I am a Sociologist and Postdoctoral Fellow in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. My research examines health, gender, and social inequality.
My primary research agenda investigates health disparities across class, race, and gender in the United States. I draw on both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand how neighborhoods, schools, and families shape our health behaviors and outcomes. My work has been published in journals such as Social Science & Medicine, Sociological Science, and the Journal of Adolescent Health.
I hold a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University, a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Bremen, and a B.S. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University.
Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, SOCIO-PHD (2018)
Master of Arts, University of Bremen, Anthropology (2011)
Bachelor of Science, Northwestern University, Education and Social Policy (2008)
Christopher Gardner, Postdoctoral Research Mentor
- Intentional Invisibility: Professional Women and the Navigation of Workplace Constraints SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES 2019; 62 (1): 23–41
You're worth what you eat: Adolescent beliefs about healthy eating, morality and socioeconomic status.
Social science & medicine (1982)
2018; 220: 41–48
Amidst growing concern about adolescents' diets and dietary health in the United States, this article asks: what does healthy eating mean to adolescents? Using data from in-depth interviews conducted with 74 adolescents across socioeconomic status (SES) in California in 2015-2016, I show how adolescents view healthy eating as a moral, affluent practice and use discussions of healthy eating to assert their own morality and socioeconomic position. Adolescents associate healthy eating with 1) financial privilege and 2) moral superiority. Adolescents differ, however, in how they view their own families' healthy eating habits, and accordingly, their own moral worth. Most middle- and high-SES adolescents depict their families as healthy eaters. They trace their families' healthy diets to financial privilege while simultaneously framing these diets as morally superior. In the process, middle- and high-SES adolescents distinguish their families - as healthy eaters - from poor, "unhealthy" families. In contrast, few low-SES adolescents describe their families as healthy eaters. On the one hand, these adolescents report that financial constraints limit their families' abilities to eat healthily. But most also subscribe to the same discourses that label healthy eating as morally superior. While a minority of low-SES adolescents push back against these discourses to regain a sense of moral worth, overall, more privileged adolescents' beliefs about healthy eating enable them to assert themselves as good, moral people, while those shared beliefs challenge less privileged adolescents' abilities to do the same. In this way, beliefs about healthy eating serve as a powerful medium for adolescents to mark and moralize socioeconomic groups, and each other.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.10.022
View details for PubMedID 30391640
How Food Rules at Home Influence Independent Adolescent Food Choices.
The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine
PURPOSE: The prevalence of unhealthy dietary behaviors among adolescents is high. We examined the effect of having health-oriented food rules at home on the healthiness of adolescents' independent food choices, and the necessity of parental oversight for such rules to be effective.METHODS: We surveyed a socioeconomically and racially diverse San Francisco Bay Area public high school in May 2017 (N=1,246). We used ordinal logistic regressions to assess the relationships between adolescent-reported presence of health-oriented food rules at home and the healthiness of snacks selected by adolescents in a raffle, which included a randomized controlled experiment to manipulate the level of parental approval students needed to pick up their snacks.RESULTS: Adolescents reporting at least one health-oriented food rule at home were significantly more likely to choose healthier snacks in the raffle (adjusted odds ratio, 1.85; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.41-2.45). Telling adolescents that a parent needed to approve the snacks did not have a significant effect on snack choice healthiness relative to a no-approval baseline condition (adjusted odds ratio, 1.01; 95% CI .55-1.86). Post hoc analyses suggest that rules may affect adolescent food-related attitudes and perceptions of parental reactions; for example, adolescents with rules reported that their parents would be more disappointed (adjusted mean difference on five-point scale, .5; 95% CI .36-.64) if they made an unhealthy food choice.CONCLUSIONS: Having health-oriented food rules at home is associated with healthier snack choices. Findings suggest that adolescents with rules also hold beliefs that may correspond to healthier independent dietary choices.
View details for PubMedID 29779673
Dining with dad: Fathers' influences on family food practices
2017; 117: 98–108
Scholars have documented multiple influences on family food practices. This article examines an overlooked contributor to family diet: fathers. Using 109 in-depth interviews with middle and upper-middle class mothers, adolescents, and fathers in the United States, I show how fathers can undermine mothers' efforts to provision a healthy diet. While family members perceive mothers as committed to provisioning a healthy diet, many fathers are seen as, at best, detached and, at worst, a threat to mothers' dietary aspirations. Fathers not only do little foodwork; they are also viewed as less concerned about their own and other family members' dietary health. When tasked with feeding, many fathers often turn to quick, unhealthy options explicitly avoided by mothers. Mothers report efforts to limit fathers' involvement in foodwork to ensure the healthiness of adolescents' diets, with variation across families by mothers' employment status. Fathers' dietary approaches reflect and reinforce traditional gender norms and expectations within families. In highlighting how and why fathers can undermine mothers' efforts to provision a healthy diet, this study deepens our understanding of the myriad dynamics shaping family food practices.
View details for PubMedID 28629930
- A Taste of Inequality: Food's Symbolic Value across the Socioeconomic Spectrum SOCIOLOGICAL SCIENCE 2017; 4: 424–48
Table talk: How mothers and adolescents across socioeconomic status discuss food
SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE
2017; 187: 49–57
This article reports findings from a qualitative study of food practices among families of differing socioeconomic circumstances. Using in-depth interviews from sixty-two families in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015-2016, we find socioeconomic differences in how mothers and adolescents talk about food. Across SES, mothers and adolescents engage in discussions about healthy eating. However, these conversations are more commonplace and embedded within high-SES family life than among low-SES families. Beyond conversations about 1) healthy eating, the topics of 2) food quality and 3) price are discussed to varying degrees across SES. Within high-SES families, frequent discussions of healthy eating are paired with dialogue highlighting the importance of consuming higher quality food. Price is largely absent as a topic of conversation among high-SES families. On the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, low-SES mothers and adolescents frequently engage in conversations about price when discussing food. Mentions of food quality are rare, but when they do occur, they underscore important trade-offs between food's healthiness, quality and price. Given prior research showing the impact of dialogue between parents and adolescents on adolescents' dietary behaviors, these findings help us understand how family discussions contribute to shaping adolescents' approaches to food. An important implication is that high-SES families' discussions of food quality may strengthen messages about healthy eating, while conversations about affordability within low-SES families may highlight financial barriers to healthy eating.
View details for PubMedID 28654821
- Collaborative and Transformational Leadership in the Environmental Realm JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY & PLANNING 2015; 17 (3): 360-380