The distracted worker is the greatest perceived threat to employers despite all the benefits of working from home

Professor Scott Schieman wrote an article in The Toronto Star, with University of Toronto undergraduate student Ryu Won Kang. The article The distracted worker is the greatest perceived threat to employers despite all the benefits of working from home looks at employers concerns of increased distractions experienced by employees while working from home.  To some employers, this concern can outweigh the perceived benefits of at home work including increased productivity, improved quality of work, and elevated satisfaction.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees continuing to work from home and the debate continues on what may change the workplace my face in a post-pandemic world.

Professor Schieman is the Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health, a Full Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, St. George Campus. His research focuses on work/stratification, the work-family interface, stress, and health.

We have posted an except of the story below. The full story is available on the Toronto Star website here.

The distracted worker is the greatest perceived threat to employers despite all the benefits of working from home

Read the full article…

Professor Scott Schieman on the impact of work amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Scott ScheimanProfessor Scott Schieman  recently spoke to U of T News about his research on the impact of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Schieman’s recently funded project will build on work he had already begun tracking the changing work and family lives of Canadians. The work will now, however, include a study of the impact of the changes wrought by covid-19. His research explores the physical and mental health effects that people are experiencing in their work context amid the pandemic. This ongoing longitudinal study, COVID-19 Impacts on the Quality of Work and Economic Life in Canada, will examine the short-term and long-term impacts of work on 5,000 Canadians for the following five years.

Professor Schieman is the Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health, a Full Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, St. George Campus. His research focuses on health, work stratification, and the work-family interface.

We have posted an excerpt of the article below. The full story is available on the U of T News website here.

Will the pandemic change the world of work? U of T researcher Scott Schieman aims to find out

June 08, 2020

By Paul Fraumeni

As COVID-19 continues to take its toll on the economy, speculation about the future of work abounds.

Will the new standard for office workers be working from home? How will airlines, the film industry or retailers survive the pandemic and what impact will it have on jobs?  And what will happen to the millions of workers who were furloughed? How does this affect their mental health?

These questions – and many others – are the focus of a major new study that has just been launched by University of Toronto sociologist Scott Schieman.

In fact, the study is – like so much of the COVID-19 research happening at U of T now – a pivot from existing work.

Known for his research on work-family balance and the stress that often comes from work, Schieman launched a study in September on the working and financial experiences of 2,500 Canadians. His plan was to replicate that study annually to track changes over the next decade.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. By early March, the virus was turning the Canadian economy – and the working lives of people across the country – upside down.

“We decided to change the design of the study,” says Schieman, who is also chair of U of T’s sociology department in the Faculty of Arts & Science and Canada Research Chair in the Social Context of Health. “We realized that it was important to try to map and explain changes in people’s experiences with employment, work and economic life as the pandemic was unfolding, especially given the sweeping shifts in the broader economy and social interaction.

“The job losses, temporary layoffs, the shift toward remote work for many, the social isolation and sense of powerlessness, and numerous other stressors – we expect these to have both short- and long-term implications for physical and mental health.”

With funding from U of T’s Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund, Schieman, along with a team of 11 faculty and graduate and undergraduate students, combined groups of 2,500 people from September 2019 and March 2020 to create a new sampling of 5,000 people who represent a cross-section of the Canadian workforce.

Read the full article…

Sociology Research Contributes to Lessening the Impact of COVID-19

Scott ScheimanMany of the Faculty in the Sociology Department have recently adjusted their research to address issues arising as a result of COVID-19 as well as the social distancing and economic shutdown that have been put in place to contain the pandemic. Four sociology faculty members have recently had their projects funded by the Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund, a fund established by the University of Toronto to support high impact research. The projects were identified as having strong “potential to have a positive impact on individuals, communities and public health systems within a time frame of a year or less.”

Professor Jessica Fields (left) is heading a research initiative investigating the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of sexual and gender minorities living in Toronto. With collaborators in Anthropology, Women and Gender Studies, Geography, Public Health and Medicine, Fields will gather quantitative and qualitative data as to health behaviours and mental health status of sexual and gender minorities during the pandemic. The project is titled Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health and Vulnerability of Sexual and Gender Minorities living in Toronto. Professor Fields is a Full Professor of Sociology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society located at the UT Scarborough Campus. PhD student Ali Greey is also listed as a co-investigator on the grant.

