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    The impact personal religious adherence on emerging America adults' use of illegal drugs
    (Dec-23) Ombati, Josiah 1976-; Sadri, Mahmoud; Williams, James; Yang, Philip Q; Bones, Paul
    Emerging adulthood is defined as a stage of the life course, characterized by many changes and unique demographic shifts. Among these, one notices a steady rise in use of drugs among certain sections of this population. Despite this situation, little is known about personal religious adherence as a possible mitigating factor. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the impact of personal religious adherence on use of illegal drugs among emerging American adults. Data were analyzed from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The sample consisted of 14,226 emerging adults aged 18-25 representing weighted N=33,732,492 I used four indicators of religiosity (embedded in the following items: “Number of religious services attended past year,” “My personal religious beliefs are important,” “My religious beliefs shape my decisions, “and “It is important that my friends share my religious beliefs'‘) to create a personal religious adherence factor scale. Indicators of religiosity and personal religious adherence factor scale were separately analyzed with regards to past year’s use of hallucinogens and marijuana and the probability of having ever used selected illegal drugs. Results showed that personal religious adherence was inversely and significantly related to the past year use of hallucinogens and marijuana, and the same held true for the probability of having ever used selected drugs. Additionally, all indicators of religiosity were inversely associated with past year use of hallucinogens and marijuana. However, there were mixed results for the impact of indicators of religiosity on the probability of having ever used selected illegal drugs. Although most indicators of religiosity were found to be inversely correlated with use of the rest of the drugs, religious beliefs, and personal decisions to use Heroin, LSD and salvia were positively correlated. These findings should be considered by public health educators and drug prevention specialists when developing and implementing interventions for hallucinogens, marijuana, heroin, LSD, salvia, psilocybin, and ecstasy. Incorporating religiosity in prevention efforts may assist in reducing the use of these drugs.
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    Online fandom communities and queer identity formation: An autoethnography
    (Aug-23) Buchanan, Kaylee 1997-; Bones, Paul; Williams, James; Beins, Agatha
    “Online fandom communities'' (OFCs) operate across different social media platforms with the common characteristics of anonymity, internet dialect, and subcultural ideals. Using an autoethnographic approach, this thesis examines the effect of online fandom communities on queer identification. These characteristics can operate as a safe space for queer peers to engage with the art they admire and with people who share their experiences. This has been the experience of the author who, as a queer woman on the cusp of the Millennial and Gen. Z generations, has been engaged with fandom in different forms for over 10 years.
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    Virtual funerals: A dramaturgical analysis of participants’ experiences
    (Aug-23) Toombs, Elizabeth 1993-; Sadri, Mahmoud; Williams, James; Gullion, Jessica; Donal Key
    In 2020 virtual funerals became a widely utilized format for conducting funeral services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To better understand the phenomenon of virtual funerals, this study explores the experiences of virtual funeral participants. It analyzes the positive and negative effects of it while elucidating participants’ self-impressions and those of others during the service. The sociological theory of Dramaturgy was applied to the data, and a typology of participants’ experiences was derived. The findings suggest a varying degree of technology-based limitations and opportunities that attend virtual funerals. Perceptions of practicality and authenticity are salient features of the experience.
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    Replacing identity: Evangelical Christianity's role in identity creation and restoration
    (Aug-23) Cohoon, Wesley Don 1978-; Gullion, Jessica; Sahlin, Claire L.; Williams, James; Sadri, Mahmoud
    People understand themselves by the roles that they play in society. These roles are developed by both the individual and the confirmation of their communities. Due to this interconnectedness, identities, biographies, and histories are constantly changing. The problem is understanding the difference between successful identity reconfiguration and the community’s role in confirming identity. This three-article dissertation explores how identities are impacted after experiencing a damaging experience by examining Evangelical Christianity’s role in identity creation and restoration. The articles specifically deal with the role stigma has on identity. The findings indicate that a primary function of Evangelical Christianity is redeeming “spoiled” identities. The articles utilize autoethnography and phenomenology to capture first-person accounts and experiences of stigma management and identity transformation. The articles find that Evangelical Christianity is one way that allows people to engage in identity repair and reconstruction.
