Scholarly Works, Sociology

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Research articles, presentations, and other scholarship


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  • Social network interventions to reduce race disparities in living kidney donation: Design and rationale of the friends and family of kidney transplant patients study (FFKTPS)
    Daw, Jonathan; Verdery, Ashton M.; Ortiz, Selena E.; Reed, Rhiannon Deierhoi; Locke, Jayme E.; Redfield III, Robert R.; Kloda, David; Liu, Michel; Mentsch, Heather; Sawinski, Deirdre; Aguilar, Diego; Porter, Nathaniel D.; Roberts, Mary K.; McIntyre, Katie; Reese, Peter P. (Wiley, 2023-07-03)
    Introduction: Racial/ethnic disparities in living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT) are a persistent challenge. Although nearly all directed donations are from members of patients’ social networks, little is known about which social network members take steps toward living kidney donation, which do not, and what mechanisms contribute to racial/ethnic LDKT disparities. Methods: We describe the design and rationale of the Friends and Family of Kidney Transplant Patients Study, a factorial experimental fielding two interventions designed to promote LKD discussions. Participants are kidney transplant candidates at two centers who are interviewed and delivered an intervention by trained center research coordinators. The search intervention advises patients on which social network members are most likely to be LKD contraindication-free; the script intervention advises patients on how to initiate effective LKD discussions. Participants are randomized into four conditions: no intervention, search only, script only, or both search and script. Patients also complete a survey and optionally provide social network member contact information so they can be surveyed directly. This study will seek to enroll 200 transplant candidates. The primary outcome is LDKT receipt. Secondary outcomes include live donor screening and medical evaluations and outcomes. Tertiary outcomes include LDKT self-efficacy, concerns, knowledge, and willingness, measured before and after the interventions. Conclusion: This study will assess the effectiveness of two interventions to promote LKD and ameliorate Black-White disparities. It will also collect unprecedented information on transplant candidates’ social network members, enabling future work to address network member structural barriers to LKD.
  • Designing and Implementing Active Learning with Data
    Porter, Nathaniel D. (2024-02-09)
    Slides for a workshop at the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy 2024.
  • Cyberattacks and public opinion - The effect of uncertainty in guiding preferences
    Jardine, Eric; Porter, Nathaniel D.; Shandler, Ryan (Sage, 2024-01-30)
    When it comes to cybersecurity incidents – public opinion matters. But how do voters form opinions in the aftermath of cyberattacks that are shrouded in ambiguity? How do people account for the uncertainty inherent in cyberspace to forge preferences following attacks? This article seeks to answer these questions by introducing an uncertainty threshold mechanism predicting the level of attributional certainty required for the public to support economic, diplomatic or military responses following cyberattacks. Using a discrete-choice experimental design with 2025 US respondents, we find lower attributional certainty is associated with less support for retaliation, yet this mechanism is contingent on the suspected identity of the attacker and partisan identity. Diplomatic allies possess a reservoir of good will that amplifies the effect of uncertainty, while rivals are less often given the benefit of the doubt. We demonstrate that uncertainty encourages the use of cognitive schemas to overcome ambiguity, and that people fall back upon pre-existing and politically guided views about the suspected country behind an attack. If the ambiguity surrounding cyberattacks has typically been discussed as an operational and strategic concern, this article shifts the focus of attention to the human level and positions the mass public as a forgotten yet important party during cyber conflict.
  • Relationships, race/ethnicity, gender, age, and living kidney donation evaluation willingness
    Daw, Jonathan; Roberts, Mary K.; Salim, Zarmeen; Porter, Nathaniel D.; Verdery, Ashton M.; Ortiz, Selena E. (Elsevier, 2024-04)
    Racial/ethnic and gender disparities in living donor kidney transplantation are large and persistent but incompletely explained. One previously unexplored potential contributor to these disparities is differential willingness to donate to recipients in specific relationships such as children, parents, and friends. We collected and analyzed data from an online sample featuring an experimental vignette in which respondents were asked to rate their willingness to donate to a randomly chosen member of their family or social network. Results show very large differences in respondents' willingness to donate to recipients with different relationships to them, favoring children, spouses/partners, siblings, and parents, and disfavoring friends, aunts/uncles, and coworkers. Evidence suggesting an interactive effect between relationship, respondent race/ethnicity, respondent or recipient gender, was limited to a few cases. At the p < 0.05 level, the parent-recipient gender interaction was statistically significant, favoring mothers over fathers, as was other/multiracial respondents' greater willingness to donate to friends compared to Whites. Additionally, other interactions were significant at the p < 0.10 level, such as Hispanics' and women's higher willingness to donate to parents compared to Whites and men respectively, women's lower willingness to donate to friends compared to men, and Blacks' greater willingness to donate to coworkers than Whites. We also examined differences by age and found that older respondents were less willing to donate to recipients other than their parents. Together these results suggest that differential willingness to donate by relationship group may be a moderately important factor in understanding racial/ethnic and gender disparities in living donor kidney transplantation.
