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Peggy Thoits

Peggy A. Thoits is a sociologist whose research examines the unequal social distributions of stress experiences, social support, and physical and mental health problems in the general adult population. She focuses especially on "identity-relevant" stressors -- major life events and ongoing problems that threaten personal identities. A related line of her research focuses on the social patterning of deviant emotions, i.e., emotions that violate social norms of appropriate feelings and expression. She is developing a new line of new work on resistance to the stigma of mental illness. Thoits generally takes a social psychological approach in her research, examining the influences of social situational factors on individuals' thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. She did her graduate work at Stanford University (1978 Ph.D.) and has taught at Washington State, Princeton, Indiana, Vanderbilt, and most recently, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she was the Taylor-Williams Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Research Professor of Social Medicine. Thoits has been honored with the 2005 Leonard I. Pearlin Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Sociology of Mental Health, the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASA Sociology of Emotions Section, the 2010 Leo G. Reeder Award for Distinguished Contributions to Medical Sociology, the 2010 Cooley-Mead Award for Lifetime Contributions to Distinguished Scholarship in Sociological Social Psychology, and the 2013 James R. Greenley Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Sociology of Mental Health (from the SSSP). She returned to IU in 2008, delighted to be back in Bloomington.