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Open access publications by faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice.

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    Inter-Generational Transmission of Violence in Latino Families: The Role of Mothers in Navigating the Cycle of Abuse
    (Sociology between the Gaps: Forgotten and Neglected Topics, 2023-09-26) Quiroga, Zarah Zurita
    Latino children and youth are the fastest-growing ethnic minority in the United States. They are also unique in the sense that they experience mixed-status families in which one, or more, of their family members lack the proper authorization to live and work in the United States. Because of this mixed status, they face a distinctive form of family violence in which fear of deportation silences victims. This article explores the roles of mothers in experiencing and interrupting the inter-generational transmission of violence in Latino families in the United States. Based on interviews with eleven Latina women, the author discusses cases in which the roles of mothers either interrupt or contribute to the continuation of the inter-generational transmission of the cycle of violence. This piece explores the tensions between personal experiences with witnessing violence and the actions Latina mothers took in order to stop cycles of abuse and its outcomes for their own children. The author concludes with suggestions for future research that centers on the experiences of Latinos in order to reduce inter-generational trauma and transmission of violence in Latino communities.
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    Elevations in Blood Pressure Associated with Exposure to Violence are Mitigated by Pro-gun-Carrying Attitudes among Street-Identified Black Males and Females
    (Journal of Urban Health, 2023-10-13) Payne, Yasser Arafat; Sadeh, Naomi; Hitchens, Brooklynn K.; Bounoua, Nadia
    Living in neighborhoods with elevated rates of violent crime, such as in many poor Black American communities, is a risk factor for a range of physical and mental health challenges. However, the individual different factors that influence health outcomes in these stressful environments remain poorly understood. This study examined relations between exposure to violence, gun-carrying attitudes, and blood pressure in a community sample of street-identified Black American boys/men and girls/women. Survey data and blood pressure were collected from 329 participants (ages 16–54; 57.1% male) recruited from two small urban neighborhoods with high rates of violence using street participatory action research methodology. Results revealed that systolic blood pressure was elevated in the sample as was exposure to severe forms of direct and vicarious violence (e.g., shootings, assault). Attitudes about carrying guns moderated associations between the degree of violence exposure endorsed by participants and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Specifically, the positive association between exposure to violence and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure at low levels of pro-gun-carrying attitudes was no longer apparent at high levels of pro-gun attitudes. Furthermore, pro-gun attitudes appeared to moderate the association between exposure to violence and systolic pressure for older participants but not younger participants. Results suggest that positive attitudes about carrying guns (presumably indicative of pro-gun-carrying behavior) weakened the link between violence exposure and blood pressure. These novel findings suggest that carrying a gun may protect against the harmful effects of chronic stress from violence exposure on physical health outcomes (i.e., hypertension) among street-identified Black Americans.
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    Characterizing the impacts of public health control measures on domestic violence services: qualitative interviews with domestic violence coalition leaders
    (BMC Public Health, 2023-09-05) Horney, Jennifer A.; Fleury‑Steiner, Ruth; Camphausen, Lauren C.; Wells, Sarah A.; Miller, Susan L.
    Background Prior to the availability of pharmaceutical control measures, non-pharmaceutical control measures, including travel restrictions, physical distancing, isolation and quarantine, closure of schools and workplaces, and the use of personal protective equipment were the only tools available to public health authorities to control the spread of COVID-19. The implementation of these non-pharmaceutical control measures had unintended impacts on the ability of state and territorial domestic violence coalitions to provide services to victims. Methods A semi-structured interview guide to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted service provision and advocacy generally, and how COVID-19 control measures specifically, created barriers to services and advocacy, was developed, pilot tested, and revised based on feedback. Interviews with state and territorial domestic violence coalition executive directors were conducted between November 2021 and March 2022. Transcripts were inductively and deductively coded using both hand-coding and qualitative software. Results Forty-five percent (25 of 56) of state and territorial domestic violence coalition executive directors representing all 8 National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) regions were interviewed. Five themes related to the use of non-pharmaceutical pandemic control measures with impacts on the provision of services and advocacy were identified. Conclusions The use of non-pharmaceutical control measures early in the COVID-19 pandemic had negative impacts on the health and safety of some vulnerable groups, including domestic violence victims. Organizations that provide services and advocacy to victims faced many unique challenges in carrying out their missions while adhering to required public health control measures. Policy and preparedness plan changes are needed to prevent unintended consequences of control measure implementation among vulnerable groups as well as to identify lessons learned that should be applied in future disasters and emergencies.