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    Confidence divide: An examination of the rural communities attitudes concerning education
    (Dec-22) Grant-Panting, Alexis; Sadri, Mahmoud; Williams, James
    The US education institutions faced political attacks on almost every aspect of their systems from K-12 to the university. Most notably regarding curriculum, school choice, after higher education, and openness to various viewpoints (Laloggia 2019). Furthermore, the coronavirus pandemic highlighted the actual dimensions of inequality in America, particularly as it relates to rural communities and the ways in which they struggle with high unemployment, financial and resource access, constraints impacting low-income families, and the challenges of education. The education institutions play a vital role in community development and success. However, despite the challenges that rural communities face few scholars have examined rural communities’ attitudes regarding these institutions. This highlights the pressing need to examine American attitudes in this regard. Utilizing data from the GSS 1972-2020 this quantitative study investigates the differences in rural and urban communities’ confidence in U.S education institutions, and other factors that may contribute to their confidence levels.
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    Motherhood: Examining the social well-being and social support of mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic
    (May-23) Holmes, Sonya Kay 1984-; Bones, Paul; Gullion, Jessica S; Kelly-Ricks, Nila
    Mothers have had an immense responsibility for the protection of children for centuries and this responsibility has grown with the occurrence of catastrophic world events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and health pandemics such as Covid-19. Covid-19 (C-19P) is a fatal virus that has infected more than 101 million individuals and has resulted in the death of more than 2.18 million people as of 2021 (Koutsakos et al., 2021). The complications of the virus have proven to be deadly. When not deadly, individuals are still at risk of adverse effects of the virus, both directly and indirectly. Mothers having to manage through a health crisis, such as C-19P, has revealed some of the negative effects related to motherhood, which includes concerns about their health and well-being. Research reveals the C-19P virus posing not only threats to one’s physical health, but also one’s mental health (including fear of death or becoming ill), loosing family members because of the illness, loosing livelihood including employment and income, and being socially excluded from family and friends (Ghebreyesus 2020). The long standing physical and mental consequences present increasing concerns to this public health crisis. The uncertainties of the virus have resulted in elevated mental and behavioral health conditions including anxiety, depression, substance use, trauma, and stress (Czeisler et al., 2020).
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    The wages of fear: How gender, ideology, and symbolic threat influenced the voting behaviors of white southern women in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections
    (Dec-22) Hinton, Stanley Joe 1960-; Williams, James; Bones, Paul; Sadri, Mahmoud
    ABSTRACT STANLEY J. HINTON THE WAGES OF FEAR: HOW RACE, IDEOLOGY, AND SYMBOLIC THREAT INFLUENCED THE VOTING BEHAVIORS OF WHITE SOUTHERN WOMEN IN THE 2016 AND 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS DECEMBER 2022 The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether gender, ideology, and symbolic threat predict the voting behaviors of white southern women; whether these decisions influence political affiliation of partners/spouses/family; and whether threat is weaponized to influence voting behaviors. This study uses three sources of data: the 2016 ANES Time Series Study, the 2020 Time Series study, and a third source consisting of systematic analysis by CPOST in 2021 of those who stormed the U. S. Capitol on 6 January, included to further explore the role of symbolic threat. Multinomial logistic regression is used to model the relationship between the independent variables and the nominal dependent variable. Using models for politics, religiosity, demographics, threat, and all measures combined, the research reveals that white Southern women are responsible for the selection of political candidates for their families and symbolic threat controls the selection of political candidates by targeting family values.
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    Non-voting in U.S. presidential elections reflecting on pluralism and elitism
    (2000-08) Capeheart, Loretta
    The purpose of this quantitative research was to analyze the relationship between non-voting in U.S. presidential elections and political cynicism, political knowledge, and perceived political self-efficacy. Further, social-class variables were analyzed to allow for an understanding of any intervening or explanatory relationships involving income, education, and occupation. Data analyzed in this study come from the National Election Studies and encompasses presidential election years between and including 1964 and 1996. The relationship between non-voting and the characteristics listed above were expected to support either the pluralist or elitist theories of democracy. The major findings of this study support both theories depending on the measure used. The elitist perspective is supported with regard to political knowledge and perceived political self-efficacy while the pluralist perspective is supported with regard to political cynicism. Results related to the social-class measures were mixed.
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    Pornography use and satisfaction with romantic partnerships
    (2022-12-01T06:00:00.000Z) Pius, Shally; Williams, James
    This thesis was designed to examine the relationship between sex, frequency of pornography use, and satisfaction with romantic partnerships. Two hypotheses were tested. Hypothesis 1 states that controlling for other factors, male respondents who report higher levels of pornography use will report lower levels of relationship satisfaction than male respondents who report lower levels of pornography use. Hypothesis 2 states that controlling for other factors, female respondents who report higher levels of pornography use will report lower levels of partnership satisfaction than female respondents who report lower levels of pornography use. Females and males who reported viewing pornography were slightly less satisfied with their partnerships than those who use it less or who do not view porn at all. African American and Hispanic participants reported less partnership satisfaction than Caucasian and Asian participants. Implications are discussed.
