Speak for Sociology

Promoting sociology and sociology research

September, 2011

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Adolescents Particularly Susceptible to Drinking Habits of Romantic Partner’s Friends

WASHINGTON, DC, September 28, 2011 — The drinking habits of a romantic partner’s friends are more likely to impact an adolescent’s future drinking than are the behaviors of an adolescent’s own friends or significant other, according to a new study in the October issue of the American Sociological Review.

“Dating someone whose friends are big drinkers is more likely to cause an adolescent to engage in dangerous drinking behaviors than are the drinking habits of the adolescent’s own friends or romantic partner,” said Derek Kreager, lead author of the study and an associate professor of crime, law, and justice at Pennsylvania State University. “This applies to both binge drinking and drinking frequency.”

For example, the study found that the odds of an adolescent binge drinking if his or her partner’s friends engage in heavy drinking is more than twice as high as the likelihood of an adolescent binge drinking if his or her friends or significant other drink heavily.

“The friends of a partner are likely to be very different from the adolescent and his or her friends and they might also be, at least a little, different from the partner,” said Kreager, who coauthored the study with Dana A. Haynie, a sociology professor at Ohio State University. “Adolescents are motivated to be more like their partner’s friends in an effort to strengthen their relationship with their partner.”

Of course, the influence of a significant other’s friends on an adolescent’s drinking habits is not always negative. “If an adolescent is a drinker and he or she starts going out with someone whose friends predominately don’t drink, you would find the same effect but in the opposite direction,” Kreager said.

Relying on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a survey of U.S. adolescents enrolled in grades 7 through 12 in the 1994-1995 school year, the Kreager/Haynie study considers responses from 449 couples (898 students) in 1994, when they hadn’t necessarily gotten together yet, and in 1996, after they had become a couple. Kreager and Haynie focus on heterosexual couples who were students during both waves of the survey.

In their study, the authors also found that before getting together, adolescent dating partners share few of the same friends and that an adolescent’s friends are likely to be the same gender as he or she. “Couples often come from different friendship groups,” said Kreager.

These results support the idea that the peer contexts of dating expose adolescents to new opportunities and norms that influence their own drinking behavior, while also increasing opposite-gender friendship ties and expanding early adolescent mixed-gender peer groups, according to the authors.

Still, Kreager said, it’s important to note that although the drinking habits of a romantic partner’s friends are more likely to impact an adolescent’s future drinking than are the behaviors of an adolescent’s own friends or significant other, the adolescent’s friends and partner are likely to be influential nonetheless.

Interestingly, the research indicates limited gender differences in observed associations. “Consistent with prior literature, our findings indicate that girls are significantly less likely than their male partners to binge drink,” Kreager said. “However, we find that connections with drinking friends, romantic partners, and friends-of partners have similar positive associations with the drinking habits of boys and girls. Moreover, our research suggests that, if anything, males are more susceptible to a significant other’s influence than are girls.”

In terms of policy implications, Kreager said, “The study demonstrates the need for educators and policymakers to more closely examine dating and the people dating puts adolescents in contact with when they consider interventions to address drinking behaviors, attitudes, and opportunities.”

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About the American Sociological Association and the American Sociological Review
The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society. The American Sociological Review is the ASA’s flagship journal.

The research article described above is available by request for members of the media. For a copy of the full study, contact Daniel Fowler, ASA’s Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer, at (202) 527-7885 or pubinfo@asanet.org.

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

COSSA’s Summary of House NIH Spending Bill

The House Appropriations Committee released its draft of the FY  2012 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill –http://appropriations.house.gov/news/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=262231

National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The bill provides NIH with $31.7 billion in program funding, which is $1 billion (3.3%) over last year’s level and the same as the request. In addition, the bill includes $193 million for the National Children’s Study, $488 million for Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards, and $331 million for Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) programs. The funding level in the bill will support the request level of at least 9,150 new and competing research project grants, an increase of about 450 from the fiscal year 2011 projection.

The draft text of the legislation is available at: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/FY_2012_Final_LHHSE.pdf

A table comparing the agency spending levels within the fiscal year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services Draft Appropriations Bill to the President’s request and last year’s levels can be found at: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/FY12_LHHS_Summary_Table.pdf

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Impact of Senate Funding Level for Census

One of my colleagues created the below document which provides a great analysis of the impact of the US Senate funding plan for the Census Bureau.  Take a look at it and let me know what you think.

THE CENSUS BUREAU

Salaries and Expenses (S&E)

FY11 Enacted: $258.5M      FY12 Request:  $272.1M           FY12 Senate Mark:  $253.3M

The FY 2012 S&E budget request contains $14 million in program decreases. The Bureau leadership, dedicated to bringing discipline to the budget process and greater efficiencies to all the bureau’s programs, made the difficult decisions necessary to prioritize all the current and proposed programs and to terminate those that fell to the bottom of the list. This additional cut would eliminate funding for the following three programs, as well as attempting to find further administrative savings:

Statistics on State and Local Government Pension Promises and Available Funds

  • GDP calculations will lack accurate measures of government pension, health care, and other retirement benefits that states have promised their current and retired workers, or the funds needed to pay for them.

Updates to the Nation’s Poverty Measures, 50 Years Coming

  • Without the funding for the Current Population Survey Initiative, the Census Bureau will not be able to provide crucial supplemental poverty data to complement the Nation’s official poverty measure.  This measure has not been updated since the 1960s.

