Conner Shares Research on Education Achievement and Health-Care Delivery

March 5, 2012
By: WSU News

Sonya Conner (Sociology) presented her research “Head Start Advantage: The Cumulative Effects of Family-Based Cultural Resources on Educational Achievement Outcomes” at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society, which was held February 23-26, 2012. This research uses data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a prospective longitudinal study of American children, their families, and their teachers, to investigate the mechanisms through which class-based cultural resources create disparate educational trajectories for children and adolescents.

Conner also recently had a paper, “Talking with Me or Talking at Me? The Impact of Status Characteristics on Doctor-Patient Interaction” (co-authored with B. Mitchell Peck, University of Oklahoma), published in Sociological Perspectives (Vol. 4, Issue 4). Using data collected between 2007 and 2008 from a large family medical practice, they find physician-dominated interactions (as opposed to a collaborative, patient-centered model, an approach that research has found yields better health outcomes than the physician-centered model) to be more typical when doctors had a higher race or gender status than their patients. These findings suggest that dealing with inequities in health and health care requires that policy makers consider not only macro-level factors, such as inadequate access to health care, but also micro-level factors—in particular, the doctor-patient encounter as a mechanism through which health inequities are formed.

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