Seminar Series

Leah Richmond-Rakerd, Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Clinical Science area at the University of Michigan, presents, "Mental disorders and population healthspan: Insights from nationwide registers”

Lifespan gains have stalled in many developed nations, since even before the COVID-19 pandemic. This concerning trend amplifies the need to identify modifiable determinants of population life and health expectancy. In this talk, I will highlight mental health as one potential determinant. Leveraging data from two prospective nationwide-register studies, I will show that as older adults, young people with mental disorders (1) develop excess age-related physical and neurodegenerative diseases, (2) accumulate more associated healthcare use and costs, and (3) die earlier than people without mental disorders. These associations are evident across different psychiatric conditions and different age-related diseases, and after addressing reverse-causation and other alternative explanations. These findings suggest that ameliorating mental-health problems in young people might extend population lifespan and healthspan, and reduce the societal burden of age-related diseases.

Amada Armentra, Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA, presents, “Immigrants and the Law: Crafting Moral Selves in the Face of Immigration Control.”

US immigration laws criminalize unauthorized immigrants and render many of immigrants’ daily activities “illegal.” How does this affect immigrants’ attitudes and practices toward the law? Drawing on interviews with unauthorized Mexican immigrants in Philadelphia, this study examines how respondents resolve problems of law in their everyday lives. I show how time spent in the United States transforms migrants’ legal attitudes from one of “getting around the law” to one of “doing things the right way.” I highlight the implications of this legal transformation for the moral economy of immigration policy, for immigrant claims-making, and for Latino immigrants’ place in the racial hierarchy.

David A. Bennett, Robert C. Borwell Professor of Neurological Sciences, Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, presents, "Mixed Pathology, Risk Factors, Resilience, and Personalized Medicine for Alzheimer's Dementia.”

This seminar will introduce you to two prospective analytic cohort studies of aging and dementia in which all participants agree to donate brain, spinal cord, muscle and nerve, and more recently skin, fat, and bone, at the time of death. He will demonstrate how loss of cognition is a complex function of numerous brain pathologies that add to and interact with numerous indices of resilience. Finally, leveraging a unique platform of more than 50 induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from autopsied study participants, he will illustrate a path to personalized medicine for AD and resilience.

V. Joseph Hotz, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Duke, and Kathleen Cagney, Professor of Sociology and Director of ISR, University of Michigan, present, “Collaborative for Innovation in Data & Measurement in Aging: Overview"

The seminar will provide an overview of the “Collaborative for Innovation in Data & Measurement in Aging” (CIDMA). CIDMA is a collaboration between the Duke Center for Population Health and Aging (CPHA) and the University of Chicago’s Center for Health Aging Behaviors and Longitudinal Investigations (CHABLIS) and their respective P30 NIA Center grants. CIDMA and its investigative team, collaborates with existing data collection studies of aging to design and conduct assessments of innovative and untested data collection and measurement methods and to disseminate and educate the field of aging research on the successes and shortcomings on these innovations. The seminar will provide an overview of CIDMA’s approach and criteria for the types of in-novation it assesses. We also will discuss findings from a recent assessment of the collection of data on social engagement/isolation related to individuals’ daily activities and spatial movements (or lack of them) in rural settings using mobile technology. This assessment was conducted in collaboration with two existing studies housed at Duke, the Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS) and Project RAISE (Re-search on Adaptive Interests, Skills and Environment).

Kelly Musick, Professor and Department Chair of Policy Analysis and Management and Professor of Sociology, Cornell University, presents, “State-level Gender Inequality and Couples’ Relative Earnings Following Parenthood”

Cross-national comparisons form the basis of much of what we understand about the link between gender inequality at the societal level and family change. There has been little attention to this process in the United States, despite substantial variation in structural features of gender inequality and families across states. We leverage this variation to examine how state-level gender inequality shapes couple-level inequality following the critical transition to parenthood, in particular how state gender wage gaps, parenthood employment penalties, early family formation, and attitudes about working mothers moderate changes in couples’ relative earnings after a first birth. Our study relies on newly available identifiers in the Current Population Survey to link couples longitudinally across the 16 months of their participation in the survey, and it includes four decades of overlapping panels. Preliminary findings suggest that state-level gender inequality shapes couples’ responses to birth, with greater within-household inequality in earnings among couples living in states with fewer working mothers and less progressive attitudes about working mothers.

Demography of Health and Aging Seminar. Allison Stolte, Predoctoral Student, Department of Sociology and Sarah Petry Predoctoral Student, Sanford School of Public Policy

