About Me

Overview

I am an associate professor of sociology, a core faculty member of advanced methodologies, and the director of the Kernan Experimental Social Science Lab at Purdue University. My research and education spans sociology, psychology, and statistics. My current research program focuses on three overlapping areas: (1) applications of social psychological theories of status, identity, and stereotyping to the intersections of gender and sexuality; (2) social factors affecting mental health and health behavior practices; and (3) applied statistics, quantitative methodology, and experimental design. I use and study multiple quantitative methods in my work, including survey experiments, lab experiments, representative survey data, longitudinal surveys, and simulation-based approaches.

My work has appeared in the American Sociological Review, Social Problems, Sociological Methodology, Social Psychology Quarterly, Sociological Science, Social Science & Medicine, and other peer-reviewed journals. My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS), the Kinsey Institute, the American Sociological Association’s social psychology section, and others.

Social Psychological Research on the Intersections of Gender and Sexuality

I use social psychological theories of status, identity, and stereotyping to better understand the intersections of gender and sexuality. Much of this work focuses on inequalities in the labor market. For example, I have published on wage inequalities based on sexual orientation and on gender inequalities in leadership positions. I am currently working on multiple projects examining parental leave: e.g., how an organization’s parental leave policies influence workplace outcomes and how parental leave-taking affects perceptions of good parenting. A new line of this work focuses on differences between married heterosexual parents, gay and lesbian parents, and single parents.

Multiple projects of mine examine stereotypes of the intersections of gender and sexual orientation—and the consequences of these stereotypes. One project shows a shift to more traditional attitudes about gender and parenting during the pandemic.

Much of my work focuses on how status and identity influence self- and other-categorization. E.g. One project examines how status processes affect who gets labeled as what sexual orientation category. Another project shows how identity commitment explains gaps in sexual identity disclosure.

Social Factors Influencing Mental Health and Health Behavior

Health behaviors—such as substance use, exercise, and dietary habits—are a product of both personal choices but also structural constraints and social influence. For example, I have shown that the accumulation of different types of social roles influence the health behavior practices of young adults. A current project examines both between- and within-gender differences in health behavior practices.

Mental health is similarly affected by social factors. In a new project, I show that sexual identity and behavior discrepancies (i.e., someone behaves in ways inconsistent with their identity) have myriad detrimental effects on mental health. The meaning of mental health labels themselves are socially patterned, with the connotations of fear they carry moderating the effects mental illness labels have on how someone is subsequently treated by others.

Research on Applied Statistics, Quantitative Methodology, and Experimental Design

Much of my current work focuses on categorical data analysis, latent variable modeling, and experimental design. For example, I have published on statistical approaches for examining nonlinear interaction effects and on approaches for examining cross-model comparisons of predictions and effects (across both linear and nonlinear models). A new line of research develops new methods for examining measurement invariance in nonlinear latent variable models (e.g. item response theory).

Another active area of my research focuses on experimental design. A recent article overviews the use of the experimental method in the social sciences and lays out directions for the future. Multiple projects examine new and old approaches for measuring interpersonal status in groups. Another set of projects examines tools for measuring cultural stereotypes.

I also write statistical programs that implement new statistical approaches (primarily using Stata). Available programs/packages/commands implement best practices for data visualization, ways to visualize imbalance across groups, easy ways to produce publication quality descriptive statistics tables, and statistical tests of mediation. I am currently working on programs (a) that simplify tests of cross-model comparisons, (b) that provide new approaches for interpreting item response theory models, and (c) that calculate measures of model fit in latent class analysis.

Teaching

I primarily teach applied statistics and quantitative methods courses and short workshops on advanced quantitative methods. I teach Statistical Horizons/Code Horizons seminars on categorical data analysis and data visualization using Stata. I teach semester-long graduate courses on categorical data analysis, experimental design, latent variable modeling, and social psychology. I also teach one and two-day workshops on data visualization (in R and Stata), survey design, analysis with missing data, workflow practices for reproducible research, statistical programming in Stata, and on survey experiments. The materials for these courses and workshops are freely available under the Teaching tab.

Contact Information

PDFs of all of my published articles are available on the Research page of this site.

Feel free to email me if you have questions: tmize@purdue.edu

You can also follow me on Twitter @MizeTrenton