We Have a Winner. . . .

May 2, 2013
Posted by Jay Livingston

They came from all over, the students did – from biology and economics, from business and psychology, physics and earth science.  They unrolled their posters or polished their panel presentations – more than 300 graduate and undergraduate students at Montclair’s seventh annual student research symposium.

And when the dust had settled, and the judges had finished their rounds of the posters and oral presentations, four projects were deemed worthy of a prize. Two of these were by graduate students. One of the two undergraduate winners was a sociology major, Jessica McCabe.* 

Jessica’s project untangled several factors that might contribute differences in women’s health.  Her data came from an survey (n ≈9000) of women in India.
In recent years, the politicization of Islam has led many to make conclusions about the religion and the effect that it has on women. The health differences between Muslims and non-Muslims are often attributed to the restrictive nature of Islam. Therein lies the question, “does empowerment or context have the greater effect on Muslim and Hindu women's reproductive health and health-seeking behavior?”
She operationalized “empowerment” with a measure of private-sphere decisions (what to buy, etc.) and public sphere autonomy (going to the market or to see relatives).  At first glance, it looksas though the poorer health of Muslim women follows from their relative lack of power and autonomy.  But when Jessica controlled for the contextual effects from SES, location, age, etc, these differences washed out.  Here are the four points on her poster
1. Compared to Hindu women, Muslim women are more disadvantaged across several indicators of health and use of maternal health services.
2. For Muslim women, mobility in the public sphere does not influence health.
3. For Hindus in general, the effect of empowerment is washed away with the introduction of context variables. Location seems to have a greater effect on health.
4. Context (household socioeconomic status and locality) has a greater influence on health and use of services, although the exact pathways need to be explored further.
The other sociology poster was by Ian Callahan.  Using GSS data, Ian traced attitudes towards stigmatized groups – homosexuals, communists, anti-religionists, and militarists. Should they be allowed to teach in a university? 

Ian’s research found a strong generational effect –  less tolerant people tend to be from the pre-1950 cohort; they also tended to be less educated and more Southern.  Gender had no consistent effect. Women were more tolerant of gays and militarists, less tolerant of anti-religionists and communists. 

Here are our two poster children with their wonderful advisor Sangeeta Parashar.

*The other undergraduate award, for an oral presentation, was shared by eight co-authors -- too numerous to mention.

1 comment:

Faye Allard said...

Big up our wonderful students and their brilliant adviser Dr. Parashar! So proud of you all!