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    Politicization of COVID-19 and Conspiratorial Beliefs Among Emergency & Public Health Officials
    (Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 2023-08-10) DeYoung, Sarah E.; Farmer, Ashley K.
    In this research, we identified how political beliefs impact emergency manager’s perception of COVID-19 severity and risk. Specifically, we gathered data from people with a broad range of roles in emergency management including healthcare, mitigation, response, fire, rescue, and other areas. We asked respondents their beliefs about the severity of COVID-19, their belief in health conspiracy theories, and the public health measures associated with COVID-19 response. Quantitative results showed political affiliation was a predictor for belief in health conspiracies, as well as beliefs about social distancing as a proper mitigation measure for the spread of COVID-19, and that age and years in emergency management were not significant predictors for beliefs in health conspiracies. Qualitative results included several main themes, including frustration about the politicization of COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts, challenges in PPE (personal protective equipment) procurement, tension between public health and emergency management, misinformation about COVID-19, and lack of leadership at the federal level. These findings fill a gap in the literature regarding how political beliefs shape risk, trust, decision-making, and collaboration within emergency management.
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    Examining the Prevalence and Risk Factors of School Bullying Perpetration Among Chinese Children and Adolescents
    (Frontiers in Psychology, 2022-03-14) Xue, Jia; Hu, Ran; Chai, Lei; Han, Ziqiang; Sun, Ivan Y.
    Background and Objectives: School bullying threatens the health of children and adolescents, such as mental health disorders, social deviant behaviors, suicidal behaviors, and coping difficulties. The present study aims to address (1) prevalence rates of both traditional and cyber school bullying perpetration, and (2) the associations between self-control, parental involvement, experiencing conflicts with parents, experiencing interparental conflict, and risk behaviors, and school bullying perpetration among Chinese children and adolescents. Method: This study used data from a national representative school bullying survey (n = 3,675) among children and adolescents from all grades (primary school 4th grade to high school 12th grade) in seven cities in China. Negative binomial regression was used to estimate the effects of these predictive factors on traditional and cyber school bullying perpetration, respectively. Seven control variables were included, such as gender, boarding school, family socioeconomic status, and parents’ education levels. Results: The sample comprised 52% female, 18% at boarding school, 70% of the participants’ academic performance was average or above. Approximately 17.3% of the participants reported participating in traditional school bullying against their peers, and 7.8% perpetrated cyberbullying behaviors. Also, after controlling sociodemographic characteristics and high self-control, parental involvement reduced the likelihood of traditional and cyberbullying perpetrating. Experiencing interparental conflict and risk behavior was significantly associated with increased perpetration of traditional and cyber school bullying. We found that having a conflict with parents was significantly associated with cyberbullying perpetration. Implications: Findings have implications for practice. Anti-bullying intervention programs targeting this population should consider these factors. For example, school administrators may develop school programs involving parents in the efforts and interventions workshops improving children and adolescents’ levels of self-control. Limitations are also discussed.
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    Stigmatized Bereavement: A Qualitative Study on the Impacts of Stigma for Those Bereaved by a Drug-Related Death
    (OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying, 2023-09-19) Stout, Joshua H.; Fleury-Steiner, Benjamin
    Research has given limited attention to family and friends bereaved by a drug-overdose death. To examine the ways in which stigma may uniquely impact the grieving processes of the bereaved, a thematic analysis of 35 semistructured in-depth interviews with family members and adult peers who lost a loved one to an overdose was conducted. Our findings demonstrate that the bereaved experience stigmatization after their loss. Specifically, respondents emphasized stigmatizing interactions with law enforcement, alienation from friends and family, a lack of social support, exchanges that enforced feeling rules, and being confronted by narratives of blame and individual choice as contributing to the degrees of stigmatization they experienced. Our findings highlight how bereavement becomes stigmatized to varying degrees through multiple interactions that have a compounding effect on mourners. We refer to this process as stigmatized bereavement, whereby the frequency of such interactions informs the degree of stigmatization the bereaved faces.
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    Social support, psychological strain, and suicidality: Evidence from Chinese universities
    (Psychology in the Schools, 2023-08-12) Wang, Wei; Zhang, Jie
    This study aimed to apply psychological strain theory to explore the relationship between psychological strain and suicidality among Chinese young adults with a moderating effect of perceived social support. A questionnaire was administered with the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised, and Psychological Strain Scale among 13,250 college students across China. The main determinants of suicidal behavior were examined with multiple linear regression. Two steps of multiple regression were employed to define the moderating effect of social support. A positive relationship between psychological strain and suicidality was reported in the study, and social support was confirmed as a moderating factor between psychological strain and suicidal behavior. Practitioner points - Psychological strain is positively associated with suicidal behavior among Chinese young adults. - Social support is negatively related to both psychological strain and suicidal behavior among Chinese young adults. - Social support acts as a moderator of the adverse effect of psychological strain on suicidal behavior.
