PhD Candiate Patricia Louie and Professor Blair Wheaton on “The Black-White Paradox” in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour

Blair WheatonPh.D. Candidate Patricia Louie and Professor Blair Wheaton  published an article in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, entitled “The Black-White Paradox Revisited: Understanding the Role of Counterbalancing Mechanisms.” The article explores the enduring paradox that black adolescents report similar or better mental health than whites in mental health literature despite social and economic disadvantage that would lead us to expect otherwise. Patricia Louie’s research investigates racial disparities in mental and physical health. She is interested in how societal conditions produce racial inequities in population health. She currently holds a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship for her comparative research on race, discrimination, and mental/physical health.

Professor Blair Wheaton is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and specializes in the areas of quantitative methods and the sociology of mental health. His current research examines the role of neighbourhood effects on mental health outcomes.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available here.

Louie, Patricia and Blair Wheaton. “The Black-White Paradox Revisited: Understanding the Role of Counterbalancing Mechanisms.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 60(2): 169-187.

The tendency for blacks to report similar or better mental health than whites has served as an enduring paradox in the mental health literature for the past three decades. However, a debate persists about the mechanisms that underlie this paradox. Drawing on the stress process framework, we consider the counterbalancing roles of self-esteem and traumatic stress exposure in understanding the “black-white paradox” among U.S. adolescents. Using nationally representative data, we observe that blacks have higher levels of self-esteem than whites but also encounter higher levels of traumatic stress exposure. Adjusting for self-esteem reveals a net higher rate of mood disorders and distress among blacks relative to whites, and differences in traumatic stress exposure mediate this association. In the full model, we show that self-esteem and stress exposure offset each other, resulting in a null association between race and mood disorders and a reduced association between race and distress.

PhD Candidate Patricia Louie and Professor Blair Wheaton on “Prevalence and Patterning of Mental Disorders Through Adolescence in Three Cohorts of Black and White Americans”

Blair WheatonPhD Candidate Patricia Louie and Professor Blair Wheaton have co-authored an article published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, entitled “Prevalence and Patterning of Mental Disorders Through Adolescence in Three Cohorts of Black and White Americans.” This article examines the black-white disparities in mental disorders across three cohorts of blacks and whites in the United States. The findings suggest that the mental disorder patterns of black and white Americans have changed across cohorts.

Patricia Louie is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She explores the racial patterning of mental health in her work. Currently, Patricia’s research examines racial disparities in mental and physical health using multiple dimensions of race, including skin tone. In addition, she examines the counterbalancing role of social stressors and coping resources in explaining race and skin tone inequalities in health. Blair Wheaton is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto (St. George). He specializes in quantitative methods and the sociology of mental health. Professor Wheaton’s current research examines the role of neighbourhood effects on mental health outcomes. He is particularly interested in effects over time. Professor Wheaton is currently funded, along with co-investigators in Sociology and St. Michael’s Hospital, to conduct a major Toronto survey on the effects of neighbourhood on mental health. These projects are: Neighbourhood Contexts, the Individual, and Mental Health: A Multilevel Study and Investigating Neighbourhood Effects on Mental Health. This major project is supported by SSHRC, CIHR and the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available here.

Patricia Louie, Blair Wheaton, Prevalence and Patterning of Mental Disorders Through Adolescence in 3 Cohorts of Black and White Americans, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 187, Issue 11, November 2018, Pages 2332–2338,

The tendency for US blacks to report similar or lower rates of mental disorder than whites is well-established. However, whether these disparities are stable across cohorts of black and white Americans is not well understood. In the current study, we examined black-white differences in the lifetime prevalence of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, mood, anxiety, impulse control, and substance use disorders and any mental disorders across 3 cohorts of blacks and whites aged 4–18 years. Using merged data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (2001–2003) and the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (2001–2004), we observed a change in the black-white patterning of mental disorder between 1957 and 2004. Blacks born during 1957–1969 reported lower rates of anxiety disorders than their white counterparts (odds ratio (OR) = 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.52, 0.91); blacks born during 1970–1982 reported no difference in the rates of anxiety disorders relative to whites (OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.76, 1.25); and blacks born during 1983–1991 reported higher rates of anxiety disorders than whites (OR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.18, 1.43). Similar but less distinct trends were observed for mood disorders, impulse control disorders, and any disorders. Our results suggest that the black-white patterning of mental disorder in the United States has changed across cohorts, to the disadvantage of black Americans.

