Mess Hall: Robyn Brown

hands raised in protest
Occupy Wall Street. Photo by Darwin Yamamoto.

This month we continue Mess Hall, a “brown bag” series intended to allow DePaul scholars to present their works in progress at any stage (mess & all).  Mess Hall is a safe, fun, supportive, no-pressure environment where you can practice conference presentations, talk through data analysis problems, untangle conceptual or framework issues, or solicit collaborators. For those not presenting, Mess Hall offers an opportunity to learn what scholars in other departments and fields are working on and to become part of a supportive community of research at DePaul.

Bring your lunch and your constructive criticism and support your colleagues’ scholarship. If you’d like to present at Mess Hall, send an email to Jessica Speer.

WHEN: Friday, June 14, 1 – 2 p.m.
WHERE: SSRC Conference Room, 990 W. Fullerton Ave., Suite 3100
WHO: Robyn Brown, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology

The Great Recession and Mental Health: Is Collective Political Engagement “Good” For You?

Research on stress and mental health consistently finds that various individual coping strategies are protective against distress and problematic drinking in the face of social stressors. The work to be presented extends the research on modes of coping by asking if “going it alone” is less beneficial than collective coping actions in the wake of current macro-level social forces, such as the recent recession. The rise of politically oriented activist movements, such as those of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, suggest that collective political actions may also be beneficial.

Drawing on data from a nationally representative study of U.S. residents conducted in 2010,  a SEM analysis demonstrates that certain individual coping responses occasioned by the Great Recession are associated with worse mental health and that others are unrelated to mental health. In contrast, collective political engagement is found to be protective against all the indicators of mental health included in this study. This presentation highlights the utility of structural equation modeling in data analysis and considers further opportunities for integrating the social movement and mental health literatures.

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Author: Jessica Speer

As the Research Specialist at SSRC, Jessica edits re/search, consults with faculty, and conducts SSRC research projects. She is interested in questions of information management, preservation, communication, and dissemination.

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