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, American Sociological Review, 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, Journal of Family Issues.

Organized roundtables for the Family Section of the American Sociological Association (2008).
Chaired the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award Committee to select the best book by a sociologist published in 2006-2008 for the Eastern Sociological Society (to be awarded in March 2009).

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 interracial relationships differentially shapes progression into coresidential unions-whether marriage or cohabitation-relative to racially homogamous couples.
4.  I have begun an interdisciplinary project with Yael Levitte (CU-ADVANCE) and Jennifer Glass (PAM) to examine women's entrance into and retention in science and technology careers.  My particular focus in this project is to assess how women's career choices are shaped by their union formation (entrance into cohabitation or marriage) and parenting experience (including timing of childbirth and parity), and to assess whether and how these factors differentiate women's experiences from men's.


Biographical Statement
As a social demographer, my research examines factors shaping the activities of young adults and their life course transitions into school and work, relationships, and parenthood. Much of my research explores how these transitions vary by gender, race/ethnicity, and social class. Some current projects examine the tempo of different stages in relationship progression and their association with relationship quality, the processes underlying entrance into cohabiting unions, the meaning cohabitors assign to their unions, and the impact of family experiences while young on subsequent fertility events and union transitions (into marriage or cohabitation). I am currently examining the family building experiences of young adults who were born to unmarried mothers, and the pace of relationship progression among contemporary young adults, as well as pregnancy experiences and intentions of cohabiting young adults. 

1995-96.  Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, Department of Population Dynamics.

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 2150:  Research Methods
PAM 3360:  Evolving Families: Challenges to Public Policy
PAM 3370:  Racial and Ethnic Differentiation (Now Race and Public Policy)
PAM 4980:  Honors Thesis Seminar

Related Websites

Selected Publications

Sharon Sassler, Anna Cunningham, and Daniel T. Lichter. Forthcoming, 2009. "Intergenerational Patterns of Union Formation and Marital Quality." Journal of Family Issues.

Frances Goldscheider, Gayle Kaufman, and Sharon Sassler. Forthcoming, 2009. "Navigating the 'New' Market: How Attitudes Towards Partner Characteristics Shape Union Formation." Journal of Family Issues.

Sharon Sassler, Amanda Miller, and Sarah Favinger. 2009. "Planned Parenthood? Fertility Intentions and Experiences among Cohabiting Couples." Journal of Family Issues. 30:206-232. [abstract]

Kristi Williams, Sharon Sassler, and Lisa Nicholson. 2008. "For Better or for Worse? The Consequences of Marriage and Cohabitation for the Health and Well-Being of Single Mothers." Social Forces 86(4): 1481–1511. [abstract]

Sharon Sassler, Desiree Ciambrone, and Gaelan Benway. 2008. "Are they Really Mama's Boys / Daddy's Girls? The Negotiation of Adulthood among Young Adults Who Return Home." Sociological Forum 23(4):670-698. [abstract]

Sharon Sassler and Anna Cunningham. 2008. "How Cohabitors View Childbearing." Sociological Perspectives 51(1):3-28. [abstract]

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. [paper]

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. [abstract]

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. [abstract]

Sassler, Sharon. 2004. "The Process of Entering into Cohabiting Unions." Journal of Marriage and Family 66:491-505. [abstract]

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. [abstract]

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. [abstract]