Web Bio PageCurrent 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).
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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]
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
Sassler. 2007. "Cohabitation." Encyclopedia of Sociology, edited by
George Ritzer. Vol. II, pp. 565-569. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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.
Sharon. 2005. "Gender & Ethnic Differences in Marital Assimilation
in the Early 20th Century." International Migration Review
Sassler, Sharon. 2004. "The Process of Entering into Cohabiting Unions." Journal of Marriage and Family 66:491-505. [abstract]
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]
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]