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 are 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’ well-being 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]

Chioun Lee, Debaleena Sain, Lexi Harari, and Esra Kurum. (2022), Social Mobility and Sense of Purpose from Midlife to Old Age: Examining the Role of Major Life Events, Research on Aging. [Journal Link]