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Mairead Eastin Moloney

Research Interests:
medical sociology
Health Disparities and Health Equity
mixed methods
gender and ethnic identity; social inequalities; domestic violence; Appalachian studies; identity reconstruction
Alcohol Use Disorders

I received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. Subsequently, I held postdoctoral fellowships in both research (2009-2011, Program on Integrative Medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and teaching (2011-2014, Department of Sociology at North Carolina State University).

In 2014, I joined the University of Kentucky as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. I was promoted to Associate Professor, with tenure, in 2020. I also serve as affiliate faculty for the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, the Center for Health Equity Transformation, The Appalachian Studies Program, and the Health, Society, and Populations major.


I strive to reduce sleep disparities, and am particularly focused on improving outcomes for health disparity and marginalized populations in Appalachian Kentucky and beyond. In September of 2021, I was awarded my first NIH R01: "Restoring Equitable Sleep Time (REST) in Appalachia." This longitudinal study, led jointly with MPI Dr. Christal Badour (Psychology), will recruit approximately 400 adults from Eastern Kentucky and track sleep and health habits over time. We will use qualitative, quantitative, and biometric methods to assess factors that may contribute to Eastern Kentucky's ranking as one of the nation's largest hotspots of insufficient sleep.

I am also working with Dr. Jessica Weafer (Psychology) to better understand: a) how the COVID pandemic impacted health behaviors related to sleep, stress, and alcohol use and b) if an online insomnia intervention may reduce drinking and improve sleep in heavy drinking adults with insomnia. We were recently awarded an NIH R21 to evaluate Sleep Healthy Using the Internet (SHUTi) (an online cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) in heavy drinking adults with insomnia.

In addition to my sleep-focused research, I am interested in the reduction of preterm birth in Appalachian women, medicalization, virtual manhood acts, and the intersection of gender and disability. I have published on these topics in a wide range of journals including: the American Journal of Public Health, Sociology of Health and Illness, Health Equity, Journal of Rural Health, Gender & Society, Men and Masculinities​, and Journal of Applied Gerontology.


Professional Achievements and Honors

As a graduate student, I was awarded two competitive, pre-doctoral fellowships. My fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. My fellowship in the Carolina Program in Health and Aging Research was funded by the National Institute on Aging. I was also awarded the Beth B. Hess Memorial Scholarship. This award, jointly awarded by Sociologists for Women in Society, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the American Sociological Association, uniquely recognizes Sociology PhD students who begin their careers in community or technical colleges and are committed to research and teaching focused on gender and/or aging.

In 2017, here at the University of Kentucky, I was awarded a Scholar position in the NIH Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health [BIRCWH] program. The BIRCWH program supports early stage faculty who demonstrate exceptional potential for a career in women’s health research.

In 2021 I was chosen as a scholarship recipient for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's Young Investigators Research Forum. This opportunity led to networking opportunities, and collaborations with some of the leading sleep scholars in the nation. 

My gender-focused research has resulted in nominations for: a) the American Sociological Associations's Sex and Gender Section, Distinguished Paper Awards and b) the Southern Sociological Society's Katherine Jocher-Belle Boone Beard Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Understanding of Gender and Society.

In addition to building a strong research agenda, I am committed to teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. In 2018 I received the "Teacher Who Made a Difference" Award from the UK College of Education, and was also the UK Office of Undergraduate Research's "Faculty Mentor of the Week," March 19-23. I was also honored with a nomination for the UK College of Arts and Sciences' "Outstanding Teaching Award." Most recently, I won the 2022 "Outstanding Professor of the Year Award" from the University of Kentucky's Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Selected Publications:

PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS (*denotes student co-author) (**denotes shared first authorship)

Verlinden, Justin, Mairead E. Moloney, Lauren Whitehurst, and Jessica Weafer. 2022. “Sex Differences in the Association Between Poor Sleep Quality and Alcohol-Related Problems Among Heavy Drinkers with Insomnia.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience: Individual and Social Behaviors. DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2022.875168

Strzelecki, Ashley, Mairead E. Moloney, Alyssa Brooks, and Jessica Weafer. 2022. “Alcohol Use, Sleep, and Depression Among Family Caregivers in the Time of COVID-19.” Alcohol. DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2022.875168