Professor Joe Hermer (second from left) is leading a research project called Pandemic Policing of the Homeless in Canada: From Crime Control to Public Health Strategy. This project seeks to mitigate the risks posed to homeless people by policing during the pandemic. Hermer and his colleagues will use funding from the COVID-19 Action Fund to research, design and release interventions to help policing move from a crime control model to one that reflects a public health approach. Professor Hermer is an Associate Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities at the UT Scarborough campus.

Professor Andrew Miles (second from right) is conducting research to understand the role that pro-social behaviour can play to mitigate the negative public health impacts of social distancing. Entitled, Using Prosocial Behaviour to Safeguard mental Health and Foster Emotional Well-Being, this project will use an online experiment and daily tracking of 1400 Canadians to test how repetition and variation of prosocial acts generate positive outcomes, and how this varies by the level of social and/or economic hardship that individuals are facing during the pandemic. Professor Miles is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities at the UT Mississauga campus. Laura Upenieks, a recent alumna of our PhD program, is a member of Professor Miles’ team.

Professor Scott Schieman (right) is leading a team examining the impact of COVID-19 on the work lives of Canadians. His team also includes Professors Melissa Milkie, Sharla Alegria and Irene Boeckman of the Sociology Department and Sarah Reid, a recent alumna of our PhD program. This team seeks to identify trajectories of change in employment, work, and economic conditions over the course of the pandemic with a focus on job insecurity and disruption, financial strain, and restructuring of the work-home interface. They will also describe how these disruptions and transitions correspond to psychosocial functioning especially the sense of powerlessness, mistrust, social isolation, and loneliness and then trace the consequences for sleep problems and different forms of emotional distress. The project is entitled COVID-19 Impacts on the Quality of Work and Economic Life in Canada. Professor Schieman is a Full Professor of Sociology, Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health, and Chair of the Department at the UT St. George campus.


Professor Scott Schieman’s research featured in “The Conversation”

Professor Scott Schieman recently co-authored a piece entitled, “Workers in the gig economy feel lonely and powerless,”  in The Conversation. The article discusses  findings from a study that Schieman conducted with co-investigators Professor Paul Glavin from McMaster University, and Professor Alex Bierman from the University of Calgary.

Based on a survey of over 2,000 working Canadians, the study found that individuals in the gig economy are more likely than people in regular employment to suffer from both loneliness and feelings of powerlessness.

The full article is available here. I have posted an excerpt below.

Workers in the gig economy feel lonely and powerless

The gig economy is quickly becoming a central part of Canadian life. The jobs aren’t just limited to Uber and Skip the Dishes. Grocery stores, laundries and more are banking on a new workforce that will accept jobs on a per-task basis.

Even a hallmark of Canadian life — snow-shovelling — is being absorbed into the gig economy. A recent startup in Calgary lets homeowners hire shovellers using their smartphones.

As sociologists, we envision a decentralized workforce, bereft of regular human contact or continuous employment. Yet this outlook stands in stark contrast to optimistic portrayals of a flexible economy that empowers workers to control their own fates. Which narrative — decentralized and isolated or connected and empowered — best reflects the reality of Canada’s gig workers?

It turns out that separating the hype from reality about the Canadian gig economy is no easy task, given the dearth of available data on gig workers.

One in five workers in gig economy

We therefore set out to conduct surveys with a representative slice of the Canadian employed population — gig and non-gig workers — as part of the 2019 Canadian Quality of Work and Economic Life Study. Our preliminary findings, as yet unpublished, are the result of interviews with 2,524 working Canadians from this study.


U of T Sociologists at the 2019 ASA

This year, 71 faculty members graduate students from Sociology at the University of Toronto are participating in the Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association in New York City. 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 10th and August 13th. We have listed the papers we’re presenting below by the day of the presentation, with student and recent grad presenters shown in italics. Please refer to the ASA Program for complete information.

Saturday, August 10th

Ellen Berrey, U.S. Universities’ Responses to Hate Speech Incidents and Free Speech Politics and the Implications for Inclusion Policy

Yvonne Daoleuxay, The Most Canadian Neighborhood Ever: Social Disciplining and Driving in the Greater Toronto Area

Ethan Fosse and Jason Settels, Population-Level Variability of Happiness Trends in the United States

Chris Kohut, Unanticipated Gains in Homeless Shelters: A Study Examining the Social Networks of the Homeless Population

Ron Levi (with Holly Campeau of U of Alberta and Todd Foglesong of U of T, Munk School), Legality, Recognition, and the Bind of Legal Cynicism: Experiences of Policing During an Unsettled Time

Matthew Parbst, Gender Equality, Family Policy and the Convergence of the Gender Gap in Depression

Kristin Plys, Politics and Poetics in Lahore’s Pak Tea House during the Zia Military Dictatorship (1977-1988)

Markus Schafer (with Matthew Andersson of Baylor University), Looking Homeward with the Life Course: Early Origins of Adulthood Dwelling Satisfaction?

