Brea L. Perry

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Education: 
Ph.D., Indiana University, 2008
Research: 

Broadly, my research examines the interrelated roles of dynamic social networks, peer and family relationships, social structure, culture, and biological systems in disease etiology and the illness career. My research has focused largely on mental illness and at-risk youth, and I have a strong interest in longitudinal research, dynamic social processes, and quantitative methods. Much of my work examines how and why social network structure and function evolve in response to the onset of mental illness, focusing on stigma and the activation of supportive ties. I have also published on public attitudes toward mental health services, as well as the effects of cultural conceptions of mental illness on relationships and life chances. Other research examines interactions between genetic risk and social factors in complex disease pathways, focusing on the ways that social context can attenuate or exacerbate genetic predisposition.

Selected Publications: 

Perry, Brea L., Bernice A. Pescosolido, Kathleen Bucholz, Howard Edenberg, John Kramer, Samuel Kuperman, Marc Alan Schuckit, and John I. Nurnberger, Jr. 2013. "Gender-Specific Gene-Environment Interaction in Alcohol Dependence: The Impact of Daily Life Events and GABRA2." Behavior Genetics 43:402-14.

Perry, Brea L. and Bernice A. Pescosolido. 2012. "Social Network Dynamics in the Face of Biographical Disruption: The Case of “First Timers” with Mental Illness." American Journal of Sociology 118:134-75.

Perry, Brea L., Erin Pullen, and Carrie B. Oser. 2012. “Too Much of a Good Thing? Psychosocial Resources, Gendered Racism, and Suicidal Ideation among Low-Socioeconomic Status African American women.” Social Psychology Quarterly 75:334-59.

Perry, Brea L. 2012. “Coming Untied? Narrative Accounts of Social Network Dynamics   From First-Time Mental Health Clients.” Sociology of Health and Illness 34:1-15.

Perry, Brea L. 2011. “The Labeling Paradox: Stigma, the Sick Role, and Social Networks in Mental Illness.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 52:460-77.
 
Perry, Brea L. and Bernice Pescosolido. 2010. “Functional Specificity in Discussion Networks:  The Influence of General and Problem-Specific Networks on Health Outcomes.” Social Networks 32:345-57.
 

Pescosolido, Bernice, Brea L. Perry, J. Scott Long, Jack K. Martin, John I. Nurnberger, and Victor Hesselbrock. 2008. “Under the Influence of Genetics: How Transdisciplinarity Leads Us to Rethink Social Pathways to Illness.” American Journal of Sociology 114(S1):S171-201. Winner of the Eliot Freidson Outstanding Publication Award.

Current Projects

Poverty, Social Networks, and Childhood Obesity – Study explores cultural meanings and social motivations associated with food that influence families’ consumption decisions and other obesity-related health behaviors and outcomes. A central aim is to investigate how race and social class shape social networks and behavioral and body norms in ways that create obesogenic peer and family environments for children.

Indianapolis Network Mental Health Study – Research examines social network structure, function, and dynamics following first entry into mental health treatment. Other work focuses on understanding which ties are activated to provide support for people experiencing a mental health crisis and why.

Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism – Projects investigate gene x environment interactions in pathways to alcohol dependence and youth conduct disorder, with an emphasis on the stress process, family and peer interactions, and the social safety net.

Black Women in a Study of Epidemics – Research explores the impact of gendered racism on African American women, identifying cultural and social network factors that mediate or moderate the effects of racism and sexism on outcomes such as drug abuse, suicidality, and chronic illness.

Translating Research to Youth through Information Technology – This longitudinal study assesses the effects of an intervention to improve science knowledge, interest, and attitudes among middle school children who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and/or members of racial/ethnic minority groups.

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