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    Bangladeshi immigrants' adaptation in the United States
    (2022-12-01T06:00:00.000Z) Akhter, Morsheda; Yang, Philip Q; Williams, James; Sadri, Mahmoud
    This quantitative study explores Bangladeshi immigrants' adaptation in the United States. Bangladeshi immigrants are one of the fastest-growing minority ethnic groups in the United States. Despite their tremendous growth, little is known about them, and no systematic study of their adaptation to American life has been published. This dissertation fills this void in the literature by thoroughly examining the cultural, socioeconomic, structural, and political adaptation of Bangladeshi immigrants in the United States. This study addresses two research questions: How well do Bangladeshi immigrants in the United States adapt culturally, socioeconomically, structurally, and politically into American life? What are the major determinants of the structural, cultural, socioeconomic, and political adaptation of Bangladeshi immigrants? To answer the research questions, this study is guided by several theoretical frameworks and proposes a set of hypotheses for testing. The data for this study come from the 2001-2019 American Community Surveys and the 2000-2021 Current Population Surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Major methods of analysis include chi-square test, ANOVA, ordinary least squares regression, and logistic regression. The findings reveal that overall Bangladeshi immigrants appear to have adapted well culturally, socioeconomically, structurally, and politically in the United States, but they have only partially assimilated and partly retained their ethnic cultures, especially their native tongue. Their average income is relatively low despite their relatively high educational attainment. Their adaptation experience is not linear but is bumpy and non-uniform. The results of regression analyses show that many demographic, familial, assimilational, and socioeconomic factors contribute significantly to the cultural and socioeconomic adaptation of Bangladeshi immigrants. On the other hand, many predictors of structural and political adaptation do not attain statistical significance at the 0.05 level because of the small sample sizes and call for further testing. This is the first comprehensive research on the adaptation experience of Bangladeshi immigrants in the United States. This research contributes to the literature by examining concurrently the patterns and determinants of Bangladeshi immigrants’ cultural, socioeconomic, structural, and political adaptation. It also assesses the applicability of competing theoretical approaches to Bangladeshi immigrants’ adaptation. The findings will also have practical and policy implications.
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    Religion in deed: Alcoholics Anonymous as a functional equivalent of religion
    (2022-08-01T05:00:00.000Z) Pierce, Phillip; Sadri, Mahmoud; Williams, James; Hoye, Timothy
    The principles of humility, honesty, and service undergird the Alcoholics Anonymous organization. They are among the reasons for considering it a functional equivalent of religion. This is the sense in which the author has experienced AA over the course of 38 years as well. This dissertation examines the assertion that AA is the functional equivalent of a religion. Besides my own experience, I have collected data from written documents, books, research papers and stories other members have shared. I have used an interpretive-analytical autoethnographic method to describe and explain the AA phenomenon. I argue that Alcoholics Anonymous is a functional equivalent of religion without ideational dogma or assurances of eternal salvation. The only promise offered is the ability to accept life on life’s terms, granted on a daily basis and contingent upon a spiritual condition obtained through a connection with a ‘higher power’ of the individual’s understanding. The AA alcoholic has a Janus face: first: complete acceptance of responsibility for one’s reality (accept everything, expect nothing) and, second: full surrender to a higher power to change one’s reality. The principles of Alcoholics Anonymous are similar to many other religions. Nevertheless, I demonstrate the sense in which AA ‘inverts’ the constellation of elements that are operative in other religions. Alcoholics Anonymous is actually not about alcohol. AA is about a method of producing a spiritual awakening very similar to religions; but it is for those who have not been successful with traditional methods. Religious scholars and scholars researching alcoholic addiction should take this into account.
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    Persistence: Black women’s experiences eating plant-based within African American soul food culture
    (6/21/2022) Ellison, Vanessa Rebecca; Gullion, Jessica
    This study focuses on the relationship between food culture and race. Specifically, I consider the intersectionality of Black food culture, veganism, and Black women. Veganism, defined as the practice abstaining from the consumption of animal flesh and byproducts, is oftentimes thought of as an elite, white, upper middle-class lifestyle (Greenbaum 2016). I examined cultural expectations for Black women to prepare and partake in cultural food traditions, which are meat-centric (Evans-Winters 2019), and the treatment of Black women that have opted for a plant-based lifestyle. The guiding question for this research is: What is the experience of Black women vegans within their food culture? This question is based on cultural epistemology, stratification, and the historical/traditional popularization of food culture (Collins 2000; Bower 2007; Harper 2010). I use the philosophical orientations of Black Feminist Thought, womanism, and intersectionality to explore the answers (Crenshaw 1989; Collins 2000; Evans-Winters 2019).  