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    Strain, depression, and deviant behavior among left-behind and non-left-behind adolescents in China
    (International Sociology, 2023-04-14) Xu, Xiaohua; Sun, Ivan Y.; Wu, Yuning
    China’s massive rural to urban migration has created a vast number of left-behind children (LBC) whose parents moved to cities for work. Drawing upon data from LBC and non-left-behind children (NLBC) in three Chinese cities, this study tests the applicability of general strain theory in explaining deviant behavior among adolescents. The analysis results show that LBC status is directly related to lower involvement in deviant behavior, whereas it is also directly linked to academic difficulty and depression, leading to more deviant acts. Compared with NLBC, LBC have an overall lower risk of deviance. Male and middle school students and students experiencing parental abuse and family poverty are more inclined to express greater depression, subsequently promoting higher participation in deviance.
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    Police Officers’ Preferences for Enforcing COVID-19 Regulatory Violations: The Impact of Organizational Support, Psychological Conditions, and Public Compliance
    (Crime and Delinquency, 2023-02-20) Sun, Ivan Y.; Wu, Yuning; Shen, Shan; Kutnjak Ivkovich, Sanja; Maskaly, Jon; Neyroud, Peter
    The coronavirus has stirred a wave of studies on policing the pandemic. Nonetheless, officers’ intentions to enforce COVID-related rules and regulations remain under-researched. Drawing upon survey data from 600 police officers in a major Chinese city, this study explores the associations between organizational support, behavioral and psychological conditions, and perceived public compliance and officers’ willingness to intervene in rule violations. Organizational support in providing supervisory instructions, training, and PPE increased the likelihood of officers issuing tickets, whereas minimizing COVID-19 risks to officers reduced the probability of officers not taking any action against rule violations. Officers who perceive community residents as compliant with pandemic regulations are less likely to take no action or use more punitive sanctions of ticket/fine and detention/arrest.
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    “Teachers think the kids around here, don't really want to learn”: Street-identified black men and women's attitudes toward teachers and schooling
    (Sociology Compass, 2022-12-21) Payne, Yasser Arafat; Aviles, Ann M.; Yates, Nefetaria A.
    This street participatory action research project explored the reflective schooling experiences of street identified Black men and women (ages 18–35) in two small low-income neighborhoods. Secondary analysis of survey (N = 520) and interview (N = 46) data examined: (1) How are attitudes toward schooling and teachers affected by race, gender and age?; and (2) How do students utilize a street-identity as a site of resilience inside schools? Overall, street-identified study participants held positive attitudes toward schooling, but generally performed poorly in schools and had negative experiences with educators. No significance was found as a function of gender and age regarding attitudes toward schooling and attitudes toward teachers. Also, interview results, across gender and age, suggest school-related structural challenges and poor teacher-student relationships contributed to severe conflict between students and teachers; and between students. Interviewees argued some Black students internalized a street identity or became disruptive and even engaged in school violence as a protective mechanism to endure hostile schooling environments. Moreover, Street PAR is discussed as a method and intervention to improve student performance and resolve concerns between students and educators.
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    The Distinct Role of Peers and Supervisors in Shaping Officers’ Just and Unjust Interactions with Citizens
    (Criminal Justice and Behavior, 2023-03-01) Peacock, Robert P.; Wu, Yuning; Ivković, Sanja Kutnjak; Sun, Ivan; Vinogradac, Marijan; Vinogradac, Valentina Pavlović
    This study steps outside the dominant supervisor-centric approach to organizational justice to examine the impact of peer officers on both procedural justice and injustice in officer–citizen interactions. Recent scandals over the failure of officers to not intercede or object to a colleague’s misconduct has led to a growing policy and research interest in peer influence, training, and intervention programs. A structural equation modeling analysis on a cross-national survey of officers decomposed the direct and indirect effects of peer procedural justice (PPJ) on anticipated officer just and unjust interactions with the public. The study’s finding that PPJ has a greater impact than supervisory procedural justice on officer anticipated just and unjust behavior suggests that policing studies should expand the modeling of organizational justice to include the role of interactions with peer officers. The outcome also adds to the nascent research seeking to better understand how peer-level interventions can promote procedurally just policing.
