Dr. Matthew Andersson’s research focuses on health inequality as it unfolds across the life course. Specifically, he researches educational and socioeconomic inequalities in mental and physical well-being as they relate to childhood, adolescent and adulthood factors. Specific themes in his recent and current work include health behaviors, chronic disease epidemiology, personal social networks, informal elder caregiving, comparative parenthood, parent-child emotional bonds, and public attitudes and reactions toward mental illness.
Industry Expertise (7)
Areas of Expertise (3)
Yale University: Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Iowa: Ph.D., Sociology 2014
University of Iowa: M.A., Sociology 2014
Knox College: B.A., Chemistry & Psychology 2008
Media Appearances (1)
What is making American parents so unhappy?
The Boston Globe online
The report — which was conducted by Jennifer Glass of the University of Texas-Austin, Robin Simon at Wake Forest University, and Baylor University’s Matthew Andersson — is slated to appear in the September issue of the American Journal of Sociology...
The recent proliferation of studies examining cross-national variation in the association between parenthood and happiness reveal accumulating evidence of lower levels of happiness among parents than nonparents in most advanced industrialized societies. Conceptualizing parenting as a stressor buffered by institutional support, the authors hypothesize that parental status differences in happiness are smaller in countries providing more resources and support to families. Analyses of the European Social Surveys and International Social Survey Programme reveal considerable variation in the parenthood gap in happiness across countries, with the United States showing the largest disadvantage of parenthood. The authors found that more generous family policies, particularly paid time off and child-care subsidies, are associated with smaller disparities in happiness between parents and nonparents. Moreover, the policies that augment parental happiness do not reduce the happiness of nonparents. These results shed light on macrolevel causes of emotional processes, with important implications for public policy.
Recent studies find that health returns to education are elevated among those who come from disadvantaged families. These findings suggest that education may be a health resource that compensates or “substitutes” for lower parental socioeconomic status. Alternatively, some studies find support for a cumulative (dis)advantage perspective, such that educational health returns are higher among those who already were advantaged, widening initial health (dis)advantages across the life course. However, it remains unclear whether these findings are dependent on gender or cohort, and this is a fundamental oversight given marked differences between men and women in educational and health inequalities across the twentieth century. Drawing on national US data (1980–2002 General Social Survey with 2008 National Death Index Link), I indeed find that the presence or strength of resource substitution or cumulative (dis)advantage depends upon health measure as well as gender and cohort. For self-rated health, cumulative (dis)advantage explains educational health disparities, but among men only. Cumulative (dis)advantage in avoiding fair or poor health is partly explained by cohort and age variation in health returns to education, and cumulative (dis)advantage in excellent health is more robust in earlier cohorts and at older ages. For mortality, resource substitution is instead supported, but for women only. Among those from disadvantaged families, educational mortality buffering increases with cohort but diminishes with age. Taken together, these findings confirm prior research showing that adult health inequalities linked to education depend on family background, and extend this work by demonstrating that the nature and extent of these dynamics differ considerably depending on the health outcome being assessed and on an individual's historical context, life course stage, and gender.
This study evaluated whether desiring to lose weight is associated with subsequent changes in social contact with individuals perceived to be thinner or heavier.