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Melissa A. Hardy

Melissa A. Hardy

Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Demography

Director, Graduate Program in Sociology

502 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 867-4337


  1. Albright College, Reading, PA, B.A., 1974, Sociology
  2. Indiana University, M.A., 1976, Sociology
  3. Indiana University, Ph.D., 1980, Sociology

Research and Teaching Interests

Life Course; Stratification Processes; Social Change; Cohort and Generations; Health Disparities; Economic Inequality; Cross-National Research; Work and Employment Policy; Quantitative Methodology

Ongoing Projects

Longitudinal studies of careers and career inequality; linking historical events and conditions with population inequalities and individual patterns of achievement.

National Longitudinal Surveys:  Adding supplemental administrative data to decades of survey data collected on cohorts of men and women.  Ongoing research on these cohorts includes:  studies of mortality, identifying differences by nativity, race, gender, early childhood and adult SES, and family structure; tracing how young adulthood experiences shape health, family, and financial trajectories.

Using GSS and various international data sets to study changes in social and political attitudes; age, period, and cohort structure or change; attitude change in relation to changing composition of populations.

Studies of women's health, using survey and biomarker data to study changes in health outcomes and how they relate to patterns of cumulative advantage.

Selected Publications

  • Hardy, Melissa and Alan Bryman (Editors).  2004.   Handbook of Data Analysis. London:  Sage, Inc. (2010 paperback).
  • Hardy, Melissa A. (Editor).  1997.  Studying Aging and Social Change:  Conceptual and Methodological Issues.  Beverly Hills and London:  Sage Publications.
  • Hardy, Melissa A.  1993.   Regression With Dummy Variables.  Sage University Paper Series on Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences.  Beverly Hills and London:  Sage Publications.

Articles and Chapters

  • Hardy, Melissa and Adriana Reyes. (2016).  “Theories of work and retirement:  Culture, Trust and the Social Contract.” In Handbook of Theories of Aging (3rd ed), edited by Vern Bengtson and Richard Settersten. New York: Springer.
  • Hardy, Melissa. (2016). “Societal Legacies of Risk and Protection in the Reproduction of Health Disparities.”  Public Policy and Aging Report
  • Hardy, Melissa and Adriana Reyes (2015).  "The Longevity Legacy of WWII: Exploring the Intersection of GI Status and Mortality."  The Gerontologist doi: 10.1093/geront/gnv04
  • Reyes, Adriana and Melissa Hardy (2015). “Older Immigrants and Health Insurance in the U.S.: Differences by Region-of-Origin in Gaining and Losing Coverage.”  Journal of Gerontology:  Social Sciences, 70(2):303-13.
  • Hardy, Melissa, Francecso Acciai, and Adriana M. Reyes. (2014) "How Health Conditions Translate into Self-Ratings:  A Comparative Study of Older Adults Across Europe."  Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 55(3): 320-341.
  • Reyes, Adriana and Melissa Hardy. (2014). "Another health insurance gap:  Gaining and Losing coverage among natives and immigrants at older ages."  Social Science Research 43:145-156.
  • Hardy, Melissa and Vegard Skirbekk (2013). “Research Opportunities in the Demography of Aging.” The Future of the Sociology of Aging.  Washington, DC:  National Academies Press.
  • Hardy, Melissa. (2011).  “Rethinking Retirement.”  Handbook of the Sociology Aging and the Life Course, 213-227.   Richard Settersten and Jacqui Angel (Eds.).   New York, NY: Springer Publishing.
  • Warner, David, Mark Hayward and Melissa Hardy.  (2010)  The Retirement Life Course in America at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century.  Population Research and Policy Review.
  • Danigelis, N.L., Hardy, M. and Cutler, S.  2007.  Population Aging, Intracohort Aging and Sociopolitical Attitudes.  American Sociological Review 72 (5): 812-830.
  • Willson, Andrea and Melissa Hardy. 2002. "Racial Disparities in Income Security for a Cohort of Aging American Women." Social Forces.

Research Interests:

Families, Relationships, and Interpersonal Networks:

Aging, labor force and older workers, retirement economics


Aging, labor force and older workers, retirement economics

Social Inequality:

work and occupations; careers; compensation

Quantitative Methods:

Statistical distributions, analysis of discrete and continuous data

Social Institutions, Policy, and Culture:
Health and Life Course:
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