Sarah Damaske

Sarah Damaske

Associate Professor of Sociology, Labor & Employment Relations, and Women's Studies

Research Associate, Population Research Institute

614 Oswald Tower
University Park , Pennsylvania 16802
Office Phone: (814) 865-5425

Curriculum Vitae

Download CV


Research Interests:

My research focuses on how work and family transitions lead to cumulating inequalities over the life course. My research agenda investigates inequalities through three main streams: qualitative interviewing projects examining the relationships between work, family, and inequality, research on how class and gender shape workforce participation, and a focus on the relationships between inequality, work, and health.

Current Research Projects:

While researching my first book, For the Family: How Class and Gender Shape Women’s Work (Oxford, 2011), I discovered something surprising: a group of women unable to steady themselves at work or to fully withdraw from the labor market; I called them “interrupted” workers. I knew I needed to know more about women who experienced unemployment and how their experiences compared to men’s. I began researching women and men and job loss and found that even though women have similar unemployment rates to men (and have since the 1970s), we know little about women and job loss and almost nothing about the similarities or differences in men’s and women’s unemployment experiences. This topic has been the focus of my qualitative research and writing for the past seven years. I received financial support for the current book project from the National Science Foundation and the American Sociological Association. The Tolls of Uncertainty is a book about the devastation of job loss and unemployment. It finds that people’s gender and class shape the circumstances that lead to their job loss, the ways they experience that loss, how that loss affects them economically, and how it impacts their health, their family life, their job search, and the likelihood that search will be successful.

 A collaborative research project with Dr. Adrianne Frech extends this interest in unemployment by combining it with our prior collaborative work on life course pathways to estimate life course pathways of unemployment and document how these pathways contribute to inequalities in chronic diseases and self-rated physical and mental health at mid-life. This project is support by a grant from the National Institute of Health’s NICHD branch. Identifying patterns of unemployment over time and how they connect to health could lead to targeted unemployment policies that will directly improve population health.

Research Interests:

Family and Relationships:

Work-Family, Gender

Social Inequality:

Gender, Social Class, Race/Ethnicity, Work

Health and Life Course:

Life Course, Health Disparities, Stress