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Race matters in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, research finds

Jul 27, 2022

Hispanic and Black Americans have suffered higher rates of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 than white Americans. A new Penn State study analyzed data collected when COVID-19 vaccines first became available to determine whether these racial and ethnic disparities are related to vaccine…

Losing spouse to COVID may be worse for mental health than other causes of death

Jul 26, 2022

Losing a spouse can be a devastating experience for anyone. A new study found that experiencing the death of a spouse due to COVID-19 may be worse for mental health than deaths from other causes. Penn State researchers found that while there were strong associations between the recent death of a…

1 in 8 U.S. deaths from 2020 to 2021 came from COVID-19 – leaving millions of relatives reeling from distinctly difficult grief

Jul 12, 2022

By Emily Smith-Greenaway, Associate Professor of Sociology, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Ashton Verdery, Professor of Sociology, Demography and Social Data Analytics and Population Research Institute Associate, Penn State; Haowei Wang, Postdoctoral Research Associate in…

Losing a grandmother may trigger rise in depression for some of her survivors

Jun 17, 2022

Losing a beloved family member is never easy, but a new study suggests the loss of a grandmother in particular may have repercussions for the loved ones she leaves behind. The researchers found that for up to seven years after the death of their grandmother, adolescent boys had a 50% increase in…

New book, 'The Tolls of Uncertainty,' examines the US unemployment system

Jun 18, 2021

In April 2020, soon after the pandemic forced the U.S. into lockdown, the unemployment rate reached 14.8%, the highest documented since data collection began in 1948. More than a year later, 4.2 million fewer women and 3.5 million fewer men are employed, compared to just before the start of the…

Take Note: Penn State Prof. Jenny Van Hook On Coronavirus And The Census

May 27, 2020

SSRI cofund and PRI affiliate Jenny Van Hook is interviewed for WPSU's Take Note on the consequences of a Census undercount. Van Hook is the Roy C. Buck Professor of Sociology and Demography at Penn State and a former member of the Census Advisory Board. She was an expert witness in the legal fight…

Grief from COVID-19 impact may trigger secondary health and mental health crisis

Apr 15, 2020

The loss of life caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic may just be the first tragic wave to hit the country, according to researchers. Grief from the deaths of close relatives and a sudden loss of support could create serious health, mental health and economic issues for grieving family members…

Podcast episode explores how the Census impacts public health

Apr 9, 2020

Decisions about where to build hospitals and how to allocate emergency medical equipment are critical during a pandemic, and driven by a source you might not expect. This week’s episode of the Democracy Works podcast, produced by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy and WPSU, examines the role…

Fighting coronavirus fear with empathy: Lessons learned from how Africans got blamed for Ebola

Feb 7, 2020

This article was originally written for The Conversation by Kevin Thomas, professor of sociology, demography, and African studies. With coronavirus cases exploding in China, the U.S. is once again responding to a global epidemic. Five years ago, when the Ebola virus infected more than 28,000 people…