  • "This is not a scam!!" A mixed methods evaluation of findings of an interactive theatre production about scams victimizing older people
    Parti, Katalin (2024-03-26)
    In 2021-23, this interdisciplinary collaborative project investigated the needs of older scam victims. The report is an assessment of the interactive theatre program "This is not a scam!!" showcased in the Spring of 2023. Implications and recommendations are included.
  • Pipelines and Power: Psychological Distress, Political Alienation, and the Breakdown of Environmental Justice in Government Agencies’ Public Participation Processes
    Bell, Shannon E.; Hughes, Michael; Tuttle, Grace; Chisholm, Russell; Gerus, Stephen; Mullins, Danielle R.; Baller, Cameron; Scarff, Kelly; Spector, Rachel; Nalamalapu, Denali (Elsevier, 2024-01-25)
    Environmental health research has demonstrated that living near industrial activity is associated with increased stress, depressive symptoms, and feelings of powerlessness. Little is known, however, about the effects of new natural gas pipelines—or the institutional processes dictating their approval and construction—on the mental health of local residents. Through our analysis of a mail survey, an online survey, and a set of semi-structured interviews, we examine how engagement with public participation processes associated with new interstate natural gas pipelines affects mental health. Our results suggest that the public participation opportunities offered by regulatory agencies during the pipeline certification process are primarily performative, and we find that many of the people who have taken part in these performative public input opportunities experience psychological distress, stress-activated physical health effects, and a loss of trust in government institutions. We argue that when people engage in public participation processes that have little or no effect on agency decision-making, it not only disempowers, but can harm those individuals and erode their trust in government institutions. Furthermore, we contend that providing the public with participation opportunities that are merely performative, with little ability to influence decision-making outcomes, is a violation of both procedural and recognition justice, two of the core tenets of environmental justice.
  • Routine citizen Internet practices and cyber victimization: a state-wide study in Virginia
    Gainey, Randy; Albanese, Jay; Vandecar-Burdin, Tancy; Hawdon, James E.; Dearden, Thomas E.; Parti, Katalin (Taylor & Francis, 2023-10-22)
    Cybercrime has become a major societal concern, and a better understanding OF cybercrime is needed to target and prevent it more effectively, minimize its consequences, and provide support for victims. Research on cybercrime victimization has exploded in the past few years, but much of it relies on convenience samples and is largely descriptive in nature. The research presented here involves the collection of data from a large sample of Virginia households in 2022 (n = 1,206). The data are analyzed to provide a partial test of routine activity theory to better understand fraud and theft via the Internet. The data provide a solid baseline for describing the extent of cyber victimization across the state. Bivariate and multivariate analyses (logistic regressions) show support for routine activity theory and provide important insights for future research. In particular, we find that certain routine Internet activities may better predict unique forms of cybervictimization than others and that length of time on the Internet is not a good indicator of exposure to motivated offenders. Further, protective guardianship mediates the effects of exposure to motivated offenders; thus, efforts to educate the public on best practices are needed. We conclude that to better assess cybercrime, victimization and engagement, better measurement and longitudinal panel data will be needed.
  • Dead-end days: The sacrifice of displaced workers on film
    King, Neal M. (University of Illinois Press, 2004)
  • “Figuring out your place at a school like this:” Intersectionality and sense of belonging among STEM and non-STEM college students
    Ovink, Sarah; Byrd, W. Carson; Nanney, Megan; Wilson, Abigail (Public Library of Science, 2024-01-10)
    Background Students’ sense of belonging in college—an individual’s feelings of contentment, mattering, importance, and “finding one’s place” in a social setting—can influence choice of major and career trajectory. We contribute to the belongingness literature through a mixed methods intersectional study of students attending a STEM-focused public university we call Meadow State University (MSU). We assess the potential for students’ intersecting social identities to differentially influence their experiences with intersectional oppression—subjection to multiple systems of oppression due to simultaneous membership in more than one marginalized group—that, in turn, may influence their college pathways. In addition, we explore whether intersectional differences affect sense of belonging differently in STEM and non-STEM majors. We employ a mixed-methods approach, informed by critical quantitative methods and in-depth interviews. We utilize quantitative institutional data measuring college satisfaction, expressed as “willingness to return” to the same university, for over 3,000 students during two academic years (2013–14 and 2016–17). Survey data explores college satisfaction as an indicator of intersectional differences in student experiences. Then, we analyze 37 in-depth interviews, collected between 2014–2016 at the same institution, to further contextualize the intersectional variation suggested by survey results. Results Willingness to return is influenced by major, as well as academic, social, and campus belonging. Moreover, the extent to which these factors affected outcomes additionally varied by race/ethnicity, gender, family income, other background factors, and the ways these factors may intersect. Important components of academic belonging included faculty-student interactions, perceptions of academic support, and a privileging of STEM degree programs and students over non-STEM students and their degree programs at MSU. Faculty responsiveness and high impact practices like internships played an important role, particularly in STEM programs. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that, particularly for students of color and those subject to intersectional oppression due to multiple marginalized identities, satisfaction with academics did not always outweigh deficiencies in other areas of campus life shaping belongingness. Conclusions Our mixed-methods approach contributes insights into how and why students’ background, individual choices, and institutional practices concurrently—and intersectionally—influence their ability to form a sense of belonging on campus. Structural changes are required to end practices that support intersecting systems of oppression by favoring White, upper-income men as the “default” STEM students in the U.S. Our research supports growing evidence that institutions must actively build models of inclusion for underrepresented and marginalized groups that address inequitable and unjust practices, providing transformative mentoring and educational guidance that attends to intersectional oppression, in order to effectively support the next generation of women and scholars of color.
  • Building Partnerships to Address Social and Technological Challenges to Enhance Farm Profitability and Improve Water Quality Through Better Grassland Management
    Stafford, Carl; Clark, Robert; Ritchie, Liesel A.; Pent, Gabriel; Fike, John; Benner, John; Swanson, Carrie; Baker, Scott; Mize, Timothy; Temu, Vitalis; Payne, Kathryn; Gill, Duane A.; Mullins, D.; McGuire, R.; Teutsch, Chris; Thomason, Wade; Grev, Amanda; Blevins, Phil; Clarke, C.; Poore, Matt; Booher, Matt; Stanley, Tom; Halich, Greg; Bovay, John; Love, Kenner; Byington, amy A.; Baldwin, Elizabeth; Haugen, Inga (2023-05-15)
    With 2.1 million acres of pastureland and 1.25 million acres of hay land in Virginia, the rural Virginia landscape is predominately grassland. These lands form the base of the $3.96 billion-dollar livestock and dairy industry in Virginia. Managing these livestock in a profitable manner for farmers and beneficial to the environment is important. A cultural tradition with roots in colonial times has been to run animals in large fields year-round throughout Virginia. Livestock often graze from spring until fall (about 220 days), and farmers feed hay the remainder of the year. Spikes in the cost of fuel, fertilizer, and equipment are making traditional grazing/haying systems less profitable. The Virginia Cooperative Extension Farm Enterprise budgets show that that the cost of hay accounts for over 50% of the cost of sustaining livestock annually. University of Kentucky shows that most cow-calf producers maximize their profitability by shifting from grazing 220 days to grazing 275 to 300 days. Extension agents working with livestock producers found that they could improve their profitability by at least $75 per cow by extending their grazing season. The same phenomenon applies to other types of grazing livestock. If ten percent of the livestock producers in the state adopted better grazing management to extend their grazing season by 60 days, profitability is expected to for Virginia grazing livestock producers by over $5 million per year. Practices such as rotational grazing and stream exclusion are directly tied to National and State goals to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia’s Phase III WIP (Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan) seeks the exclusion of livestock from all perennial streams and achieving good rotational grazing practices on 347,000 acres of pasture. A number of agencies and private sector groups have been providing cost share and technical guidance to incentivize livestock stream exclusion and the installation of pasture management infrastructure. Installation is only part of the challenge. Farmers also need to be taught how to how to manage the system in a profitable manner and have been slow to adopt good pasture management practices. Preliminary data show that 87% of Virginia’s cow-calf producers manage their grasslands using traditional methods. Only six percent have extended their grazing season beyond 265 days.