PhD Graduate Marie-Pier Joly and Professor Blair Wheaton on the Impact of Armed Conflict on the Mental Health of Migrants to Canada

PhD Graduate Marie-Pier Joly and Professor Blair Wheaton published an article in Society and Mental Health. The article assesses the impact of armed conflict in country of origin on mental health in migrants to Canada. Joly and Wheaton examine variation in stress to understand differences in mental health between those who experienced conflict and those who did not, as well as between men and women within each category.

Marie-Pier Joly obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2017. She is a postdoctoral researcher at Göttingen University studying the experiences of migrants from Muslim-majority countries. Blair Wheaton is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and his current research examines the role of neighbourhood effects on mental health outcomes.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Joly, Marie-Pier and Blair Wheaton. 2014. “The Impact of Armed Conflict in the Country of Origin on Mental Health after Migration to Canada.” Society and Mental Health, 5(2):86-105.

This article examines mental health differences among migrants who emigrated from both armed conflict countries and non–conflict countries versus native-born Canadians. We propose that the impact of armed conflict on mental health depends on defining characteristics of the conflict. Our analysis of migrants to Toronto, Canada, suggests that exposure to major intrastate conflicts have long-term impacts on depression among women and anxiety levels among men after migration. We assess the role of different stages and types of stress proliferation in explaining these differences. Postmigratory chronic stress helps explain differences in depression between migrant women who experienced conflict and both those who did not and Canadian-born women. Conversely, traumatic stress that occurred during the ongoing armed conflict at time of migration helped explain differences in anxiety between migrant men exposed to conflict and both migrant men not exposed and Canadian-born men.

Read the full article here.

Congratulations to Professor Blair Wheaton, Recipient of 2018 Jeannette Wright Mentoring Award

Congratulations to Professor Blair Wheaton who recently received the Department of Sociology’s Jeannette Wright Mentoring Award. The Department of Sociology created the award in honour of Jeannette Wright who was a long serving Graduate Administrator in the Department of sociology, spanning the late 1970s to late-2000s, and was much loved and admired for her dedication and service to the graduate program.

In nominating Professor Wheaton for this award, students noted his commitment to their development as scholars, the value of his advice and his willingness to sit with his students to work through methodological and analytical issues.  As one student wrote, “underlying his flexibility, support and overarching guidance is Blair’s true desire to see his students be successful and grow.”

Professor Wheaton is the third recipient of the Jeannette Wright Award and is one of many outstanding mentors committed to the success of graduate students at the University of Toronto.

U of T at the ASA

This year, 22 faculty members and 25 graduate students from Sociology at the University of Toronto are presenting papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association in Montreal. In addition to the people presenting papers, a number of our community are also participating as session organizers, discussants or journal editorial panel members. The meetings happen between August 12th and August 15th. We have listed the papers we’re presenting below in the order of their occurrence, with student presenters shown in italics. Note that some of the papers have unlisted co-authors from other universities. Please refer to the ASA Program for complete information.

Saturday, August 12th

Bill Magee, Optimistic Positivity and Pessimistic Negativity Among American Adults: Effects of Birth-Cohort, Age, Gender, and Race

Jaime Nikolaou, Teen Pregnancy and Doula Care: A Space for Feminist Praxis?

Andrew Nevin, Technological Tethering, Cohort Effects, and the Work-Family Interface

Andreea Mogosanu, Historical Change in Gender Differences in Mastery: The Role of Education and Employment

Ioana Sendroiu and Laura Upenieks, Gender ‘In Practice’: Rethinking the Use of Male Practice Players in NCAA Women’s Basketball

Emine Fidan Elcioglu, The State Effect at the Border: Avoiding Totalizing Theories of Political Power in Migration Studies

Paul Pritchard, A Bifurcated Welcome? Examining the Willingness to Include Seasonal Agricultural Workers in the Host Community

Yukiko Tanaka, Managing Risk, Pursuing Opportunities: Immigration, Citizenship, and Security in Canada

Gordon Brett, Feminist Theory and Embodied Cognition: Bridging the Disciplinary Gap

Mitch McGivor, Inequality in Higher Education: Student Debt, Social Background, and Labour Market Outcomes