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    Are LARC Users Less Likely to Use Condoms? An Analysis of U.S. Women Initiating LARC in 2008–2018
    (Women's Health Issues, 2022-06-21) Eeckhaut, Mieke C. W.; Fitzpatrick, Katie
    Introduction: Public health professionals have raised concern that increased use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) could raise women's risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), because LARC's superior pregnancy protection may decrease women's motivation to use a barrier method for supplemental pregnancy prevention. This study uses population-based data to examine whether condom use is lower, particularly among young women who are at increased STI risk, after initiating LARC versus moderately effective methods. Methods: With the 2011–2019 data files of the National Survey of Family Growth, we examine the percent of sexually active months with condom use in the year after LARC or moderately effective method initiation for a nationally representative sample of 2,018 women aged 15–44 years. Multinomial logistic models regressed condom use on method type and age group, as well as their interaction, while adjusting for key confounders. Results: The unadjusted likelihood of any condom use is substantially lower among women who initiated LARC versus moderately effective methods (12% vs. 37%), and this difference is greater among younger versus older women. After accounting for differences in women's reproductive and sociodemographic profiles, however, a statistically significant difference in condom use by method initiated remains only for those aged 20–34 years. Conclusions: Crude estimates suggest that condom use is lower after initiating LARC versus moderately effective methods, especially among young women. After accounting for the confounding effects of LARC users’ distinct profiles—particularly in terms of parity and teenage childbearing—the difference is decreased overall and no longer significant for adolescent women. Overall results indicate a need for new STI prevention strategies and policies that emphasize the importance of dual prevention for LARC users at risk of STIs.
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    COVID-19 and U.S. Disputes Over Authority, 2020–2021: Implications for the Constructionist Analysis of Social Problems
    (Sociological Forum, 2022-09-25) Best, Joel; Monahan, Brian
    COVID-19 is very different from the cases typically studied by constructionist analysts of social problems: it emerged quickly, spread widely, and affected many aspects of social life. As such, it offers important opportunities to reconsider the constructionist model. We focus on three issues—metrics, masks, and vaccines—where COVID-19 disputes about authority led to different alliances among several categories of claimsmakers. Our point is that COVID-19 discourse seems far messier than most of the narratives presented by constructionist analysts, and we identify several lessons from this unusual contemporary case that might help us strengthen existing social problems theory.
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    Greening, Revitalization, and Health in South Wilmington, Delaware
    (Delaware Journal of Public Health, 2022-08) Perez, Victor W.; Swiatek, William
    We highlight the potential for paradoxical impacts of green infrastructure integrated with urban redevelopment. Absent directly addressing social inequalities in parallel efforts, green infrastructure may lead to negative health outcomes of disadvantaged residents, including eventual displacement. We present the research literature and reviews on this topic. We next highlight the case of recent in-migration of higher-income Whites and others in South Wilmington, Delaware, spurred on by high-end Riverfront redevelopment at Christina Landing. This migration may obscure how greening efforts—such as a new wetlands park to control area flooding—influence health outcomes in Southbridge, a low-income, African American neighborhood also within South Wilmington. The area’s Census tract boundary, often used in both health and equity assessments, is shared by these distinctive communities. When viewed through the lens of inequality, greening can have multi-faceted impacts that structure health outcomes. We underscore the importance of the mitigation of its potentially harmful effects.
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    Opioid-stimulant trends in overdose toxicology by race, ethnicity, & gender: An analysis in Delaware, 2013–2019
    (Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 2022-08-16) Gray, Andrew C.; Neitzke-Spruill, Logan; Hughes, Cresean; O’Connell, Daniel J.; Anderson, Tammy L.
    Recent upticks of stimulant presence in overdose deaths suggest the opioid epidemic is morphing, which raises questions about what drugs are involved and who is impacted. We investigate annual and growth rate trends in combined opioid-stimulant overdose toxicology between 2013 and 2019 for White, Black, and Hispanic male and female decedents in Delaware. During these years, toxicology shifted to illegal drugs for all with fentanyl leading the increase and opioid-cocaine combinations rising substantially. While combined opioid-cocaine toxicology grew among Black and Hispanic Delawareans, White males continue to report the highest rates overall. These findings depart from historical patterns and may challenge existing opioid epidemic policies.
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    Neighborhoods, Criminal Incidents, Race, and Sentencing: Exploring the Racial and Social Context of Disparities in Incarceration Sentences
    (The British Journal of Criminology: An International Review of Crime and Society, 2021-06-01) Donnelly, Ellen A.
