Eric Vogelsang, associate professor of sociology and director of the Cal State San Bernardino Center on Aging, recently published two studies in some of sociology’s leading peer-reviewed journals. Both papers focus on the changes and implications of social participation across mid- and later-life.
Also, on Wednesday, March 24, at 9 a.m. PST/noon EST, Vogelsang will make an online presentation at the Lewis School of Health Sciences at Clarkson University. The talk, “Aging and Society: Implications for Future Healthcare Professionals," is part of their new Jane Addams in the 21st Century Seminar Series. See the flyer below.
In the first study, “Let’s Drink to Being Socially Active: Family Characteristics, Social Participation, and Alcohol Abuse across Mid- and Later-life," Vogelsang found that social participation – which is widely considered health promoting – is generally associated with increased frequency of alcohol consumption. His research also suggests that religious participation and having ever lived with an alcoholic are each associated with possible alcohol dependence, but not with alcohol consumption itself.
Last, this work points to gendered associations between marital dissolution and alcohol abuse. In total, these findings bring some context to the increasing rates of alcohol use and abuse among older adults.
The study is published in the most recent issue of Journal of Health and Social Behavior – the flagship Medical Sociology Journal, published by the American Sociological Association – and a journal with an almost 90 percent rejection rate.
In the second study, "Social Participation across Mid- and Later-Life: Evidence from a Longitudinal Cohort Study," Vogelsang found systematic trends in the way social participation changes between the ages of 35 and 71. Using data that followed individuals for more than five decades, he identified two activities, group exercise and meeting friends, that showed the greatest declines across the life course (i.e., "age effects" or the changes as people grow older).
In addition, he noted that cultural event attendance and charity work may be most important for those looking to “stay engaged” throughout later life. Last, Vogelsang found that high school extracurricular activity can predict increased social participation decades later.
The manuscript was just published in Sociological Perspectives, the official journal of the Pacific Sociological Association.
During his career at CSUSB, Vogelsang has had his research published in both flagship social science journals of the Gerontological Society of America, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences and The Gerontologist.
In 2018, one of these manuscripts won an Emerging Scholar Paper Award for Research on Aging from the Aging Section of the International Sociological Association.
Vogelsang’s next research project will focus on the low shingles vaccination rates among older adults, and will be funded by the Office of Academic Research via their Summer Research Fellowship Program.