Sarah Cappeliez, Wine Nerds and Pleasure-seekers: Understanding Wine Taste Formation and Practice

Katelin Albert, Negotiating State Policy in the Improvised Classroom: An Ethnographic Inquiry into Sexual Health Classrooms

Marie-Lise Drappon-Bisson, Tactical Reproduction in the Pro-Choice Movement in Northern Ireland: Alliance for Choice’s Path Towards Successful Tactics

Milos Brocic, Cultivating Conviction or Negotiating Nuance? Assessing the Impact of Associations on Ideological Polarization

Omar Faruque, Neoliberal Development, Privatizing Nature, and Subaltern Resistance in Bangladesh

Sunday, August 13th

Dan Silver, The Political Order of the City: Neighborhoods and Voting in Toronto, 1997-2014

Andreea Mogosanu and Laura Upenieks, Social Change and the Evolution of Gender Differences in Depression: An Age-Cohort Consideration

Markus Schafer, Religious Attendance Heterogamy and Partnership Quality in Later Life

Atsushi Narisada, Buffering-Resource or Status-Disconfirmation? How Socioeconomic Status Shapes the Relationship between Perceived Under-Reward and Distress

Josee Johnston, On (not) Knowing Where Your Food Comes From: Children, Meat, and Ethical Eating

Ann Mullen, Labored Meanings: Contemporary Artists and the Process and Problems of Producing Artistic Meaning

Lawrence Williams, Dilemmas: Where No Schema Has Gone Before

Patricia Landolt, How Does Multicultural Canada’s Ethnicizing Imperative Shape Latin American Political Incorporation?

Merin Oleschuk, Consuming the Family Meal: News Media Constructions of Home Cooking and Health

Sarah Shah, The Context of Birth Country Gender Inequality on Mental Health Outcomes of Intimate Partner Violence

Louise Birsell-Bauer, Precarious Professionals: Gender Relations in the Academic Profession and the Feminization of Employment Norms

Geoff Wodtke, Regression-based Adjustment for Time-varying Confounders

Monday, August 14th

Markus Schafer, The Role of Health in Late Life Social Inclusion and Exclusion

Kim Pernell, Institutionalized Meaning and Policymaking: Revisiting the Causes of American Financial Deregulation

Cynthia Guzman, Revisiting the Feminist Theory of the State

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Policing Race, Moral Panic and the Growth of Black Prisoners in Canada

David Pettinicchio, Beyond Employment Inequality: Wealth Disparities by Disability Status in Canada and the United States

Yangsook Kim, Good Care in the Elderly Care Sector of South Korea: Gendered Immigration and Ethnic Boundaries

Ioana Sendroiu and Ron Levi, Legality and Exclusion: Discrimination, Legal Cynicism and System Avoidance across the European Roma Experience

Lawrence Williams, Bounded Reflexivity: How Expectations Shape Careers

Irene Boeckmann, Contested Hegemony: Fatherhood Wage Effects across Two U.S. Birth Cohorts

Jennifer Chun and Cynthia Cranford, Becoming Homecare Workers: Chinese Immigrant Women in California’s Oakland Chinatown

Katelin Albert and Steve G. Hoffman, Undone Science and Canadian Health Research

Ronit Dinovitzer, The New Place of Corporate Law Firms in the Structuring of Elite Legal Careers

Melissa Milkie and Scott Schieman, Who Helps with the Homework? Inequity in Parenting Responsibilities and Relationship Quality among Employed Parents

Matthew Parbst, The Impact of Public Opinion on Policy in Cross-National Perspective

Tony Zhang, The Princelings in China: How Do They Benefit from their Red Parents?