Hansen, Anna,* Mairead E. Moloney, Jing Li, and Niraj Chavan. 2021. “Preterm Birth Prevention in Appalachia: Restructuring Prenatal Care Delivery to Address Rural Health Disparities and Establish Perinatal Health Equity.” Health Equity. DOI: 10.1089/heq.2020.0064

Moloney, Mairead E., Anna Hansen,* Cynthia Cockerham-Morris, Jing Li, and Niraj Chavan. 2021. “Appalachian  Women’s Perspectives on Preterm Birth and Transvaginal Ultrasound Cervical Length Screening: Implications for Addressing Disparities in Preterm Birth.” Health Care: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation. DOI: 10.1016/j.hjdsi.2021.100558

Hansen, Anna,* Mairead E. Moloney, Cynthia Cockerham-Morris, Jing Li, and Niraj Chavan. 2020. “Preterm Birth Prevention in Appalachian Kentucky: Understanding Barriers and Facilitators Related to Transvaginal Ultrasound Cervical Length Surveillance Among Obstetric Providers.” Women’s Health Reports. DOI: 10.1089/whr.2019.0023

Moloney, Mairead E., Madeline Dunfee,* Matthew Rutledge, and Nancy Schoenberg. 2020. “Evaluating the Feasibility and Acceptability of Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Rural Women.” Women’s Health Reports. DOI: 10.1089/whr.2020.0053

Martinez, Ashley I.,* Joshua Spencer,* Mairead E. Moloney, Christal Badour, Emily Reeve, Daniela C. Moga. 2020. “Attitudes Toward Deprescribing in a Middle-Aged Health Disparities Population.” Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. DOI: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2020.02.014

Moloney, Mairead E., GYeon Oh,* and Daniela Moga. 2019. “Use of Prescription Medications for Insomnia among Adults Ages 45+ in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set.” Journal of Applied Gerontology. DOI: 10.1177/0733464819888447

Moloney, Mairead E., Ashley Martinez,* Christal Badour, and Daniela Moga. 2019. “Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Appalachian Women: A Pilot Study.” Behavioral Sleep Medicine. DOI: 10.1080/15402002.2019.1661249

Hansen, Anna,* and Mairead E. Moloney. 2019. “Maternal Mortality and Severe Morbidity in Rural Appalachia: The Prevalence of Established Risks and the Need to Know More.” The Journal of Rural Health. DOI: 10.1111/jrh.12383

Moloney, Mairead E., Gabriele Ciciurkaite, and Robyn Lewis Brown. 2019. “Trends in Sleeplessness, Insomnia Diagnosis, and Prescription Sedative Hypnotics: Outcomes of U.S. Physician Office Visits 2007-2015.” SSM: Population Health. DOI:

Ciciurkaite, Gabriele,** Mairead E. Moloney,** and Robyn Lewis Brown. 2019. “The Incomplete Medicalization of Obesity: Physician Visits, Diagnoses, and Treatments, 1996-2014." Public Health Reports. DOI:

Brown, Robyn Lewis, and Mairead E. Moloney. 2018. “Intersectionality, Work, and Well-Being: The Effects of Gender and Disability.” Gender & Society. DOI: 10.1177/0891243218800636

Barbee, Harry N.*, Mairead E. Moloney, and Thomas R. Konrad. 2018. “Selling Slumber:  Sleeplessness, Medicalization, and the Critical Role of American Capitalism.” Sociology Compass. DOI: 10.1111/soc4.12622

Moloney, Mairead E. and Tony P. Love. 2018. “Assessing Online Misogyny: Perspectives from Sociology and Feminist Media Studies.” Sociology Compass. DOI: 10.1111/soc4.12577

Moloney, Mairead E., Robyn Lewis Brown, Gabriele Ciciurkaite, and Susan Foley. 2018. “‘Going the Extra Mile’: Experiences of Stigma Management among Working Women with Disabilities.” Deviant Behavior. DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2018.1445445

Love, Tony P., Mairead E. Moloney, and Amanda M. Bunting.* 2018. “Analyzing Virtual Manhood: Qualitative Analysis of Fappening-Related Twitter Data.” SAGE Research Methods Cases. DOI: 10.4135/9781526429797

Brown, Robyn Lewis, Mairead E. Moloney, and Jordan Brown. 2017. “Gender Differences in the Processes Linking Public Stigma and Self-Disclosure among College Students with Mental Illness." Journal of Community Psychology 46(2):202-212.

