Structure, Agency, and Resilience

As my research on life adversities and health disparities has matured, I have grown increasingly interested in how an individual’s willingness and ability to overcome life adversities is shaped by their social position. I strongly believe that sociological perspectives (social capital, networks, and the interaction between agency and structure) may be used to complement and extend psychological conceptions of resilience. For example, in societies like Taiwan where both education and family integration are highly valued, parents who devote family and personal resources to their offspring’s schooling may have better health profiles in later life. That is, in part, because well-educated children may promote their parents’ wellbeing by strengthening perceived social status and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, socioeconomic conditions in childhood substantially shape one’s psychological asset (i.e., sense of purpose) that predicts healthy aging and longevity.

Relevant Publications

Lee, Chioun. (2018). “Adult Children’s Education and Physiological Dysregulation among Older Parents.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 73(6), 1143–1154. [Journal Link]

Lee, Chioun, Dana Glei, Noreen Goldman, and Maxine Weinstein. (2017). “Children’s Education and Parents’ Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 58(1), 86–101. [Journal Link]