Rania Salem, Structural Accommodations of Classic Patriarchy: Women and Workplace Gender Segregation in Qatar

Tuesday, August 15th

Patricia Louie and Blair Wheaton, Revisiting the Black-White Paradox in Mental Disorder in Three Cohorts of Black and White Americans

Jenna Valleriani, Breaking the law for the greater good? Core-stigmatized Organizations and Medical Cannabis Dispensaries in Canada

Martin Lukk, What Kind of Writing is Sociology? Literary Form and Theoretical Integration in the Human Sciences

Jerry Flores, Gender on the Run: Wanted Latinas in a southern California Barrio

Jean-Francois Nault, Determinants of Linguistic Retention: The Case of Ontario’s Francophone Official-Language Minorities

Luisa Farah Schwartzmann, Color Violence, Deadly Geographies and the Meanings of “Race” in Brazil

Jonathan Koltai and Scott Schieman, Financial Strain, Mastery, and Psychological Distress: A Comment on Spuriousness in the Stress Process




U of T at the 2016 ASA

University of Toronto Sociology at the Annual Meeting of the 2016 American Sociological Association

Our Sociology faculty members and graduate students are very active with the American Sociological Association, with over 60 of them appearing in this year’s program either as presented or an organizer of a panel. See the program for more information. Here are some of the highlights:

Saturday, August 20

Irene Boeckmann

Fatherhood and Breadwinning: Race and Class Differences in First-time Fathers’ Long-term Employment Patterns

Monica Boyd; Naomi Lightman

Gender, Nativity and Race in Care Work: The More Things Change….

Clayton Childress

I Don’t Make Objects, I Make Projects: Selling Things and Selling Selves in Contemporary Art-making

Jennifer Jihye Chun

Globalizing the Grassroots: Care Worker Organizing and the Redefinition of 21st Century Labour Politics

Paulina Garcia del Moral

Feminicidio, Transnational Human Rights Advocacy and Transnational Legal Activism

Phil Goodman

Conservative Politics, Sacred Crows, and Sacrificial Lambs: The Role of ‘Evidence’ During Canada’s Prison Farm Closures

Josee Johnston

Spitting that Real vs. Keeping It Misogynistic: Hip-Hop, Class, and Masculinity in New Food Media

Andrew Miles

Measuring Automatic Cognition: Practical Advances for Sociological Research Using Dual-process Models

Atsushi Narisada

Palatable Unjust Desserts: How Procedural Justice Weakens the Pain of Perceived Pay Inequity

David Nicholas Pettinicchio

The Universalizing Effects of Unionism: Policy, Inequality and Disability

Markus H. Schafer

Social Networks and Mastery after Driving Cessation: A Gendered Life Course Approach

Lawrence Hamilton Williams

Active Intuition: The Patterned Spontaneity of Decision-making


Sunday, August 21

Sida Liu

The Elastic Ceiling: Gender and Professional Career in Chinese Courts

Jonathan Tomas Koltai; Scott Schieman; Ronit Dinovitzer

Status-based Stress Exposure and Well-being in the Legal Profession

Andrew Miles

Turf Wars of Truly Understanding Culture? Moving Beyond Isolation and Importation to Genuine Cross-disciplinary Engagement

Melissa A. Milkie

Time Deficits with Children: The Relationship to Mothers’ and Fathers’ Mental and Physical Health

Diana Lee Miller

Sustainable and Unsustainable Semi-Professionalism: Grassroots Music Careers in Folk and Metal

Ito Peng

Care and Migration Policies in Japan and South Korea

Scott Schieman; Atsushi Narisada

Under-rewarded Boss: Gender, Workplace Power, and the Distress of Perceived Pay Inequity


Monday, August 22

Salina Abji

Because Deportation is Violence Against Women: On the Politics of State Responsibility and Women’s Human Rights

Holly Campeau

The Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Blueville War: Policing, Standards, and Cultural Match

Bahar Hashemi

Canadian Newspaper Representations of Family violence among Immigrant Communities: Analyzing Shifts Over Time

Vanina Leschziner

The American Fame Game: Academic Status and Public Renown in Post-war Social Sciences

Ron Levi; Ioana Vladescu

The Structure of Claims after Atrocity: Justifications, Values, and Proposals from the Holocaust Swiss Banks Litigation

Patricia Louie

Whose Body Matters? Representations of Race and Skin Colour in Medical Textbooks

William Magee; Laura Upenieks

Supervisory Level and Anger About Work

Maria M. Majerski

The Economic Integration of Immigrants: Social Networks, Social Capital, and the Impact of Gender

Melissa A. Milkie

You Must Work Hard: Changes in U.S. Adults’ Values for Children 1986-2012

Jean-Francois Nault

Education, Religion, and Identity in French Ontario: A Case Study of French-language Catholic School Choice

Merin Oleschuk; Blair Wheaton

The Relevance of Women’s Income on Household Gender Inequality Across Class and National Context