Sunday, August 11th

Philip Badawy and Scott Schieman, When Family Calls: How Gender, Money, and Care Shape the Family Contact and Family-to-Work Conflict Relationship

Irene Boeckman, Work-Family Policies and Working Hours’ Differences Within Couples After Childbirth

Lei Chai and Scott Schieman (with Alex Bierman of U of Calgary) Financial Strain and Psychological Distress: The Mediating Effect of Work-Family Interface

Clayton Childress, Shyon Baumann, Jean-Francois Nault (and Craig M. Rowlings from Duke University), From Omnivore to Snob: The Social Positions of Taste Between and Within Music Genres

Ethan Fosse (with Fabian T. Pfesser of U of Michigan), Bounding Analyses of Mobility Effects

Susila Gurusami, Carceral Complicities: Holding Institutions of Higher Education Accountable for Our Carceral Crises

Julia Ingenfeld, Parents’ Division of Housework and Mothers’ Labor Force Participation: Result of Selection and Assortative Mating?

Jonathan Kauenhowen, Framing Indigeneity: A comparative analysis of Indigenous representation in mainstream and Indigenous newspapers

Yangsook Kim, Doing Care Work in Korea Town: Korean In-Home Supportive Service Workers in Los Angeles

Kim de Laat, De-stigmatizing flexible work arrangements: The promises and pitfalls of buy-in from ideal working fathers

Chang Zhe Lin, Social Capital, Islam, and Labor Force Outcomes: Explaining Labor Force Outcomes among Muslim Immigrants in France

Martin Lukk, Fracturing the Imagined Community: Income Inequality and Ethno-nationalism in Affluent Democracies

David Pettinicchio and Jordan Foster, A Model Who Looks Like Me: Representing Disability in the Fashion Industry

Ashley Rubin, Target Populations or Caught in the Net: How Race and Gender have Structured Prison Reform Efforts Throughout American History and What it Means for Reforming Mass Incarceration

Ioana Sendroiu, Imagination, from Futures to Failures

Sarah Shah, Gendering Religious Reflexivity in Minority Groups: The Case of Pakistani Canadian Muslims

Michelle Pannor Silver, Embodiment and Athletic Identity

Lawrence Williams, How Career Identity Shapes the Meaning of Work for Referred Employees

Dana Wray, The Causal Effect of Paternity Leave on Fathers’ Responsibility for Children

Monday, August 12th

Katelin Albert, “The decision was made for me. I’m okay with that”: HPV Vaccine and Adolescent Girls’ Selves

Monica Boyd and Shawn Perron, The Vietnamese Boat People in Canada: 30 Years Later

Gordon Brett, The Embodied Dimensions of Creativity

Soli Dubash, “My House Is Your House”: Genre Conventions, Myspace Musicians, and Music Genre Self-Identification

M. Omar Faruque, Privatizing Nature: Resource Development and Nationalist Imaginaries in Bangladesh

Fernando A. Calderon Figueroa,Trust thy Neighbour, but Leave Up the Hedges: Trust in the Urban Scene

Vanina Leschziner, The Specter of Schemas: Uncovering the Meanings and Uses of “Schemas” in Sociology

Patricia Louie, Race, Skin Tone and Health Inequality in the U.S.

Neda Maghbouleh, Anti-Muslim Racism and the ‘MENA’ Box: Expulsions and Escapes from Whiteness

Gabriel Menard, Latent Framing Opportunities for Movements and Counter-movements: The US Network Neutrality Debate, 2005-2015

Sebastien Parker, ‘Both roads lead to Rome’: Pathways towards commitment in a far-right organization

Kim Pernell, Imprinting a Risky Logic: Graduate Business Education and Bank Risk-Taking

Sagi Ramaj, The Homeownership Attainment of LGB Immigrants: The Role of Social Relationships

Jeffrey Reitz (with Emily Laxer of York U and Patrick Simon of INED), National immigration ‘models,’ social welfare regimes, and Muslims’ economic incorporation in France and Canada

