Spring 2009 Population News Archive

Justin Denney was awarded the *2008-2009 CU Retired Faculty Association (CURFA) Graduate Student Research and Creative Work Award*. The award, which is determined by faculty review, acknowledges outstanding research or creative work by CU-Boulder graduate students across all disciplines.


Justin Denney was awarded the Outstanding Doctoral Student Paper Award by the Southwestern Sociological Association for his paper entitled "Household Composition and Suicide Mortality in the United States" at the Southwestern Social Science Association Meetings in Denver, April 7-11, 2009. Here is Justin receiving the award from Janet Huber Lowry:

Paper Abstract: Suicide remains a leading cause of premature death in the United States and has yet to be examined by detailed household formations, despite theoretical links to domestic support systems. I first propose several hypotheses based on theories of social integration that posit decreased risk of suicide mortality for persons living in supportive household configurations with greater social relationships. Next, I use individual and household data on over 800,000 adults from the National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File to examine the effects of household composition on individual risk of suicide. In support of the hypotheses, shared frailty Weibull hazard models show that household composition is associated with suicide risk despite controls for important individual level predictors. Persons residing in married couple households with and without children under age 18 are at a decreased risk of suicide mortality but so are persons in unmarried adult households that include other non-child relatives and unmarried adult households with children under the age of 18. Further, persons in households that include unrelated adults experience increased risk of suicide. These results reveal the structural importance of household configuration on the social integrative forces that contribute to an individual’s risk of suicide mortality, a major preventable cause of death.


The Population Program was exceptionally well-represented—with faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and research associates—at the Southwestern Sociological Association (SSA) annual meetings, which were held in Denver, April 9-11, 2009. Jeff Dennis chaired the session, Social Issues and Policies, and also presented “Gender and Race/Ethnic Differences in the Delay of Health Care.” Rob Kemp presented “Demographic Determinants of Attention Deficit Hyperpactivity Disorder Diagnosis.” Brian Bandle, Nizam Khan, and J.T. Young presented “A Comparison of Health Status and Healthcare Access in Four Southeast Asian Countries.” Justin Denney presented “Investigating the Effects of Household Composition and the Family on Suicide Mortality in the United States.” Justin’s outstanding paper won the association’s doctoral-level graduate student paper award. Janet Huber Lowry, SSA President and awards committee chair, remarked that this year Justin’s excellent submission emerged from especially tough competition. (see next news item for paper abstract)


Population Program Participation at the 2009 PAA Meetings

The Population Program had an outstanding showing at this year’s 2009 Population Association Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan, April 29 through May 2. Eight faculty, one research associate, one postdoctoral fellow, and four graduate students chaired four sessions, were a discussant in one session, gave six presentations, and gave four poster presentations. Participants included Tania Barham, Casey Blalock, Jason Boardman, Justin Denney, Jeff Dennis, Bethany Everett, Jane Menken, Sanyu Mojola, Stefanie Mollborn, Fred Pampel, Fernando Riosmena, Rick Rogers, Daniel Sahleyesus, and Jill Williams.


Population Program graduate student Justin Denney received the CU-Boulder Graduate School Student Research and Creative Works Award, 2009.


Lori Hunter has recently been elected to the council of the American Sociological Association's (ASA) Section on Population for a 3-year term.


Population Program Summer Courses

For the 4th consecutive year, the Population Program organized its University of Colorado Population Center (CUPC) summer graduate demography short course, June 17-19. We rotate the topics each year to: address central demographic issues, relate to our signature themes, address new and emerging areas of research, and correspond with CUPC faculty affiliates' interests and areas of expertise.

This summer, CUPC affiliates Fernando Riosmena (Geography) and Jani Little (Computing and Research Services, IBS) organized, and, with Dan Powers (University of Texas), co-taught Longitudinal Data Analysis: Hazard Models, which follows courses taught in previous years on environmental demography (2008), biodemography (2007), and economic demography (2006). For more information about our short courses, please visit our website: http://www.colorado.edu/ibs/pop/short_courses.html.

This year's course provided a thorough and intensive introduction to the general family of methods dealing with time-dependent data, including several survival analysis techniques taught by Dan Powers (who, in the words of a short course participant, "explained complex statistics in a technical yet comprehensive manner"). The instructors have provided online access to all class materials (lectures, notes, data, and code in both Stata and R) through the course website. This enables students to revisit the topics any time in the future and to practice the techniques with their own research. Many students remarked that these materials will be an excellent resource for their future research endeavors.

Demography short courses, like this one, provide terrific opportunities to offer additional specialized training for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and research associates, and, at the same time, they help to attract graduate students into population research. In addition, they encourage collaboration and interaction among faculty and students from around the country and between NICHD-funded centers.

This course drew on the expertise of multiple instructors from various universities to cover such specialized topics as piece-wise exponential models, multi-level hazard models, and multivariate hazard rate decomposition techniques. Approximately 35 students attended the course and represented a wide range of disciplines-including demography, economics, geography, sociology, gerontology, education, political science, public health, and agriculture-and universities-including Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Florida State University, University of Massachusetts-Boston, University of California-Irvine, Rice University, and the University of Wisconsin. In addition, over 15 students from CU-Boulder completed the course.