Life Course: Family, Education, & Well-being

The life course is a theoretical orientation addressing the ways lives are institutionally shaped by the family, education, and work; the growth and development of individual life trajectories and transitions, subjective orientations, and well-being; and variation in life course dynamics across historical time and place. Faculty members associated with this specialty have strong interest in the potential for social policy to improve human lives. Affiliated faculty direct the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development-supported Youth Development Study on the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and the Flexible Work and Well-Being Project, on the connections between work, family life, and health.

Life Course Center
University of Minnesota
1014 Social Sciences
Phone: 612-624-6333

Home to the internationally-renowned Life Course Center, the University of Minnesota attracts graduate students and post-doctoral students from all over the world to conduct studies of the life course. In addition, Professor John Robert Warren is the current editor of Sociology of Education, and Professor Jeylan Mortimer is Chair of the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association. 

Faculty research interests include:

  • Childhood socioeconomic inequalities and adult health
  • Children’s extracurricular activities and well-being
  • Family dinners and child well-being
  • Adolescent sexual activity and well-being
  • Parental support in the transition to adulthood and young adult attainments
  • Intergenerational transmission of achievement, pro- and anti-social behaviors
  • Effects of education, cognitive and non-cognitive skills on mid-life health
  • Educational attainment and school choices of new immigrants
  • Transitions from school to work, and from work to retirement
  • Workplace sexual harassment, mental health, and career development
  • Flexible work, employee health, and organizational turnover
  • Changes in marriage and families (e.g., same-sex marriage, interracial marriage)
  • The impacts of work and family roles across the life course on late adult health, well-being and financial security
  • Racial identity and measurement
  • Genocide perpetrators and survivors
  • Incarceration and health
  • Distortion of inequality estimates due to short life spans of disadvantaged people
  • International migration, stratification, and inequality

Interdisciplinary partners include:

Faculty members work closely with:

Faculty who specialize in this area are members of divisions of the American Sociological Association, including the Sections on Aging and the Life Course; Children and Youth; Sociology of Education; Family; Mental Health; Medical Sociology; Inequality, Poverty and Mobility; Organizations, Occupations, and Work; Population; Sex and Gender; Sexualities; and Social Psychology.

Associated facultyCawo AbdiJack DeWaardDouglas HartmannKathleen Hull, Carolyn LieblerAnn MeierPhyllis MoenJeylan Mortimer, Teresa SwartzChristopher UggenRob Warren

Our faculty share a commitment with the University to value a diversity of viewpoints and experiences, and to strive to provide a productive work environment for all University of Minnesota scholars from varying racial, ethnic, religious, social class, sexual identity, and national backgrounds.