    As an extra-legal factor, social context is a key contributor to racial/ethnic disparities in incarceration sentences. Neighborhoods may have important, yet underexplored influences on sentencing. This study evaluates whether the social conditions and racial characteristics of communities where defendants allegedly offend affect Black-White sentencing disparities. Three-level multilevel model results suggest larger Black populations in neighborhoods of criminal incident increase the odds of incarceration and, to a lesser extent, lengthen sentences for all defendants. Offending outside one’s residential community increases the probability and length of a prison sentence. Neighbourhood effects differ by race, however. Unlike Whites, Blacks receive more punitive sentences for committing offences in disadvantaged areas and less proportionally Black communities. Neighbourhoods thus contribute to racial differences in sentencing outcomes.
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    Maternal stress and social support during Hurricane Florence
    (Health Care for Women International, 2022-05-26) DeYoung, Sarah E.
    In theoretical research on disaster vulnerability, access to resources is critical for optimal outcomes. Studying the impact of a hurricane on maternal stress can expand theories of disaster vulnerability. This is a cross-sectional mixed-methods prospective study of maternal stress during Hurricane Florence in the United States. Results from chi-squares compared the proportion of respondents who reported having support for a financial emergency were significant, specifically that higher income respondents indicated the ability to rely on someone in case of an emergency. A regression analysis indicated that social support was significant and negatively related to stress as a dependent variable, while evacuation status and pregnancy status were not significant predictors of stress. Five themes emerged from the overall qualitative data: concerns about infant feeding, evacuation logistics, general stress, family roles, and ‘other’ issues.
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    “Secondary registrants”: A new conceptualization of the spread of community control
    (Punishment and Society, 2022-04-14) Leon, Chrysanthi S.; Kilmer, Ashley R.
    U.S. policies influence worldwide responses to sexual offending and community control. Individuals in the U.S. convicted of sex offenses experience surveillance and control beyond their sentences, including public registries and residency restrictions. While the targets are the convicted individuals, many registrants have romantic partners, children, and other family members also navigating these restrictions. Findings from a qualitative study using written and interview responses from a hard-to-reach group—family members of registrants (n  =  58)—reveal legal and extra-legal surveillance and control beyond the intended target. We argue that family members are “secondary registrants” enduring both the reach of sex offense policies into their personal lives and targeted harms because of their relationship with a convicted individual, including vigilantism and a “sex offender surcharge.” Family members engage in advocacy work to ameliorate sex offense restrictions to counteract their own stigmatization and social exclusion. Conceptually, secondary registration captures the unique and expansive reach of policy, state surveillance, and coercion on registrant family members and raises new concerns about spillover harm. Secondary registration demonstrates an understudied example of the neoliberal penal practice of de-centering the state but with the addition of deep stigmatization and the spread of sovereign and vigilante violence onto families.
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    Identifying the helpfulness of school climate: Skipping school, cheating on tests, and elements of school climate
    (Psychology in the Schools, 2022-04-06) Kupchik, Aaron; Highberger, James; Bear, George
    Prior research demonstrates the importance of school climate in shaping student behavior but tells us less about which aspects of school climate matter. In this paper we consider how distinct elements of school climate relate to skipping school and cheating on tests. Using survey and administrative data from several statewide Delaware sources, we perform a series of random-intercept logistic regression models. We find that students in schools perceived to have a climate with high levels of structure and support are less likely to report cheating on tests. Yet we do not find a robust relationship between most climate measures and skipping school. School climate relates strongly to in-school deviant behavior but much less to school-related deviant behavior occurring outside of schools. By specifying what measures of climate do and do not relate to problematic student behaviors, our results sharpen our understandings of how school climate shapes student behaviors.
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    ‘I’m Gonna Speak for Me’ I-Poems and the Situated Knowledges of Sex Workers
    (Ethics and Social Welfare, 2022-03-13) Buckridge, Maggie; Lowman, Jules; Leon, Chrysanthi S.
    In academic and political spaces, as well as in the dominant culture in the United States, sex workers are granted little authority, and their lived experiences are not privileged as a form of valuable knowledge. As feminist scholars, we seek to counter this pattern by highlighting the situated knowledges and agency of sex workers in the United States. To do so, we share the words of sex workers through I-poems. I-poems are a form of poetic inquiry and a method for qualitative research analysis. As a form of found poetry, these poems are constructed using only the words of the participants. Unlike prior scholars, we use focus groups that capture conversation about people involved in street-based sex work rather than individual interviews. By centering the participants’ own words, we hope to moderate our influence as researchers on the presentation of data.
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