Ioana Sendroiu and Andreea Mogosanu, Stigma spillover and beyond: Resistance, appropriation, and counter-narratives in stigmatized consumption

Tahseen Shams, The Precariousness of South Asian Muslim Americans: Geopolitics, Islamophobia, and the Model Minority Myth

Lance Stewart, The Judgment of Objects: The Constitution of Affordances through the Perceptual Judgment of Digital Media

Laura Upenieks, Reassembling the Radius: Trust and Marginality across East-Central Europe

Tuesday, August 13th

Milos Brocic, Higher Education and the Development of Moral Foundations

Jerry Flores (with Janelle Hawes of U Washington-Tacoma and Kati Barahona-Lopes of UC, Santa Cruz), What are the challenges of girls in involved in the foster care and juvenile justice system?

Ethan Fosse (with Christopher Winship of Harvard University), Bias Formulas for Mechanism-Based Models: A General Strategy for Estimating Age-Period-Cohort Effects

Angelina Grigoryeva, An Organizational Approach to Financial Risk-Taking: The Role of Firm Compensation Plans

Cinthya J. Guzman, Rethinking Boredom in (Inter)action

Andrew Nevin, Cyber-Psychopathy Revisited: An Alternative Framework for Explaining Online Deviance

Laila Omar, “What would my future be?”: Conceptualization of the “future” among Syrian newcomer mothers in Canada

Natalia Otto, The violent art of making do: Gendered narratives of criminalized girls in Southern Brazil

Laura Upenieks and Ron Levi (with John Hagan of Northwestern University), The Palliative Function of Legality Beliefs on Mental Health



Recent PhD Jonathan Koltai and Professor Scott Schieman on Job Pressure and Mental Health

PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai and Professor Scott Schieman published an article in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour that analyzes what conditions may protect workers from the negative mental health consequences of job pressure. They find that socioeconomic status plays an important role in determining whether job resources provide protection from anxiety resulting from job pressure.

Jonathan Koltai received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral  Researcher in Social Epidemiology at Bocconi University. The research for his dissertation examines organizational contexts of inter-role conflict and worker well-being. Scott Schieman is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on health, medicine, work, stratification, and the sociology of religion.

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.

Koltai, Jonathan and Scott Schieman. 2015. “Job Pressure and SES-Contingent Buffering: Resource Reinforcement, Substitution, or the Stress of Higher Status?” Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, 56(2):180-198.

Analyses of the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce demonstrate that job pressure is associated with greater anxiety and job dissatisfaction. In this paper we ask, What conditions protect workers? The conventional buffering hypothesis in the Job-Demands Resource (JD-R) model predicts that job resources should attenuate the relationship. We test whether the conventional buffering hypothesis depends on socioeconomic status (SES). Support for conventional buffering is evident only for job dissatisfaction—and that generalizes across SES. When anxiety is assessed, however, we observe an SES contingency: Job resources attenuate the positive association between job pressure and anxiety among workers with lower SES, but exacerbate it among those with higher SES. We discuss the implications of this SES-contingent pattern for theoretical scenarios about “resource reinforcement,” “resource substitution,” and the “stress of higher status.” Future research should consider SES indicators as potential contingencies in the relationship between job conditions and mental health.

Read the full article here.



Congratulations to Professor Scott Schieman, recipient of Pearlin Award

Congratulations to Professor Scott Schieman who was awarded the 2018 Leonard I. Pearlin Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Sociological Study of Mental Health. The award was presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia by Professor Blair Wheaton, also of the University of Toronto.

Professor Schieman received the award based on the substantial contributions in theory and/or research that he has made to the sociology of mental health. Identified broadly as a leader in work-family stress, Schieman is an innovative researcher, a leader within the field, and a mentor to graduate students and junior faculty. Supported by over 1.5 million dollars in CIHR funding, Schieman has investigated novel research questions, elaborated and advanced new theoretical models, and informed practical knowledge through public engagement. His work on the sociological study of stress and the social psychology of inequality speaks to central issues for how we understand working and family lives.

The awards committee cited Professor Schieman’s work extending understanding of the stress process model and called him a “frontier scholar in the burgeoning industry of research on the spillover of work into the family realm, while also basing this work on the connection to stress in the stress process.” The citation also notes Professor Schieman’s broad influence and his integration of the sociology of mental health into other sociological domains including the sociological study of work,  stratification and inequality, neighborhoods and urban life, religion, social psychology, and the family.