Supporting Use of Administrative Data and Future Significant Cost Savings

  • The Census Bureau is aggressively developing a model to increase the usefulness of existing administrative records for the entire Federal statistical system.  This has the potential for huge, long-term costs savings.  Under the  Senatemark, the Census Bureau would need to stop this effort.

Periodic Censuses and Programs (PC&P)

FY11 Enacted: $891.2M      FY12 Request:  $752.7M           FY12 Senate Mark:  $690.0M

The FY 2012 PC&P budget request contains $293.0 million in program decreases. With a reduction of $62.7 million, the Census Bureau would have to delay or cancel several activities.

$40 million reduction in the 2010 Census request of $165 million

  • Delay or permanently cancel numerous 2010 Census products.  Congress provided close to $13 billion over the decade to collect these data.
  • Threaten and delay our ability to respond to challenges from state, local, and tribal governments to the official 2010 Census counts through the Count Question Resolution program.
  • Delay the release of the Census Coverage Measurement (CCM) quality measures.  The results of the CCM report on the accuracy of the census tell us who was missed (undercount) during the 2010 Census.

$12.7 million cut to the American Community Survey

  • Eliminate data collection for Group Quarters after December 2011.  This would skew the picture of communities for characteristics, such as poverty, that are typically higher in group homes and transitional housing.

$10 million reduction to Economic Census request of $124 million would jeopardize

  • The Survey of Business Owners (SBO). The SBO provides otherwise unavailable information about American Business, such as sources of funding and education, veteran ownership, family-owned, and home based.
  • The Economic Census in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, which provides the only complete and comprehensive measures of these economies.
  • The Business Expense Survey (BEA), which provides the authoritative source of information on flows of services industries.

NOTE: The Senate mark level would adversely impact  nearly 300 jobs .  Many of the which come from the staff currently in the Periodic Census and Program  and  the potential positions loss of funding for the new initiatives for poverty measures, pension statistics and administrative records.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The Census Project Blog has Returned

The Census Project, a collaboration of Census stakeholders, has  announced the return of its blog.

In it most recent post, Terri Ann Lowenthal discusses recent cost-saving attempts by congressional appropriators and their effects on various Census Bureau programs, including the economic census, Internet response and Census 2020.

Click here to read “Back to the Census Future?” on the Census Project Blog.

“To stay current on future Census Project blog posts and updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.”

You can also subscribe to receive new blog posts by email or RSS.

Visit the Census Project’s main site at TheCensusProject.org.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Common Fund announces NEW Funding Opportunity for Transformative Research!

I was asked to “spread the word.”

The Common Fund is looking for exceptionally creative ideas that challenge conventional thinking and practice in biomedical and behavioral research.

The NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award program allows investigators to pursue unconventional ideas and sidestep stumbling blocks they often face when applying for funding for high-risk research, such as the need for preliminary data or a restriction on the amount of funds that can be requested. Awards may be up to $25 million total costs per year for 5 years for a single project.

Here are the facts:

  • Awards are open to all investigators at any career stage
  • Multiple principal investigator and “team science” applications encouraged
  • Projects in basic, clinical, translational, or behavioral science allowed
  • Preliminary data not required (may be included)

The deadline for submitting Transformative Research applications is January 12, 2012. Letters of intent to apply should be submitted by December 12, 2011. See the instructions in the Funding Opportunity Announcement RFA-RM-11-006 for more information.

There is no better time to transform the way we think about and do science!

For more information, please visit http://commonfund.nih.gov/tra

Send questions to Transformative_Awards@mail.nih.gov

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

NIH Funding Update

Here is an update about the Senate’s proposed funding levels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from the Executive Director of the Ad-Hoc Group for General Medical Research.

Last night (Sept. 21), the Senate Appropriations Committee approved FY 2012 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill by a party line vote of 16 to 14.

The bill provides $30.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a decrease of $190 million (0.6 percent) from the FY 2011 level.  The committee rejected, 16 to 14, an amendment by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) that would have restored the $190 million cut.  All Republicans voted for the amendment and all Democrats opposed it.  The offset for the amendment was an across-the-board cut of all other programs in the bill.

The bill provides $20 million for the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) at NIH, which activates its authorization.  According to a summary released by the committee, “The bill creates the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) as part of a broader restructuring at NIH that also includes the termination of the National Center for Research Resources.”

Meanwhile, the House Sept. 21 rejected the FY 2012 continuing resolution (H.J.Res. 79), 195 to 230.  Democrats objected to the CR because it didn’t provide enough disaster funding and required offsets for what was included, while Republicans believed it didn’t cut enough.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Government Shut Down Looms?

A week ago I wrote that the House and Senate were preparing Continuing Resolutions (CR) to fund the federal government beyond September 30.  Well, last night, the House failed to pass its version of the CR.  Forty-eight Republicans broke ranks from their leadership and joined all but a handful of Democrats in opposition to the bill.  The Republicans opposed the bill because it did not cut spending more than the previously agreed upon levels, while the Democrats opposed the bill because it cut emerging technology programs to help fund disaster relief programs.

Right now it is up to the House leadership to determine how they will modify the bill.  Will they cut the bill further and break their budget agreement with the President or will they reinstate the new technology programs and not off-set disaster relief funding?  Stay tuned.

A good summary of this issue is in today’s Washington Post.

Update:  Last night the House passed its version of the CR.  The Senate has vowed to defeat this measure and approve its own version that has more disaster relief funds.  Congress must forge a compromise soon to avert a government shutdown.

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