Mairead Eastin Moloney

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  • Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Health, Society and Populations
  • Sociology
  • Gender and Women's Studies
1527 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:

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 (2011-2013, 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 also serve as affiliate faculty for the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, the Center for Health Equity Transformation, and the Health, Society, and Populations major.


My overarching career goal is to become an independent investigator of insomnia and sleep aid use among health disparities populations. I aim to better understand how stressors, particularly gendered social stressors, lead to sleep disorders which, in turn, fuel negative health outcomes. I also aim to reduce the use of minimally effective, potentially harmful prescription sleep medications via the implementation of effective, culturally acceptable, behavioral interventions.

In August of 2018, I completed data collection on my pilot project, “Evaluating Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Stress, Insomnia, and Sedative Hypnotic Use in Appalachian Women Ages 45+.” I piloted a well-validated online program (SHUTi - Sleep Healthy Using the Internet) to determine its feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy in reducing sedative hypnotic use and improving stress and sleep among Appalachian women ages 45+ (N=38). Preliminary data analyses indicate that participants experienced statistically significant reductions in insomnia severity, stress, depression symptoms, and sleep aid use. My next steps include additional analyses and dissemination of findings via conferences and journal articles. In 2019, I will leverage my findings for an R01 application in support of a refined, larger-scale intervention that incorporates multiple measures of cognition.

My pilot project was supported by my two-year appointment as a Scholar in the NIH-funded Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) program. I received additional funding from the "Igniting Research Collaborations" Pilot Grant (awarded through the UK College of Pharmacy), and the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Here is a link to a video where I describe my pilot project:

My work was also recently featured on WUKY, our local NPR station:

In addition to my sleep-focused research, I am keenly interested in 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, Gender & Society, Men and Masculinities​, SAGE Research Methods Cases, Deviant Behavior, and Sociology Compass.


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.

Since coming to 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. It provides 75% protected time, a financial allotment for research, strong mentorship, and exceptional peer support.

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."

Selected Publications: 

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

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.


PAPERS UNDER REVIEW AND WORKING PAPERS (*denotes student co-author)

Moloney, Mairead E., GYeon Oh,* and Daniela Moga. “Use of Prescription Medications for Insomnia among Adults Ages 45+ in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set.” (Revise and resubmit)

Moloney, Mairead E., Ashley Martinez,* Christal Badour, and Daniela Moga. “Evaluating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Insomnia, Sleep Aid Use, and Stress in Appalachian Women Ages 45+.” (Revise and resubmit)

Hansen, Anna,* and Mairead E. Moloney. “Maternal Mortality and Severe Morbidity in Rural Appalachia: The Prevalence of Established Risks and the Need to Know More.” (Revise and Resubmit)

Moloney, Mairead E., Madeline Dunfee,* Matthew Rutledge, and Nancy Schoenberg. “Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia: A mixed method evaluation of feasibility and acceptability in Appalachian women.” (Under review)

Moloney, Mairead E., and Anna Hansen.* “Too Tired to Sleep? Exploring the Intersections of Stress, Gender, and Insomnia in Appalachian Women.” (In preparation for Sleep Health)

Moloney, Mairead E., Robyn Lewis Brown, and Ashley Martinez*. “The Impact of Sleep on Coping: A Mixed-Method Assessment of Appalachian Women.” (In preparation for Journal of Health Psychology)

Moloney, Mairead E., Thomas R. Konrad, Harry Barbee,* and Meghana Kudrimoti*. “The Continuum of Medicalization.” (In preparation for Journal of Health and Social Behavior)

Larkin, Shelagh,* and Mairead E. Moloney. The Medicalization of Women’s Reproduction: An Intersectional Analysis.” (In preparation for Sociology Compass)




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