Sharon Sassler
Prof Assoc

Web Bio Page

Current Activities

Current Professional Activities
Executive Committee Member (2007-2010), The Eastern Sociological Society.
Editorial Board (2007-Present): Journal of Marriage and Family
Reviewer for area journals:  Demography, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Population Economics, Social Forces, International Migration Review, Population Studies, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Journal of Population Research, European Journal of Population.

Current Research Activities
1. I  am a Co-PI (with Kristi Williams, of The Ohio State University) of an R-01 (2007-2010) that explores the effect of union transitions on the health and well-being of single mothers and their offspring. We are utilizing data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Young Adults, an on-going panel study of a nationally representative sample of young women who were aged 14 to 22 in 1979; data from the children born to the NLSY79 women is also available. We will use data from the mother-child files to explore the consequences of single mother's union transitions (into marriage, cohabitation, and union dissolution) for their own health and well-being in mid-life, and for the health, well-being, and union formation patterns of their young adult offspring.
2. I am currently involved in a qualitative project that explores the family formation views of cohabiting couples, and how the process of entering shared living arrangements, subsequent union transitions (into engagement and marriage), and parenting desires varies by social class.  I am collaborating with several graduate and undergraduate students on papers that explore the relationship progression of these couples, ways they organize their paid and domestic labor, attitudes and behaviors regarding family planning, views of marriage relative to cohabitation, and other topics.  Several articles are forthcoming or are currently under peer review, and I am beginning work on a book that utilizes this data, as well as the existing empirical research, to explore class variation in the meaning and purpose of cohabitation.
3.  I am currently collaborating with Kara Joyner (formerly of PAM, now at Bowling Green State University) on a project exploring the meaning that involvement in interracial relationships has for relationship progression, utilizing data from AdHealth and the National Survey of Family Growth. In particular, we are investigating whether involvement in an interracial relationships differentially shapes progression into coresidential unions-whether marriage or cohabitation-relative to racially homogamous couples.


Biographical Statement
A social demographer, Sharon’s research examines factors shaping the activities of young adults and their life course transitions into school and work, relationships, and parenthood. Her work focuses on how these transitions vary by gender, race/ethnicity, and class. Some current projects examine the processes underlying entrance into cohabiting unions, the meaning cohabitors assign to their unions, and the impact of family experiences while young on subsequent union transitions into marriage or cohabitation. She is also engaged in several historical studies of immigrants, focusing on gender differences in adaptation to life in the United States.

1995.    Ph.D.    Brown University.     Sociology/Demography
1991.    MA        Brown University.    Sociology/Demography
1984.    BA        Brandeis University.    English & American Literature, Politics. 

Courses, Websites, Pubs

Courses Taught
PAM 215: Research Methods
PAM 366: Evolving Families: Challenges to Family Policy
PAM 337: Racial and Ethnic Differentiation
PAM 498: Honors Thesis Seminar

Related Websites


Frances Goldscheider, Gayle Kaufman, and Sharon Sassler. Forthcoming, Special Issue. "Navigating the 'New" Market: How Attitudes Towards Partner Characteristics Shape Union Formation." Journal of Family Issues.

Kristi Williams, Sharon Sassler, and Lisa Nicholson. Forthcoming, March 2008. "For Better or for Worse? The Consequences of Marriage and Cohabitation for the Health and Well-Being of Single Mothers." Social Forces.

Sharon Sassler, Amanda Miller, and Sarah Favinger. Forthcoming. "Planned Parenthood? Fertility Intentions and Experiences among Cohabiting Couples." Journal of Family Issues.

Sharon Sassler, Desiree Ciambrone, and Gaelan Benway. Forthcoming. "Are they Really Mama's Boys / Daddy's Girls? The Negotiation of Adulthood among Young Adults Who Return Home." Sociological Forum.

Sharon Sassler and Anna Cunningham. Forthcoming, Spring 2008. “How Cohabitors View Childbearing.” Sociological Perspectives. 51(1):

Leanna Mellott and Sharon Sassler. 2007. “The Impact of Female Headship on Working Daughters’ Occupational Attainment: A Re-Examination of the Disadvantage Hypothesis.” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 25:73-88.

Sharon Sassler. 2007. "Cohabitation." Encyclopedia of Sociology, edited by George Ritzer. Vol. II, pp. 565-569. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Peter Tuckel, Sharon Sassler, Richard Maisel, and Andrew Leykam. 2006. “The Diffusion of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 in Hartford, Connecticut.” Social Science History 30:167-96.

Frances Goldscheider and Sharon Sassler. 2006. “Creating Step-Families: Integrating Children into the Study of Step-Family Formation.” Journal of Marriage and Family 68: 1-17.

Sassler, Sharon. 2006. “School Participation of Immigrant Youths in the Early 20th Century: Integration or Segmented Assimilation?” Sociology of Education. 79(1):1-24.

Sassler, Sharon. 2005. “Gender & Ethnic Differences in Marital Assimilation in the Early 20th Century.” International Migration Review 39(3):608-636.

Sassler, Sharon. 2004. “The Process of Entering into Cohabiting Unions.” Journal of Marriage and Family 66:491-505.

Sassler, Sharon and Frances Goldscheider. 2004. “Revisiting Jane Austen’s Theory of Marriage Timing: Union Formation Among American Men in the Late 20th Century,” Journal of Family Issues 25(2):139-166.

Sassler, Sharon and James McNally. 2003. “Cohabiting Couple’s Economic Circumstances and Union Transitions: A Re-Examination Using Multiple Imputation Techniques.” Social Science Research 32(4):553-578.