Brown, Robyn Lewis, Mairead E. Moloney, and Gabriele Ciciurkaite. 2017. “People with Physical Disabilities, Work, and Well-Being: The Importance of Autonomous and Creative Work.” Pp. 205-224 in Research in Social Science and Disability. Vol. 10, Factors in Studying Employment for Persons with Disability: How the Picture Can Change, edited by B.M. Altman. United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing.

Moloney, Mairead E., and Tony P. Love. 2017. “#TheFappening: Virtual Manhood Acts in (Homo)Social Media.” Men and Masculinities. DOI: 10.1177/1097184X17696170

  • Reprinted as: Moloney, Mairead E., and Tony P. Love. 2017. “#TheFappening: Virtual Manhood Acts in (Homo)Social Media.” Chapter 10 in Unmasking Masculinities: Men and Society, edited by E. W. Morris, and F.B. Oeur. Los Angeles: Sage.

Moloney, Mairead E. 2017. “‘Sometimes, it’s Easier to Write the Prescription’: Physician and Patient Accounts of the Reluctant Medicalisation of Sleeplessness.” Sociology of Health and Illness 39(3):333-348.

Moloney, Mairead E. 2016. “Bitten: A Patient with Tickborne Disease Struggles to Find the Right Provider.” Health Affairs 35(1):169-173.

Moloney, Mairead E., and Lisa J. Pelehach.* 2014. “‘You’re Not Good Enough’: Teaching Undergraduate Students about the Sexualization of Girls and Women.” Teaching Sociology 42(2):119-129.

Moloney, Mairead E., Thomas R. Konrad, and Catherine R. Zimmer. 2011. “The Medicalization of Sleeplessness: A Public Health Concern.” American Journal of Public Health 101(8):1429-1433.

Bussey-Jones, Jada, Joanne Garret, Gail Henderson, Mairead E. Moloney, Connie Blumenthal, and Giselle Corbie-Smith. 2010. “The Role of Race and Trust in Tissue/Blood Donation for Genetic Research.” Genetics in Medicine 12(2):116-121.

Bussey-Jones, Jada, Gail Henderson, Joanne Garret, Mairead E. Moloney, Connie Blumenthal, and Giselle Corbie-Smith. 2009. “Asking the Right Questions: Views on Genetic Variation Research Among Participants in a Colorectal Cancer Genetic Epidemiology Study.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 24(3):299-304.

Corbie-Smith, Giselle, Connie Blumenthal, Gail Henderson, Joanne Garrett, Jada Bussey-Jones, Mairead E. Moloney, Robert S. Sandler, Stacey W. Lloyd, Jessica Dorrance, and Jane Darter. 2008. “Studying Genetic Research Participants: Lessons from the ‘Learning About Research in North Carolina’ Study.” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 17(8):2019-2024.

Henderson, Gail, Joanne Garrett, Jada Bussey-Jones, Mairead E. Moloney, Connie Blumenthal, and Giselle Corbie-Smith. 2008. “Great Expectations: Views of Genetic Research Participants Regarding Current and Future Studies.” Genetics in Medicine 10(3):193-200.

Kurzman, Charles, Chelise Anderson, Clinton Key, Youn Ok Lee, Mairead Moloney, Alexis Silver, Maria Van Ryn. 2007. “Celebrity Status.” Sociological Theory 25(4):347-67.

Schuster, Jennifer L., Jaimie Ciulla Timmons, Mairead Moloney. 2003. “Barriers to Successful Transition for Young Adults Who Receive SSI and Their Families.” Career Development for Exceptional Individuals 26:47-66.

Whitney-Thomas, Jean, and Mairead Moloney. 2001. “‘Who I Am and What I Want’: Adolescents’ Self-Definition and Struggles.” Exceptional Children 67(3):375-389.