RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Area(s) of Expertise:
Social Demography, Social Stratification, Research Methods, Community, Context/Neighborhood Effects
Elizabeth Wildsmith, a family demographer who studies family formation and reproductive health, received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in December of 2004. While there she developed a strong interest in several areas of social demography, including the complex relationships that exist between social context, the family, individual level disadvantage, and individual well-being. Her dissertation, titled “Non-Marital Among Mexican American Women: Exploring the Role of Social Context”, looked at race/ethnic differences in the transition to adulthood. Building on this work, she plans to focus more closely on how social and family contexts are defined and measured, which contexts are relevant for whom, and which mechanisms link these contexts to individual well-being. She is interested in how social and family contexts may increase exposure to, or offer protection from, risk factors associated with negative health outcomes. And she is particularly interested in whether Mexican American women are affected in similar ways as Black women by their minority status within the United States, or whether a distinct ethnic heritage and/or ethnic experience independently affects their well-being.