Graduate News


Wallis Adams, MPH, an incoming student in the sociology graduate program will be presenting a poster at an upcoming conference with the American Public Health Association.

Title: Intimate Partner violence, social support, and exposure to community level crime

Abstract: Background: Intimate partner violence [IPV] continues to be a pressing public health concern in virtually all communities in this country, and college students are at especially high risk. While IPV is normally addressed through an interpersonal framework, the purpose of this study is to gain a further understanding of the interplay between IPV and its social and community level context within a college population. Methods: This research analyzed findings from a cross-sectional study of a large, multicultural state university population. Bivariate and multivariate analyzes were conducted on survey responses from undergraduate and graduate students under age 30 (n=932). Results: 14.5% of those surveyed reported experiencing a verbally and/or physically abusive relationship within the past six months. Chi square analyzes revealed a significant relationship between experience of IPV and neighborhood crime (p<.01). IPV victims had lower scores on a social support scale than those who had not recently experienced abuse (p<.01). According to logistic regression analyzes, those experiencing IPV were 2.4 times more likely to have a friend or family member recently injured or killed. Conclusions: For these college students, intimate partner violence is not an isolated problem unrelated to social connections and community characteristics.

While social support can be a protective factor for intimate partner violence, violence within victims’ immediate social network is also common. In order to adequately address this public health concern, it is important to further clarify the relationship between community level and interpersonal level crime.

Graduate Student Activities and Accomplishments

Betul Balkan, a PhD student, was invited to present a paper at the Islam and Secularism in Contemporary Turkey workshop that was organized by Mediterranean Studies Forum at Stanford University on November 15-16. The title of her paper was “Tension Between Secularism and Islam in Turkey: The Attitudes of Turkish Immigrants in Houston.” Balkan’s paper was about religious practices and the political opinions of Muslim Turks living in the Houston metropolitan area.