David Nicholas Pettinicchio

Punctuated Incrementalism: How American Disability Rights Policymaking Sheds Light on Institutional Continuity and Change


Tuesday, Aug. 23

Katelin Albert

Making the Classroom, Making Sex Ed: A School-based Ethnography of Ontario’s Sexual Health Classrooms

Catherine Man Chuen Cheng

Constructing Immigrant Citizen-subjects in Exceptional States: Governmentality and Chinese Marriage Migrants in Taiwan and HongKong

Hae Yeon Choo

Maternal Guardians: Intimate Labor, Migration, and the Pursuit of Gendered Citizenship in South Korea

Bonnie H. Erickson

Multiple Pathways to Ethnic Social Capitals

  1. Omar Faruque

Confronting Capital: The Limits of Transnational Activism and Human Rights-based CSR Initiatives

Elise Maiolino

I’m not Male, not White, Want to Start There?: Identity Work in Toronto’s Mayoral Election

Jaime Nikolaou

Commemorating Morgentaler? Reflections on Movement Leadership, 25 Years Later

Kristie O’Neill

Traditional Beneficiaries: Trade Bans, Exemptions, and Morality Embodied in Diets

Matthew Parbst; Blair Wheaton

The Buffering Role of the Welfare State on SES differences in Depression

Luisa Farah Schwartzman

Brazilian Lives Matter, and what Race and the United States Got to do With it

Daniel Silver

Visual Social Thought

Laura Upenieks

Beyond America? Cross-national Contexts and Religious versus Secular Membership Effects on Self-rated Health

Barry Wellman

Older Adults Networking On and Off Digital Media: Initial Findings from the Fourth East York Study

Blair Wheaton; Patricia Joy Louie

A New Perspective on Maternal Employment and Child Mental Health: A Cautionary Tale

Tony Huiquan Zhang

Weather Effects on Social Movements: Evidence from Washington D.C. and New York City, 1960-1995


Blair Wheaton named Distinguished Professor

Blair WheatonCongratulations to Professor Blair Wheaton, recently named Distinguished Professor of Sociology. Professor Wheaton ranks among Canada’s top sociologists and among the world’s top stress researchers. His career, spanning almost forty years, has been marked by outstanding scholarly contributions to the Sociology of Health and by equally impressive work as an institution builder in Sociology and at the University of Toronto.

Professor Wheaton’s research has been foundational in the Sociology of Mental Health. He brought new approaches to establishing social causation of mental health problems, shone a light on the long-term life course effects of early life stress and adversity, on the variation in forms of stress and their inter-relationships, and on social contextual approaches to the study of mental health trajectories through life, especially as expressed by neighbourhood effects on the mental health profile of children from school-age to early adulthood.

Wheaton’s published work is noted for its quality and its impact. His work has been methodologically innovative, ushering in new ways to seek and find answers to important questions in the sociology of mental health. His work on “stress-buffering” and coping, his application of innovative models to the study of neighbourhood effects on children as they grow up, and his conceptual pieces on the nature of social stress are widely read and have had a powerful impact on the field. On the basis of his research, Wheaton was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation (1990-1994), was elected Chair of the Mental Health section of the American Sociological Association from 2002-2004, and was a Visiting Professor at Princeton University in 2014. He has been invited to give numerous keynote addresses, and received a “Best Paper Award” from the top disciplinary association in Sociology.

Professor Wheaton’s current and future work promises to be every bit as ground breaking as the research for which he is already known. Currently, he is studying the integration of temporal and spatial influences on mental health in individual lives over time, with an emphasis on past living environments as formative in the determination of mental health across adulthood. His next project studies this through a twenty-year follow-up of the 888 children interviewed as part of his study of Toronto families in the 1990’s, looking at the impact of gender-egalitarian households on children’s lives as they move through the life course into middle adulthood.

In addition to his scholarship, Professor Wheaton has provided leadership at the University of Toronto and in the field of Sociology. He served as Chair of the Sociology Department and Graduate Chair from 2003 to 2012 and Director of the Institute for Human Development, Life Course, and Aging, at the University of Toronto from 1999 to 2003. A particularly significant achievement was his leadership in establishing the Toronto region’s Statistics Canada Research Data Centre, for which he served as Academic Director (Toronto Region) from 2001-2004.