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    Three the hard way: An intersectional approach to understanding narratives of African American women entrepreneurs using Butler's Theory of Performativity
    (4/12/2022) McNeill, Robert; Gullion, Jessica
    African American woman entrepreneurs are the fastest growing business start-up demographic in the country. They represent 45% of all women minority-owned enterprises (Walker’s Legacy 2016). Many African American women entrepreneurs feel that entrepreneurship can help them achieve holistic success and retain agency that they would not experience in the workplace (Mirchandani 1999). However, much of the literature on African American woman entrepreneurs focuses on discrimination issues. Existing research on African American women entrepreneurs is based on their race, gender, geographical location of their business, and industry sector. Many of the methodologies underlying this research on African American women entrepreneurs are informed by a culture of masculinity and white supremacy (Bruni, Gherardi, and Poggio 2004). In scholarly works, African American woman entrepreneurs are placed in a deficit compared to their white male counterparts. These tendencies cause these entrepreneurs to be steeped in a double otherness, as both women and African Americans. This dissertation uses the discursive anchoring of Butler’s (1990) performativity theory to provide a fresh lens with which to analyze the journey of African American women entrepreneurs. It employs Butler’s theory in conjunction with an intersectional approach to understanding the narratives of 20 African American women entrepreneurs. This study demonstrates how race, class, and gender interact to affect the success of these African American women entrepreneurs.
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    World system and urban survival squatting in the 21st century: A study of informal housing in four developing countries
    (4/29/2022) Buhl, Michael O.; Williams, James
    This study had two main purposes. The first was to examine the impact of “world system” position on the persistence of urban squatting in the cities of developing countries for the period between 2000-2020. I examined data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat), Land Matrix, and Prindex. Using a comparative-historical analysis (Lange 2012), this dissertation examined patterns of uneven development and persistence of urban squatting in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), India (Mumbai), Nigeria (Lagos), and Indonesia (Jakarta). The results provide an extensive list of causal narratives including the newest available data explaining how uneven development and other factors contributes to the phenomenon of urban squatting in Brazil, India, Nigeria, and Indonesia. The second purpose was to utilize a content analysis (Krippendorff 2013) to discover how culture, uneven development, and the “tourist gaze” (Urry 1990) shape the way informal settlements and squats are framed within the slum tourism community in countries located in the Global South from a symbolic interactionist perspective (Blumer 1969). The recruitment and testimonial literature from online tourist review websites were examined to discover what kind of framing and narratives are used to promote poverty tourism. This yielded new insights related to the “tourist gaze “(Urry 1990) and lent some salience to the phenomenon of “global recreational colonialism” in the 21st century (Lessenich 2019:98) and how the “tourist gaze” (Urry 1990) functions among slum tourists.
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    The effects social structures have on COVID-19 outcomes among three states in the United States
    (12/3/2021) Adame, Jessica Louisa; Lo, Celia C.
    This study aimed at examining the effects social structures have on COVID-19 outcomes. Since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus in late 2019, there has been an ongoing increase of confirmed cases and deaths worldwide. Past literature on structural factors and health have concluded that select communities target health disparities. However, because this virus is so recent, and continues to unravel itself. This dissertation empirically analyzes the effects social structures have on COVID-19 outcomes by examining counties within three states in the U.S. to understand better health disparities related to COVID-19, particularly from a macro-level perspective. The three states in this discussion are California, Texas, and New York. Specifically, this dissertation presents three hypotheses. Generalized Least Square Regression techniques were utilized to assess the hypotheses. Results indicate that overall, county population size, county racial composition, percentage of married households, occupation, total percentage of citizenship, and disadvantage are all significant predictors of rates of COVID-19 confirmed cases. The overall unemployment rate, county population size, racial composition, occupation, and the total percentage of citizenship were significant predictors of COVID-19 death rates. When examining each state individually, I found unique results on whether and how social structural factors affect each outcome. Findings from this study can contribute to the awareness and literature on health disparities and ultimately lead to policy implications that could alleviate these disparities.
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    “It's a miracle: Achieving “normalcy” within the Black church amongst disabled individuals
    (8/23/2021) Veal, Jessica; Bones, Paul
    This qualitative study investigated the intersection of disabled individuals within Black churches and the examination of identity acceptability as it relates to physical and spiritual wholeness. The study interviewed 6 participants, exploring how disabled Black Christians perceived their disabilities, and attained normality in the Black church community as they strive towards achieving spiritual wholeness. In this study, participants expressed that their wholeness had to be redefined. In addition, I also explored the influence of song and scripture within this journey, the power of resilience in the Black Christian community, and the expectation of healing of those with invisible disabilities.