Allison Stolte, Predoctoral Student, Department of Sociology, Duke University, presents, "State-level Contexts and Birth Outcomes: Do Types of Public Policy Approaches Shape Birth Outcomes?" Geographic disparities in birth outcomes have increased across the US over the last several years. Prior work suggests that socioeconomic structures and political institutions may shape such disparities through policies aimed at redistributing resources and providing health services (Montez, Hayward, and Wolf 2017; Navarro and Shi 2001). Of course, policies aimed at redistributing resources do not combine randomly. Instead, there are likely types of public policy approaches taken by states to shape socioeconomic and political contexts. In this paper, I first identify types of state policy approaches and then examine how the unique policy approaches shape birth outcomes. To do this, I merge state-level data on six domains of socioeconomic and political contexts to estimate profiles of state policy approaches using latent profile analysis. I then merge the identified profile data with rates of low birth weight and infant mortality from the CDC to regress state policy approach on rates of adverse birth outcomes. Preliminary findings identify three types of policy approaches taken by states. The policy approaches are associated with birth outcome rates, though differences exist by birth outcome examined. Sarah Petry, Predoctoral Student, Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, presents,  "Transitions in Older Adulthood and Life Expectancy: A Life Course Approach."   The population of Medicare-Medicaid dual eligible beneficiaries (“duals”) is growing rapidly. These beneficiaries are important to study because they comprise a vulnerable subset of publicly insured people in the US due to economic disadvantage, age, and chronic illness. However, little is known about how transitions into and out of dual eligibility, accompanied by care transitions, impact mortality. Previous research has shown that Medicaid enrollment has positive mortality effects on younger beneficiaries and that Medicare is protective for previously uninsured individuals. In addition, transitions in care setting are known to negatively impact health, but little is known about how long individuals can expect to live in skilled nursing facilities (SNF) before they die or move out. This study uses multistate life table methods on data from ten waves of the Health and Retirement Study to examine differences in dual-eligible and SNF life expectancy by gender, race/ethnicity, and age.

Grant Miller, Professor of Medicine, Stanford University, presents, “Anti-Poverty Programs, Human Trafficking, and Child Labor: Evidence from Brazil’s Bolsa Familia Program”

Coercive labor (adult labor trafficking and child labor) is astonishingly prevalent worldwide. Poverty creates vulnerability to labor coercion, but quantitative evidence on how anti-poverty programs mitigate this vulnerability is scarce – particularly for adult labor trafficking. This paper provides new evidence on how conditional cash transfer programs, cornerstones of anti-poverty policy in lower-income countries, influence coercive labor risk, focusing on Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program. Using multiple regression discontinuity designs, we find evidence of limited effects on adult labor trafficking risk. By contrast, we also find that the program does substantially reduce child labor among the poor – but not among those classified as living in extreme poverty. Our results suggest that for adults, income gains alone may be insufficient to reduce labor trafficking risk -- and complementary action against criminal recruiters may be simultaneously required. Coercive labor (adult labor trafficking and child labor) is astonishingly prevalent worldwide.  Poverty creates vulnerability to labor coercion, but quantitative evidence on how anti-poverty programs mitigate this vulnerability is scarce – particularly for adult labor trafficking. This paper provides new evidence on how conditional cash transfer programs, cornerstones of anti-poverty policy in lower-income countries, influence coercive labor risk, focusing on Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program.  Using multiple regression discontinuity designs, we find evidence of limited effects on adult labor trafficking risk.  By contrast, we also find that the program does substantially reduce child labor among the poor – but not among those classified as living in extreme poverty.  Our results suggest that for adults, income gains alone may be insufficient to reduce labor trafficking risk -- and complementary action against criminal recruiters may be simultaneously required.

Ellis Monk, Associate Professor of Sociology, Harvard University, presents, “Inequality without Groups”

The study of social inequality and stratification (e.g. ethnoracial and gender) has long been at the core of sociology and the social sciences. I argue that certain tendencies have become entrenched in our dominant paradigm that leaves many researchers pursuing coarse-grained analyses of how difference relates to inequality. Centrally, despite the importance of categories and categorization for how researchers study social inequality, contemporary theories of categories are poorly integrated into conventional research. I argue that the widespread and often unquestioned use of State categories as categories of analysis reinforces these tendencies. Using research on skin tone stratification (or colorism) as an inspiration, I highlight several components of an alternative model that better integrates contemporary theories of categories into measuring the social difference. Above all, this model proposes an analytic shift in focus from membership in categories to the cues of categories, membership in sub-categories, and perceived typicality.

Christopher Timmins, Professor of Economics, Duke University, presents, “Detecting Discrimination: Combining Experimental and Structural Techniques”

The US has a long history of housing discrimination.  Since the passage of the Fair Housing Act, HUD has sought to measure the extent of that discrimination with a series of audit studies.  Critiques of audit studies have questioned the ability of these and other similar experimental methods to measure discrimination on the margins where individuals are affected in actual market contexts.  We implement the largest correspondence study of discrimination in rental housing markets, and show how combining the results with actual market outcomes and with structural estimation techniques can confirm that discrimination indeed has market consequences, and that sorting behavior on the part of market participants can actually make the consequences of that discrimination worse.

Christina Kamis, Predoctoral Student, Duke Department of Sociology, presents, “The Long-Term Impact of Childhood Adversity on Mental Health Trajectories in Adulthood"

The life course perspective has long theorized that adversity in childhood, a sensitive period for mental, physical, and emotional development, can have long-lasting impacts on health and wellbeing. However, research on the long-term impact of childhood adversity has been disproportionally focused on studying a single adversity, or studying cumulative adversity operationalized as the sum of dichotomous (yes/no) indicators reflecting exposure to negative events. Although informative, these approaches mask how specific types of adversities co-occur, and how unique configurations of adversities relate to outcomes of interest. Using nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health; Wave I-IV), I estimate cumulative adversity using latent class analyses. As opposed to a summative score, these classes reflect both the type and number of adverse events that may co-occur in childhood. I then investigate how these latent classes of adversity predict depressive symptoms from adolescence into early adulthood, clarifying the long-term mental health risks of early life adverse events. Throughout this study, I discuss the methodological benefits and challenges to estimating cumulative adversity using a latent class approach.