  • Follow the Money: Analyzing Darknet Activity Using Cryptocurrency and the Bitcoin Blockchain
    Dearden, Thomas E.; Tucker, S. E. (SAGE, 2023-03-14)
    Transactions on the darknet are notoriously difficult to examine. Prior criminological research has generally used web scraping and qualitative text analysis to examine illegal darknet markets. One disadvantage of this process is that individuals can lie. Fortunately for researchers, the currency used for transactions on the darknet, cryptocurrency, is designed to be tracked. In this article, we examine transactions from a former darknet marketplace, AlphaBay. Using the blockchain, we examine the interconnectedness of both legal and illegal cryptocurrencies. In addition, we provide a structured approach to quantitatively examine the Bitcoin blockchain ledger, offering both the tools and our own experiences for other researchers interested in such approaches. While cybersecurity, information technology, accounting, and other disciplines can examine the financial data itself, we believe that criminologists can provide additional benefits in pattern analysis and organizing the context and theory around the transactions. Our results show that cryptocurrency transactions are generally identifiable (90%) and involve likely illegal transactions, transactions that attempt to obfuscate other transactions, and legal transactions. We end with a discussion of newer cryptocurrencies and related technology and how they will likely shape future work.
  • Understanding the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Cybercrime
    Parti, Katalin; Dearden, Thomas E.; Choi, Sinyong (2023-09-15)
    Artificial intelligence is one of the newest innovations which offenders exploit to satisfy their criminal desires. Although understanding cybercrime that is associated with this relatively new technology is essential in developing proper preventive measures, little has been done to examine this area. Therefore, this paper provides an overview of the two articles featured in the special issue of the International Journal of Cybersecurity Intelligence and Cybercrime, one about deepfakes in the metaverse and the other about social engineering attacks. The articles were written by the winners of the student paper competition at the 2023 International White Hat Conference.
  • Cybercrime victimization among Virginia businesses: frequency, vulnerabilities, and consequences of cybervictimization
    Hawdon, James E.; Parti, Katalin; Dearden, Thomas E.; Vandecar-Burdin, Tancy; Albanese, Jay; Gainey, Randy (Taylor & Francis, 2023-09-04)
    The Commonwealth of Virginia, USA, is one of the most vulnerable states to cyberattacks and breaches. Analyzing data from 428 online surveys collected from Virginia businesses from multiple vendors and several unique resources, this study provides an in-depth view of the nature and extent of cybercrime victimization in Virginia, highlighting specific vulnerabilities, how the victimization occurred, the consequences of victimization, and if and to whom these breaches were reported. In addition, we describe the extent to which businesses perceive their vulnerabilities, the extent in which companies engage in behaviors that can potentially make them vulnerable, the policies and practices they have in place to reduce vulnerability, and their experiences with victimization. The results provide a quality baseline for understanding cybercrimes against businesses in Virginia.
  • We get by with family: Maternal partnership transitions and extended kin coresidence
    Williams, Heidi M. (Wiley, 2023-04)
    Objective This study examines the extent to which mothers coreside with extended kin during partnership transitions.Background Parental relationship changes are increasingly common, especially among unmarried parents. Although research shows that families often coreside out of economic necessity, extended kin coresidence as a function of maternal relationship changes has not been explored. Using life course theory, this study examines where and with whom mothers and their children live during partnership transitions.Method Data are from 2,886 mothers who participated in the Future of Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Bivariate and multinomial logistic regression, random effects, and fixed effects models were estimated to determine if mothers' coresidential relationships with extended kin were formed by changes in mothers' coresidential romantic partnership statuses.Results Mothers' partnership changes were associated with extended kin coresidence, especially among unmarried mothers. By Year 9, mothers were more likely to live "elsewhere." Mothers' parity and multipartnered fertility decreased their chances of living with extended kin.Conclusion This study indicates that maternal relationship changes provoke family instability and reliance on extended kin. Mothers' transitions contribute to "network fatigue" and homelessness.Implications Housing support for mothers may mitigate instability associated with maternal relationship transitions and protect extended kin against transitions.
  • Defending Others Online: The Influence of Observing Formal and Informal Social Control on One's Willingness to Defend Cyberhate Victims
    Costello, Matthew; Hawdon, James; Reichelmann, Ashley V.; Oksanen, Atte; Blaya, Catherine; Llorent, Vicente J.; Räsänen, Pekka; Zych, Izabela (MDPI, 2023-08-02)
    This paper examines factors correlated with online self-help—an informal form of social control vis-à-vis intervention—upon witnessing a cyberhate attack. Using online surveys from 18- to 26-year-old respondents in the United States, we explore the roles of various types of online and offline formal and informal social control mechanisms on the enactment of self-help through the use of descriptive statistics and ordinal logistic regression. The results of the multivariate analyses indicate that online collective efficacy is positively related to self-help, as is having close ties to individuals and groups offline and online. Formal online social control, however, is not significantly related to engaging in self-help. Other findings demonstrate that personal encounters with cyberhate affect the likelihood that an individual will intervene when witnessing an attack, and that individuals with high levels of empathy are more likely to intervene to assist others. This work indicates that pro-social online behavior is contagious and can potentially foster online spaces in which harmful behaviors, such as propagating cyberhate, are not condoned.
  • Practice Research Special Issue Editorial
    Zagorski-Thomas, Simon; Harrison, Anthony Kwame; Jordán González, Laura (International Association for the Study of Popular Music, 2023-07-28)
  • Artificial intelligence in farming: Challenges and opportunities for building trust
    Gardezi, Maaz; Joshi, Bhavna; Rizzo, Donna M.; Ryan, Mark; Prutzer, Edward; Brugler, Skye; Dadkhah, Ali (Wiley, 2023-05)
    Artificial intelligence (AI) represents technologies with human-like cognitive abilities to learn, perform, and make decisions. AI in precision agriculture (PA) enables farmers and farm managers to deploy highly targeted and precise farming practices based on site-specific agroclimatic field measurements. The foundational and applied development of AI has matured considerably over the last 30 years. The time is now right to engage seriously with the ethics and responsible practice of AI for the well-being of farmers and farm managers. In this paper, we identify and discuss both challenges and opportunities for improving farmers' trust in those providing AI solutions for PA. We highlight that farmers' trust can be moderated by how the benefits and risks of AI are perceived, shared, and distributed. We propose four recommendations for improving farmers' trust. First, AI developers should improve model transparency and explainability. Second, clear responsibility and accountability should be assigned to AI decisions. Third, concerns about the fairness of AI need to be overcome to improve human-machine partnerships in agriculture. Finally, regulation and voluntary compliance of data ownership, privacy, and security are needed, if AI systems are to become accepted and used by farmers.
  • What is a capable guardian to older fraud victims? Comparison of younger and older victims’ characteristics of online fraud utilizing routine activity theory
    Parti, Katalin (2023-05-18)
    Objective: The paper compares victim group characteristics: we test routine activities theory to compare the differences in online fraud vulnerabilities of victims aged 18–54 and victims of 55 and above. Methods/sample: A representative sample of US citizens 18 and above was collected in October 2020. Victims under 55 encompassed 35.3% (n = 915), victims 55 and above 12.9% (n = 334) of the total sample (n = 2,589). We utilized nonparametric statistical methods for testing whether older and younger victims’ characteristics can be derived from the same independent variables. Results: Computer time, computer familiarity, and technical guardians determine online victimization in older individuals, similarly to younger age groups. However, older victims differ in characteristics from younger victims. Seniors were less likely to apply technical guardians such as camera cover, identity theft monitoring, and credit card freeze, even after experiencing online scams. Being a single parent was a protective factor for older individuals, but having a full-time job made older individuals more prone to experience online fraud victimization compared to being retired. In addition, older victims were less likely to report scams than younger ones. Conclusion/implications: Although this research found significant differences between older and younger fraud victims’ characteristics, target suitability and capable guardianship must be further investigated and conceptualized when applying routine activities theory for online fraud against older people.