Sharon Sassler
Associate Professor

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.

During the Spring of 2009, I chaired the Mirra Komarovsky Book Award Committee to select the best book by a sociologist published in 2006-2008 for the Eastern Sociological Society.  The award was presented in March 2009.

During the Fall of 2009, I chaired the Candace Rogers student paper award, for the best graduate student paper.  I will be presenting the award at the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society in March 2010.

During the Fall of 2009, I helped organize a mini-conference, titled "Gender, Family, Technology, and Work in the Obama Era," which will consist of six panels, one discussion, and one author meets critic session, and will be held at the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society in March of 2010.

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 have presented one paper that examines the consequences of single mother's union transitions for their own health and well-being in mid-life, at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America in 2009; the paper is currently under review.  We also had a paper, on the consequences of single mother's union transitions for their children's psychological well-being accepted for presentation at the 2010 annual meeting of the PAA.

2. During the Fall of 2009, a collaborative project (with Yael Levitte, of CU-ADVANCE, and Jennifer Glass at the University of Iowa) was funded by NIH.  This grant, which runs from 2009-2012, examines the retention and promotion of women in science and technology careers, following two birth cohorts.  My role in this project is to assess how women's retention in STEM occupations are shaped by their entrance into unions (marriage and cohabitation) and parenting experiences, and to assess whether and how these factors differentiate women's experiences from men's.

3. 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 several will be presented at forthcoming scholarly meetings. 

4.  I am 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.


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.  My most recent collaboration involves examining how family experiences (entering into cohabiting or marital relationships, having children) shape the retention and promotion of women in science and technology careers.

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

Selected Publications

Sharon Sassler. Forthcoming, 2010. "Partnering Across the Life Course: Sex, Relationships, and Mate Selection." Journal of Marriage and Family.

Daniel T. Lichter, Richard N. Turner, and Sharon Sassler. Forthcoming, 2010. “National Estimates of the Rise in Serial Cohabitation.” Social Science Research.

Sharon Sassler and Amanda Miller. Forthcoming, 2010. “Class Differences in Women’s Family and Work Behaviors.” Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice.

Amanda Miller and Sharon Sassler. Forthcoming. “Stability and Change in the Division of Labor among Working-Class Cohabiting Couples: A Qualitative Analysis.” Sociological Forum.

Sharon Sassler, Anna Cunningham, and Daniel T. Lichter. 2009. "Intergenerational Patterns of Union Formation and Marital Quality." Journal of Family Issues. 30: 757-786.

Frances Goldscheider, Gayle Kaufman, and Sharon Sassler. 2009. "Navigating the 'New' Market: How Attitudes Towards Partner Characteristics Shape Union Formation." Journal of Family Issues.
30: 719-737.

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]