Rachel A. Gordon
Joint Appointments: Institute of Government and Public Affairs
Research Interests: Early Childhood Care and Education, Families and Work, Adolescent Development, Multi-Level and Longitudinal Models
- Soc 402: Intermediate Sociological Statistics
- Soc 501: Introduction to Survey Methods/ Chicago Area Study
- Soc 509: Longitudinal Data Analysis
- Soc 245: Marriage and the Family
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Bio: Rachel A. Gordon is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a faculty member of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) at the University of Illinois. She has a B.S. in psychology from Pennsylvania State University, an MPP and PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago, and received pre-doctoral training in demography and post-doctoral experience in work-family research at the NORC Research Centers.
At IGPA, Dr. Gordon directs the Illinois Family Impact Seminars, a series of briefings for state legislators on family policy issues that is part of the Policy Network for Family Impact Seminar based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In the sociology department, Gordon regularly teaches second graduate statistics course, and recently published book from Routledge on Regression Analysis for the Social Sciences.
Gordon's research broadly aims to measure and model the contexts of children and families' lives, often using longitudinal data sets. Currently, she has four major streams of research.
Domains of Child Care Quality is a multi-faceted project in which Gordon, and co-Investigators Robert Kaestner, Sanders Korenman, Evertt Smith, and Laurie Wakschlag are using rigorous psychometric techniques to evaluate new measures of child care quality specific to domains of child health and development; they will then examine social inequality in families' use of care with specific quality characteristics and how attending settings of varying quality associates with child outcomes in specific domains. An Institute of Education Sciences grant (R305A090065) is funding the first part of the project which examines several research questions relevant to domains of quality in center- and school-based early childhood education programs using cross-sectional analyses. A National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development grant (5R01HD060711-02) is looking comprehensively at domains of child care quality from infancy through preschool and in family day care homes as well as child care centers using sophisticated longitudinal models. With Kaestner and Korenman, and funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's RIDGE program, Gordon also studied provider and family take-up, and child outcomes, associated with the Child and Adult Care Food Program in child care settings.
Costs of Child Care Problems (with Margaret Usdansky) is examining effects of child care quality and child care problems on parents. A current paper (with Xue Wang and Anna Gluzman) examines how mothers' reasons for choosing child care associate with their depression levels. A proposal under review at NIH would examine how perceptions and problems with child care influence parental well-being (and ultimately indirectly associate with child outcomes).
Race and Place (with Rolf Loeber and colleagues) is examining the rise and fall of gang participation, gun carrying, and drug selling among youth who participated in the Pittsburgh Youth Study. The project is pairing the study's rich longitudinal data, following cohorts of 1st and 7th graders for nearly two decades, with contextual data about gangs, drugs, and violence in the youths' neighborhoods and in-depth interviews of homicide offenders and matched controls. A proposal is under review at NIH to fund this project.
Physical Beauty and Social Stratification (with Robert Crosnoe) is examining how good looks affect youth well-being. A paper based on the Add Health data (with Xue Wang) finds that beauty is both a social asset and a social distraction during adolescence, leading to offsetting associations with grades. The collaborators are currently examining how these effects carry into adulthood and planning a longitudinal study that would examine changes in looks and social and academic outcomes from early childhood into adolescence.
Gordon is completing her fifth term on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Marriage and Family, is a currently a Council Member for the Section on Children and Youth of the American Sociological Association (2009-2012 term), Chair of the Section's Distinguish Contribution Award for Scholarship (2010), and a Strategic Planning Committee Member of the University-Based Child and Family Policy Consortium. She also served three terms as co-chair of the Committee on Research, Policy and Public Information of the Society for Research on Adolescence and was Review Panel Chair for Applied Research, Program Evaluation and Public Policy for the 2010 Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting.