to news in structuring public opinion toward the prosecution of the Jena Six, the name given to six African-American high school students who beat a white student, five of whom were subsequently charged with attempted second-degree murder. Method. We rely on a telephone survey of 428 registered voters collected in the aftermath of the protests in Jena, Louisiana. Results. Public reactions were heavily filtered by race and associated with measures of racial resentment. African Americans followed news about the protests more closely, believed race was the most important consideration in the decision to prosecute, and believed the decision to prosecute was the wrong decision. Racially conservative white respondents were less likely to believe race was the most important consideration in the decision to prosecute and were more likely to believe that the decision to prosecute was the right decision. Consistent with theories of agenda setting and framing, attentiveness to the news influenced perceptions regarding the importance of race in the decision to prosecute but not whether the decision was the right decision. Conclusions. At least within the context of the Deep South, race and racial attitudes continue to be an important predictor of public reactions to racially charged events. Attentiveness to the news influenced the lens through which events were interpreted, but not perceptions of whether the outcome was the right decision.
Objectives. This study examines links between multiple aspects of religious involvement and attitudes toward same-sex marriage among U.S. Latinos. The primary focus is on variations by affiliation and participation, but the possible mediating roles of biblical beliefs, clergy cues, and the role of religion in shaping political views are also considered. Methods. We use binary logistic regression models to analyze data from a large nationwide sample of U.S. Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Forum in late 2006. Results. Findings highlight the strong opposition to same-sex marriage among Latino evangelical (or conservative) Protestants and members of sectarian groups (e.g., LDS), even compared with devout Catholics. Although each of the hypothesized mediators is significantly linked with attitudes toward same-sex marriage, for the most part controlling for them does not alter the massive affiliation/attendance differences in attitudes toward same-sex marriage. Conclusions. This study illustrates the importance of religious cleavages in public opinion on social issues within the diverse U.S. Latino population. The significance of religious variations in Hispanic civic life is likely to increase with the growth of the Latino population and the rising numbers of Protestants and sectarians among Latinos.
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