Open Access Publications

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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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    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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