Professor Schieman is a Full Professor of Sociology and the Canada Research Chair in the Social Context of Health. He currently serves as the Chair of the Department on the St. George campus.


Recent PhD Jonathan Koltai, Professor Ronit Dinovitzer, and Professor Scott Schieman on Well-Being in the Legal Profession

PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai, Professor Ronit Dinovitzer, and Professor Scott Schieman published an article in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Their article examines the differences in mental health between high and low-status lawyers. They also draw comparisons across organizational contexts and control for income level, finding that high-status lawyers report higher levels of depression than their lower status counterparts.

Jonathan Koltai received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral  Researcher in Social Epidemiology at Bocconi University. The research for his dissertation examines organizational contexts of inter-role conflict and worker well-being. Ronit Dinovitzer is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. In her research, she draws together analyses of the professions with research in social policy, including the social organization of lawyers, the role of labor markets, and the effects of culture on professional work. Scott Schieman is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and his research focuses on health, medicine, work, stratification, and the sociology of religion.

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.

Koltai, Jonathan, Ronit Dinovitzer, and Scott Schieman. 2018. “The Status-Health Paradox: Organizational Context, Stress Exposure, and Well-Being in the Legal Profession.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 59(1):20-37.

Prior research evaluates the health effects of higher status attainment by analyzing highly similar individuals whose circumstances differ after some experience a “status boost.” Advancing that research, we assess health differences across organizational contexts among two national samples of lawyers who were admitted to the bar in the same year in their respective countries. We find that higher-status lawyers in large firms report more depression than lower-status lawyers, poorer health in the American survey, and no health advantage in Canada. Adjusting for income exacerbates these patterns—were it not for their higher incomes, large-firm lawyers would have a greater health disadvantage. Last, we identify two stressors in the legal profession, overwork and work–life conflict, that are more prevalent in the private sector and increase with firm size. Adjusting for these stressors explains well-being differences across organizational contexts. This study documents the role of countervailing mechanisms in health inequality research.

Read the full article here.

Recent PhD Jonathan Koltai and Professor Scott Schieman on Stress Exposure and the SES Health Gradient


PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai and Professor Scott Schieman published an article in Social Science Research arguing that there are “pockets of complexity” in the inverse association between socioeconomic status and health. The article outlines particular factors that add nuance to conventional understandings of the SES-health gradient.

Jonathan Koltai received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral  Researcher in Social Epidemiology at Bocconi University. The research for his dissertation examines organizational contexts of inter-role conflict and worker well-being. Scott Schieman is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the impact of work and religion on health.

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.

Schieman, Scott and Jonathan Koltai. 2017. “Discovering Pockets of Complexity: Socioeconomic Status, Stress Exposure, and the Nuances of the Health Gradient.” Social Science Research 63:1-18.

One of the most pervasive statements about stratification and health identifies the strong inverse relationship—or gradient—between socioeconomic status (SES) and poor health. We elaborate on the ways that the SES-based gradient in stress exposure contributes to nuances in the SES-health association. In analyses of the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, we find some evidence that the inverse association between SES and health outcomes is finely graded—but several ‘pockets of complexity’ emerge. First, education and income have different associations with health and well-being. Second, those associations depend on the outcome being assessed. Education is more influential for predicting anxiety and poor health than for depression or life dissatisfaction, while income is more influential for predicting depression and, to a lesser extent, life dissatisfaction. Third, different patterns of explanation or suppression reflect resource advantage or stress of higher status dynamics. Some impactful stressors that people encounter—especially job pressure and work-family conflict—are not neatly graded in ways that corroborate the conventional SES-health narrative. Instead, these mask the size of the overall health differences between lower versus higher SES groups. Our mapping of the SES gradient in stressors extends that story and complicates the conventional view of the association between SES and health/well-being.

Read the full article here.


PhD Candidate Mitchell McIvor, Professor Scott Schieman, and Professor Markus Schafer on Workplace Authority

Mitchell McivorScott ScheimanMarkus SchaferPhD Candidate Mitchell McIvor, Professor Scott Schieman, and Professor Markus Schafer published an article in Sociological Perspectives that examines whether job authority provides non-monetary rewards in the workplace. The authors argue that these rewards exist but are unequally distributed between men and women.

