C. André Christie-Mizell
Professor of Sociology
Dean for Undergraduate Education,
College of Arts and Science
Health Policy Associate, Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College
Affiliated Faculty, Center for Medicine, Health and Society
What are the relationships among race-ethnicity, family dynamics and health?
My research focuses on how family functioning, roles, and identity shape the psychological well-being and health of both parents and children. I am interested in multiple outcomes ranging from substance use, mental health problems, and physical health limitations to bullying behavior, the personal sense of mastery, and self-esteem. A common theme in my work is how mechanisms that link the social psychology of the individual and families to well being vary by race and gender.
In recent work, I found that, for both African Americans and Caribbean Blacks, positive racial group identity and family social support promote lower depressive symptoms. While these effects are additive for African Americans, high levels of positive racial group identity maximize the benefits of family social support for Caribbean Blacks. In other work on family and children, I investigate the relationships among bullying behavior, mother’s and father’s work hours, and young adolescents’ perceptions about whether they spend sufficient time with parents. Although maternal work hours and adolescents’ perceptions of the time spent with mothers are not directly related to bullying behavior, when paternal employment is full- or overtime and youth perceive they do not spend enough with their fathers, bullying behavior increases. These findings indicate that children’s expectations about time spent with parents may be just as important in their development as the amount of time parents spend away from the home.