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Indiana University Bloomington

College of Arts and Sciences Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
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Pamela Braboy Jackson

Professor Jackson’s research is in the areas of medical sociology, social psychology, family sociology, race & ethnic relations, and the Black middle class.

Biography | Research | Selected Publications | Full Vitae


Pamela Braboy Jackson is the Inaugural Director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society and Professor of Sociology at Indiana University. She previously served as a member of the sociology faculty at Duke University. Born in Chicago, IL, she earned her B.A. degree in sociology from DePaul University. She went on to earn her Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington (IUB), where was a Ford Foundation Fellowship recipient and a predoctoral research fellow for the NIMH funded program in Self, Identity, and Mental Health. She won the Best Dissertation Award, Section on Mental Health, in 1994. In 2006, she received the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award in Health Policy Research (award amount: $274,734).

The major theme underlying her research is the cumulative nature of stress in everyday life---where stress involves a slowly accumulating wear and tear on the body and mind, especially when the individual is faced with on-going problems and inadequate resources to address a myriad of situations. An on-going project focuses on health disparities among the Black middle class. She is the author of many scholarly articles and book chapters and is currently writing a book on the way in which race/ethnicity (ethnorace), gender, and social class intersect to define the experience of family life among adults in the Midwest.

She serves as faculty mentor to undergraduate students, graduate students, and junior faculty across academic units and universities. She has served on a variety of committees for the American Sociological Association (ASA), including as member of the Advisory Committee for the Minority Fellowship Program, director of the Mentoring Program for the Mental Health Section, and the elected chair of the mental health section for the Society for the Study of Social Problems. She is currently serving as the elected secretary/treasurer for the Social Psychology section of the ASA. 

She has served as consultant on the South African Stress and Health Study, under the direction of Dr. David R. Williams, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. She was a member of the editorial boards for the American Sociological Review, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Psychology Quarterly, some of the highest-ranking journals in Sociology. She has also served on review panels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH).

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I am currently working on a book-length manuscript, Family Stories, with Dr. Rashawn Ray (Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park). Information for this study is drawn from a larger project entitled The Intersections of Family, Work, and Health Study which I directed in 2004. The project was designed as part of the Sociological Research Practicum (SRP) at Indiana University, Bloomington (IUB).

Based on interviews with an ethnically diverse sample of 132 adults, Family Stories is a set of narrative accounts of family situations that reveal the way in which adults navigate through the social system we call the family.  We illuminate the spirit of resilience and tenacity that seems to characterize family formation and the manufacturing and maintenance of family relations. This manuscript also underscores the family experience along the backdrop of ethnorace, gender, and social class inequality. We address the question, how are families “doing family” (parenting, work/family balance, extended family relations), given the challenges they face in the 21st century?

I am collaborating on a series of on-going projects. With Deidre Redmond, a Sociology Ph.D. candidate, I am writing several entries for the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society. With Dr. Tamara Leech (Sociology, IUPUI), I am examining adolescent health across the life course and with Dr. David Williams (Sociology, Harvard University), I am exploring the relationship between gender, ethnicity, and mental health among South African adults.

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P.B. Jackson and J.L. Cummings. (2011). “Health Disparities and the Black Middle Class: Overview, Empirical Findings, and Research Agenda.” In Pescosolido, B., J. Martin, J. McLeod, A. Rogers (eds.), The Handbook of Health, Illness & Healing: Blueprint for the 21st Century. New York, NY: Springer. (pgs. 383-410).

P.B. Jackson, D.R. Williams, D. Stein, A. Herman, S. Williams, D. Redmond. (2010). “Race and Psychological Distress: The South African Stress and Health Study.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 51(4):458-477.

J.L. Cummings and P.B. Jackson. (2008). “Race, Gender and SES Disparities in Health, 1974-2004.” Research on Aging 30:137-168.

P.B. Jackson, R. Ray, and M. Shaw. (2007). “Adult Siblings: A Multiethnic Study of Families.” Advances in Life Course Research 12:55-84.

P.B. Jackson and K. Henderson. (2006). “Deviance Removal and Global Self-Esteem: Evidence from the Harlem Longitudinal Survey of Urban Black Youth.” Research on Human Development 3:229-249.

P.B. Jackson and D. Williams. (2006). “Culture, Race/Ethnicity, and Depression.”  In Women and Depression: A Handbook for the Social, Behavioral, and Biomedical Sciences.  Edited by C.L.M. Keyes and S.H. Goodman. N.Y., NY: Cambridge University Press. (pgs. 328-359).

P.B. Jackson and T. Saunders. (2006). “Work Stress, Coping Resources, and Mental Health: A Study of America’s Black Elite.” Research in Occupational Stress and Well Being 5:141-171.

P.B. Jackson and D. Williams. (2006). “The Intersection of Race, Gender, and SES: Health Paradoxes.”  In Gender, Race, Class, & Health: Intersectional Approaches.  Edited by A. Schulz and L. Mullings, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. (pgs. 131-162).

P.B. Jackson. (2005). “Health Inequalities among Minority Populations.” Journal of Gerontology, Series B, 60B(Special Issue II):63-67.

D. Williams and P.B. Jackson. (2005). “Social Sources of Health Disparities.”  Health Affairs 24:325-334.
Reprinted in Health Equity and Social Justice: A Guidebook for Local Public Health Agencies. National Association of County & City Health Officials.

P.B. Jackson and Q. Stewart. (2003). "A Research Agenda for the Black Middle Class:
Work Stress, Survival Strategies, and Mental Health.”  Journal of Health and Social Behavior 44:442-455.

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