Kathleen Mullan Harris
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Sociology, Demography, and Geography
Since 2004 Harris has served as director and principal investigator of the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, the field's premier dataset on poverty, human development, and social stratification. Under her leadership, the survey expanded to unprecedented breadth, combining data on the social context of human development (social networks, peer groups, families, and neighborhoods) with detailed information on human physiology and biology (STDs, allostatic load, toxicology, DNA). Using these data she has demonstrated how social disadvantage is perpetuated not only through individual and family processes, but is mediated by a variety of contextual mechanisms operating through peers, schools, networks, and neighborhoods.