RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Sociology, Social Demography
Area(s) of Expertise:
Obesity, Family Factors that Predict Adolescent Health and Health Risk Behavior, Education Fertility
Michelle Frisco is an Assistant Professor of Sociology & Demography at Penn State University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2003-2005. Her research focuses on intersections between family life, education, and health/health risk-behavior during adolescence and the transition to adulthood. Much of her previous scholarship identifies the ways that family structure, family structure transitions, and different aspects of parenting influence adolescent health and well-being. Her most recent research, has examined the consequences of body weight for adolescent mental health and family formation trajectories with an eye towards understanding the complexities in these associations. This work has been supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the Penn State BIRCWH Scholars Program (an NIH-supported career development award focused on interdisciplinary research on women’s health and gender differences in health). She is also part of a team that was recently awarded a program project grant from NICHD to examine the health and well-being of children of Mexican immigrants. Her work with colleagues on the project will identify different contextual features of U.S. and Mexican society that contribute to childhood obesity among this group.