hero image
Matt Andersson, Ph.D. - Baylor University . Waco, TX, US

Matt Andersson, Ph.D. Matt Andersson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Sociology | Baylor University

Waco, TX, UNITED STATES

Expert on health inequality, focusing on educational and socioeconomic inequalities in mental and physical well-being

Media

Publications:

Documents:

Photos:

Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., sociology, Baylor University loading image

Videos:

Audio:

Biography

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)

Research Education/Learning Writing and Editing Health and Wellness Health Care - Facilities Health Care - Providers Health Care - Services

Areas of Expertise (10)

Parent-child Bonding Comparative parenthood Health Behaviors Health inequality Parent-child Bonding Mental Health and SES Caregiving for Elderly Well-Being Personal social networks Parent-Child Emotional Bonds

Education (4)

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 (17)

What is making American parents so unhappy?

The Boston Globe  online

2016-06-21

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...

view more

Oversimplifying Beliefs About Causes of Mental Illness May Hinder Social Acceptance

Baylor Media Communications  online

2018-01-09

Belief that mental illness is biological has increased among both health experts and the public in recent years. But campaigns to treat it as a disease and remove stigma may be lacking because other factors, such as bad character and upbringing, still are viewed as playing a role, a Baylor University study has found.

“Individuals who endorse biological beliefs that mental illness is ‘a disease like any other’ also tend to endorse other, non-biological beliefs, making the overall effect of biological beliefs quite convoluted and sometimes negative,” said lead author Matthew A. Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

view more

Study finds that picking the wrong college can make you depressed—here’s why

CNBC  tv

2018-04-30

As college decision deadlines approach, thousands of students across the U.S. are making their final choices about where they want to study. Students often consider factors like price, size and professional outcomes, but according to a recent paper published in sociology journal Youth and Society, students also need to consider if their future school could make them depressed. The study’s coauthor is Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences.

view more

Choosing the wrong college can be bad for your mental health

The Conversation  online

2018-04-17

Transitioning from high school to college may be stressful — but it can be depressing for students who graduate from a school with peers of high academic ability and wind up at a college with students of lesser ability, according to a new study co-authored by Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences. The researchers found that 50 percent of students go to a college of “lesser” academic ability relative to one’s high school - a phenomenon known as “undermatching” - on average experience a 27-percent increase in symptoms of depression, findings that held even after accounting for family income, parents’ education and gender.

view more

Choosing the wrong college can be bad for your mental health

Houston Chronicle  online

2018-04-17

Transitioning from high school to college may be stressful — but it can be downright depressing for students who graduate from a school with peers of high academic ability and wind up at a college with students of lesser ability, according to a new study co-authored by Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences. Going to a college of lesser academic achievement relative to that of one’s high school — known as “undermatching” — is thought to be common due to family financial concerns such as preventing excessive student loans and post-graduation debt.

If you're on the fence about having kids, ask these questions

Orange County Register  online

2016-12-21

This article about child rearing cites a recent joint Baylor study that found that parents in the United States generally are not as happy as those who aren’t parents. Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at Baylor, partnered with researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Wake Forest University on the study.

Close bond between kids, parents has long-term health benefits

Philadelphia Inquirer  online

2016-09-20

New Baylor research published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior suggests that growing up in a well-off home can benefit a child’s long-term physical health, but a lack of parent-child warmth, or the presence of abuse, may eliminate the health advantage of a privileged background. The research was conducted by Matthew A. Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

A Good Relationship With Your Parents Is Good for Your Health

Health Magazine  online

2016-09-20

New Baylor research published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior suggests that growing up in a well-off home may help protect kids' health for decades, but only if the children also have a warm and healthy relationship with their parents. The research was conducted by Matthew A. Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

view more

A Good Relationship With Your Parents Is Good for Your Health

Essence  online

2016-09-21

Baylor research published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior suggests that growing up in a well-off home may help protect kids' health for decades, but only if the children also have a warm and healthy relationship with their parents. The research was conducted by Matthew A. Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

view more

Close bond between kids, parents has long-term health benefits

U.S. News & World Report  online

2016-09-20

Baylor research published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior suggests that growing up in a well-off home can benefit a child’s long-term physical health, but a lack of parent-child warmth, or the presence of abuse, may eliminate the health advantage of a privileged background. The research was conducted by Matthew A. Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

view more

Close bond between kids, parents has long-term health benefits

HealthDay  online

2016-09-20

Baylor research published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior suggests that growing up in a well-off home can benefit a child’s long-term physical health, but a lack of parent-child warmth, or the presence of abuse, may eliminate the health advantage of a privileged background. The research was conducted by Matthew A. Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

view more

Friendships Matter if You Want to Lose Weight

MSN Lifestyle  online

2016-08-26

Overweight people who want to drop weight are less likely to succeed if they only socialize with other overweight people, according to research by Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. His study was published recently in the journal Obesity.

Friendships Matter if You Want to Lose Weight

HealthDay  online

2016-08-26

Overweight people who want to drop weight are less likely to succeed if they only socialize with other overweight people, according to research by Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. His study was published recently in the journal Obesity. HealthDay is a leading syndicator of health news for consumers and medical professionals.

view more

Having Slimmer Friends May Help You Lose Weight

TIME  online

2016-08-23

Research by Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, found that people trying to shed pounds, but who regularly spend time with heavier people, may feel more comfortable with those individuals but are more likely to lose weight if they include thinner people in their social lives.

view more

Paid parental leave wanted for both genders, Americans say

Deseret News  online

2016-07-11

American parents are generally not as happy as their childless counterparts in the United States, and the country has the largest “happiness” gap of 22 industrialized countries, according to a study co-authored by a Baylor University researcher. The reason is the relative lack of family-friendly policies, such as paid sick and vacation days, flexible work hours and paid parental leave. “In the U.S., we’re not treating our parents very well,” said Matthew Andersson, assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

view more

No kidding: Childless couples are happier

UPI  

2016-06-28

Parents in the United States generally are not as happy as those without children, with the major reason being the relative lack of workplace "packages'' of policies such as paid sick time, paid vacation, flexible work hours and paid maternal or parental leave, said co-researcher Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. The U.S. also has the largest "happiness gap" among parents compared to nonparents in 22 industrialized countries, according to the study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the American Journal of Sociology.

view more

Why Parents In The U.S. Have The Biggest ‘Happiness Gap’

Huffington Post  

2016-06-27

A study by researchers from Baylor and two other universities finds that U.S. parents are not generally as happy as the country’s non-parents, with the major factor being the relative lack of social policies supporting mothers and fathers. Those include paid leave, paid vacation, flexibility in work schedules and childcare assistance. In the study of 22 industrialized countries, the United States had the largest “happiness gap” between parents and non-parents. The study will be published in the American Journal of Sociology in September. Matthew Andersson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, was one of three researchers.

view more

Articles (3)

Parenthood and Happiness: Effects of Work-Family Reconciliation Policies in 22 OECD Countries American Journal of Sociology

2016

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.

view more

Health Returns to Education by Family Socioeconomic Origins, 1980- 2008: Testing the Importance of Gender, Cohort, and Age. SSM - Population Health

2016

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.

view more

Desire for Weight Loss, Weight-Related Social Contact, and Body Mass Outcomes Obesity

2016

This study evaluated whether desiring to lose weight is associated with subsequent changes in social contact with individuals perceived to be thinner or heavier.

view more

Contact