Alyssa Goldman

Ph.D. Candidate


I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology with a minor in Demography. My research uses a life course approach to examine the intersection of close social relationships and social inequality within several areas, including health, criminal justice contact, early life disadvantage, and neighborhood contexts. My research emphasizes the dynamic qualities of social relationships and how these contribute to and are produced by other stratification processes. I apply a range of quantitative methods to analyze longitudinal survey and administrative data to address these research topics.


Health and health disparities; social networks; criminal justice system contact; aging and the life course; social inequality


Benjamin Cornwell (chair), Vida Maralani, Erin York Cornwell


Personal Social Networks and Social Inequality Across the Life Course

My dissertation examines the intersection of personal social networks with three areas of social inequality: early life disadvantage, everyday discrimination, and physical and mental well-being. I analyze three waves of data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) to examine these topics using a population-based sample of older adults. This work further develops the argument that social network properties and dynamics function as relatively overlooked dimensions of racial and socioeconomic inequalities in later life well-being. I devote particular attention to the role of family network ties, mapping kin composition, configuration, and dynamics within individuals’ social networks alongside changes in individual health.