Mitchell McIvor will obtain his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto St. George in 2018. He studies the relationship between university student debt in Canada and graduates’ transition to the labour market. Markus Schafer is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Toronto St. George and his research focuses on health and aging. Scott Schieman is a Professor of Sociology at University of Toronto St. George and his research focuses on the impact of work and religion on health.

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.

Schieman, Scott, Schafer, Markus H. and Mitchell McIvor. 2013. “The Rewards of Authority in the Workplace: Do Gender and Age Matter?” Sociological Perspectives 56(1):75-96.

Authority in the workplace has its benefits. It is well-established that job authority generally yields higher earnings. In this study, the authors ask: Does that observation extend to other nonpecuniary rewards in the workplace? Using data from a 2011 representative sample of Canadian workers, results suggest it does—but there are some social status contingencies. In particular, the benefits of higher levels of job authority for job autonomy, challenging work, and income are stronger among men compared to women. By contrast, no age-based contingencies are observed. Collectively, observations about job authority’s bundling with other rewards elaborate on the claim that job authority is a “highly coveted workplace resource”—but the degree of these payoffs differs for men and women.

Read the full article here.

PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai’s research featured in the Globe and Mail

Research co-authored by PhD Candidate Jonathan Koltai was recently featured in an article published online by The Globe and Mail Newspaper. The article highlights the findings of a study conducted by Koltai with Sociology Professors Ronit Dinovitzer and Scott Schieman on the mental health of lawyers in the public and private sectors in both Canada and the USA. Jonathan recently completed and defended his dissertation on the Organizational Contexts of Interrole Conflict and Worker Well-Being. We have posted an excerpt of the article below.


New Canadian research suggests lawyers are more likely to experience mental health struggles the more successful they are in their field.

The study from the University of Toronto, slated for publication in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, compares two national surveys of thousands of lawyers in both Canada and the United States.

In both countries, researchers found a strong correlation between signs of depression and traditional markers of career success.

Lawyers holding down jobs at large firms in the private sector, widely considered to be the most prestigious roles, were most likely to experience depressive symptoms.

Researchers say the findings buck trends found in the general population, where career success is typically equated with fewer mental health risks….

“In the population we know … that groups that are better off in terms of income are also better off in terms of mental health. But if you zoom in to this specific subgroup of lawyers, that pattern is reversed,” Koltai said in a phone interview. “People working in environments with more income on average actually tend to experience more depressive symptoms, and that’s because of their higher levels of stress exposure.”

Koltai said depressive symptoms were less evident among lawyers working in public sector roles, which typically pay less than similar positions in the private sector. One of the major drivers, he said, is the lack of work-life balance typical among those in positions that demand long working hours.

Read the full article here.

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




Scott Schieman on BNN: rethinking work-life balance

schieman-media-photoProfessor Scott Schieman was recently interviewed by the Business News Network on a segment about Work-Life Balance. In the segment, Professor Schieman draws on findings from his CIHR-funded national study into work-life stress among Canadians. Professor Schieman is currently the Chair of the St. George Campus Department of Sociology and he is a Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health. You can watch the full interview here. BNN also includes a summary on their website.

From the BNN Website:

Traditional approach to work-life balance isn’t ‘realistic’, warns U of T researcher

As many Canadians prepare to change their routines with New Year’s resolutions, some will shift their sights to achieving a greater work-life balance.

However, a researcher from the University of Toronto told BNN on Tuesday that the idea of work-life balance itself may be unattainable.

“Our research shows when people think about balance, they think about work on one side of a scale — with its demands, time, attention, energy — and the other side should be equally balanced. That’s often not feasible or realistic,” University of Toronto Canada research Chair Scott Schieman told BNN. “So what it does is it makes people feel like the problems are more personal rather than putting them in a more strategic position and a more realistic position to negotiate their needs in terms of work and family.”

One of the keys to making the work-life balance goal more realistic, according to Schieman, is shifting the idea away from a perfect balance between personal time and workplace obligation and more toward finding a better fit for each within one’s own life.

“If you’re thinking about New Year’s resolutions, people look for meaning in their [lives] and one of the ways they look for meaning is they identify the main source of pleasures and rewards in their roles but also how the stressors and demands of those roles take a toll on them,” Schieman said.

“When people switch to the idea of fit, they get themselves out of the mindset that’s quite harmful which is: ‘I need to balance everything and I need to feel balanced.’ Often – if you’re working full-time or working more than full-time – that’s just not feasible.”

Watch the interview here.

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