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    Effects of social status, religion, and secularization on attitudes toward gender equality among Iranians
    (7/26/2021) Prost, Jonbita; Lo, Celia C.
    Despite efforts to achieve gender equality, women are under-represented and have fewer opportunities than men worldwide. Additionally, there is a disagreement between the West and the Islamic world over gender equality, which is viewed differently in different countries. This study used empirical evidence and theories to provide a better understanding of the attitudes toward gender equality in Iran. This study examined whether social status factors, religious/spiritual involvement, and secularization affect attitudes toward gender equality in employment, education, and politics. It also assessed whether gender had a moderating role in the associations between these three sets of factors and the attitudes toward gender equality. Feminist standpoint theory and Davis and Robinson’s model of consciousness served as the theoretical framework of this study. Feminist standpoint theory refers to the collective consciousness of women as a subordinate group. Further, Davis and Robinson’s model of consciousness suggests that gender inequality makes subordinate groups aware of their disadvantages and gain consciousness. I used data collected in Iran during Wave 7 of the World Values Survey that was conducted from 2017-2021. The final sample consisted of 1469 Iranians (716 men and 688 women) aged 18 years or older. Multiple regression and logistic regression models were developed to explain their attitudes toward gender equality in employment, education, and politics. The results of the study indicated that social status factors, religious/spiritual involvement, and secularization were associated with attitudes toward gender equality in employment, education, and politics. Some of these associations were in line with the literature, whereas others were unexpected. Women, educated, younger, unmarried, and secular individuals displayed more positive attitudes toward gender equality in employment, education, and politics. I also found evidence to show that gender had a moderating role in explaining the outcome variables’ associations. In line with our expectation, older respondents showed less support for gender equality in employment, and this relationship was stronger among women. Notably, respondents with higher income were less likely to support gender equality in education and politics, and these associations were stronger for female participants. Men and women showed distinct attitudes toward gender equality, which were explained by social mechanisms. The three factors affected gender differently. Finally, the results of this study provide implications for future research in the area of gender equality in Iran.
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    It's a shit show, and it's fine: The practice of symbolic nonviolence in higher education in 2020
    (6/23/2021) Evans, Aubree M.; Gullion, Jessica Smartt, 1972-
    The purpose of this study is to understand the ways in which COVID-19 created or exposed inequities among faculty and students in the context of higher education in 2020. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty-two faculty who taught during the Fall 2020 semester. Data was analyzed using a post-qualitative method of plugging theory into data. The term symbolic nonviolence was developed to describe the practice of healing inequities exacerbated or revealed by COVID-19 in the higher education classroom. Findings suggest that faculty and students of low socioeconomic status were similarly affected by the pandemic. Inequities experienced by students during the pandemic in the U.S. were caused by the interaction of COVID, identity, and participation in higher education classes. Immediate effects of such inequities were low grades, plagiarism, or disappearing from class. Faculty supported students by practicing three types of symbolic nonviolence: non-academic support, academic adjustments, and disciplinary superpowers. These symbolic nonviolence practices increased communication and social support for students, provided services that institutions were unable to provide, identified and remediated students who were suffering academically, adjusted academic expectations to be more suitable to pandemic learning, and taught students how to transform the world around them using tools unique to their academic disciplines. Although providing additional student support increased suffering for faculty, these symbolic nonviolence practices have the potential to change academic norms beyond COVID pandemic times.
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    LGBT guilds as buffers against sexual minority stress
    (6/11/2021) Vela, Jakin Royd; Williams, James L.; Lo, Celia C.
    Minority stress theory posits that social connection to LGBT-affirming communities may buffer against the negative health effects of anti-LGBT stigma. Yet, few scholars have extended this scope of research to video games—a $90 billion industry touching nearly three-fourths of all U.S. households. This study is among the first to investigate how membership in a virtual LGBT-affirming community within online video games (LGBT guilds) impacts minority stress levels and mental health. Utilizing cross-sectional data from a survey of adult LGBT gamers who play Final Fantasy XIV Online (N = 265), this study tested an adapted version of the minority stress model and examined direct and indirect effects of LGBT guild participation and sense of belonging on minority stress, as well as effects on mental and physical health. The final models tested fit the data well. Furthermore, results from structural equation modeling partially supported current literature linking belonging to decreased minority stress, but current findings suggest that the effects of belonging on minority health remain largely indirect. Additional findings also emphasize the significant effects of participation on minority stress, particularly discrimination, justifying future studies on this unique LGBT population.