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Brea L. Perry

Brea L. Perry is Professor of Sociology and an affiliated faculty of the Indiana University Network Science Institute. She returned to Indiana University in 2014 after receiving her PhD at Indiana University in 2008, and then serving on the faculty at the University of Kentucky. Her research focuses on the intersections of medical sociology, biosociology, and social networks. 

Brea Perry's recent research has examined the interrelated roles of dynamic social networks, peer and family relationships, social inequality, and biological systems in disease etiology and the illness career. She has a strong interest in longitudinal research, dynamic social processes, and quantitative methods, especially personal social network analysis. Much of her work examines how and why social network structure and function evolve in response to the onset of mental illness, focusing on stigma and the activation of supportive ties. Her current NIH-funded projects investigate social network indicators of prescription drug seeking behavior, the role of personal social networks in neurodegeneration and older adults’ cognitive decline, and the coevolution of recent Mexican immigrants’ social networks and oral health attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes. 

Brea Perry has published her research in journals such as American Journal of SociologyAmerican Sociological Review, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Science and Medicine. She is currently on the editorial board of Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and is the series editor of Advances in Medical Sociology. When she is not being a professor, Brea enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, playing and coaching soccer, and singing karaoke. 

Selected Publications 

Perry, Brea L. 2016. “Gendering genetics: Biological contingencies in the protective effects of social integration for men and women.” American Journal of Sociology 121:1655-96.

Perry, Brea L. and Bernice A. Pescosolido. 2015. “Social network activation:  The role of health discussion partners in recovery from mental illness.” Social Science and Medicine 125:116-28. PMID: 24525260.

Perry, Brea L. and Edward Morris. 2014. “Suspending progress: Collateral consequences of exclusionary punishment in public schools.” American Sociological Review 79:1067-87.

Perry, Brea L. and Bernice A. Pescosolido. 2012. "Social Network Dynamics in the Face of Biographical Disruption: The Case of “First Timers” with Mental Illness." American Journal of Sociology 118:134-75.

Perry, Brea L. 2011. “The Labeling Paradox: Stigma, the Sick Role, and Social Networks in Mental Illness.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 52:460-77.

Perry, Brea L. and Bernice Pescosolido. 2010. “Functional Specificity in Discussion Networks:  The Influence of General and Problem-Specific Networks on Health Outcomes.” Social Networks 32:345-57.

Pescosolido, Bernice, Brea L. Perry, J. Scott Long, Jack K. Martin, John I. Nurnberger, and Victor Hesselbrock. 2008. “Under the Influence of Genetics: How Transdisciplinarity Leads Us to Rethink Social Pathways to Illness.” American Journal of Sociology 114(S1):S171-201.