Axinn, William G. 2015. “Demographic Change: The Case of Chitwan Valley in Nepal.” International Journal of Sociology 45(1):1-3. DOI.

Axinn, William G., Kate M. Scott, and Stephanie A. Chardoul. 2015. “Demography of Mental Health.” Pp. 18-25 in Encyclopedia of Mental Health. 2nd ed., Vol. 2, edited by H. S. Friedman. Waltham, MA: Academic Press.

Publication Abstract

Axinn, William G., Elyse A. Jennings, and Mick P. Couper. 2015. “Response of Sensitive Behaviors to Frequent Measurement.” Social Science Research 49:1-15.

We study the influence of frequent survey measurement on behavior. Widespread access to the Internet has made important breakthroughs in frequent measurement possible—potentially revolutionizing social science measurement of processes that change quickly over time. One key concern about using such frequent measurement is that it may influence the behavior being studied. We investigate this possibility using both a population-based experiment with random assignment to participation in a weekly journal for twelve months (versus no journal) and a large-scale, population-based, journal-keeping study with weekly measurement for 30 months. Results reveal few of the measured behaviors are correlated with assignment to frequent measurement. Theoretical reasoning regarding the likely behavioral response to frequent measurement correctly predicts domains most vulnerable to this possibility. Overall, however, we found little evidence of behavioral response to frequent measurement.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.07.002

PMCID: PMC4247852

Publication Abstract

Axinn, William G., Heather H. Gatny, and James Wagner. 2015. “Maximizing Data Quality using Mode Switching in Mixed-Device Survey Design: Nonresponse Bias and Models of Demographic Behavior.” Methods, Data, Analyses 9(2):163-184.

Conducting survey interviews on the internet has become an attractive method for lowering data collection costs and increasing the frequency of interviewing, especially in longitudinal studies. However, the advantages of the web mode for studies with frequent reinterviews can be offset by the serious disadvantage of low response rates and the potential for nonresponse bias to mislead investigators. Important life events, such as changes in employment status, relationship changes, or moving can cause attrition from longitudinal studies, producing the possibility of attrition bias. The potential extent of such bias in longitudinal web surveys is not well understood. We use data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study to examine the potential for a mixed-device approach with active mode switching to reduce attrition bias. The RDSL design allows panel members to switch modes by integrating telephone interviewing into a longitudinal web survey with the objective of collecting weekly reports. We found that in this design allowing panel members to switch modes kept more participants in the study compared to a web only approach. The characteristics of persons who ever switched modes are different than those who did not – including not only demographic characteristics, but also baseline characteristics related to pregnancy and time-varying characteristics that were collected after the baseline interview. This was true in multivariate models that control for multiple of these dimensions simultaneously. We conclude that mode options and mode switching is important for the success of longitudinal web surveys to maximize participation and minimize attrition.

DOI: 10.12758/mda.2015.010

PMCID: PMC4746010

Publication Abstract

West, Brady T., Dirgha J. Ghimire, and William G. Axinn. 2015. “Evaluating a Modular Design Approach to Collecting Survey Data Using Text Messages.” Survey Research Methods 9(2):111-123.

This article presents analyses of data from a pilot study in Nepal that was designed to provide an initial examination of the errors and costs associated with an innovative methodology for survey data collection. We embedded a randomized experiment within a long-standing panel survey, collecting data on a small number of items with varying sensitivity from a probability sample of 450 young Nepalese adults. Survey items ranged from simple demographics to indicators of substance abuse and mental health problems. Sampled adults were randomly assigned to one of three different modes of data collection: 1) a standard one-time telephone interview, 2) a “single sitting” back-and-forth interview with an interviewer using text messaging, and 3) an interview using text messages within a modular design framework (which generally involves breaking the survey response task into distinct parts over a short period of time). Respondents in the modular group were asked to respond (via text message exchanges with an interviewer) to only one question on a given day, rather than complete the entire survey. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses demonstrate that the two text messaging modes increased the probability of disclosing sensitive information relative to the telephone mode, and that respondents in the modular design group, while responding less frequently, found the survey to be significantly easier. Further, those who responded in the modular group were not unique in terms of available covariates, suggesting that the reduced item response rates only introduced limited nonresponse bias. Future research should consider enhancing this methodology, applying it with other modes of data collection (e. g., web surveys), and continuously evaluating its effectiveness from a total survey error perspective.

DOI: 10.18148/srm/2015.v9i2.6135

PMCID: PMC4551499

Publication Abstract

Compernolle, Ellen. 2015. “Changing Attitudes Toward Care of Aging Parents: The Influence of Education, International Travel, and Gender.” International Journal of Sociology 45(1):64-83.

Population aging is a key public health issue facing many countries, and is particularly pronounced in many Asian countries. At the same time, attitudes toward filial obligation are also rapidly changing, with a decreasing sense that children are responsible for caring for elderly parents. This investigation blends the family versus nonfamily mode of social organization framework with a life course perspective to provide insight into the processes of ideational change regarding filial responsibility, highlighting the influence of education and international travel. Using data from a longitudinal study in Nepal—the Chitwan Valley Family Study—results demonstrate that education and international travel are associated with a decrease in attitudes toward filial obligation. However, findings further reveal that the effects of education and international travel vary across the life course and by gender.

DOI: 10.1080/00207659.2015.1005435

PMCID: PMC4389642

Publication Abstract

Ghimire, Dirgha J., William G. Axinn, and Emily Smith-Greenaway. 2015. “Impact of the Spread of Mass Education on Married Women’s Experience with Domestic Violence.” Social Science Research 54:319-331.

This paper investigates the association between mass education and married women’s experience with domestic violence in rural Nepal. Previous research on domestic violence in South Asian societies emphasizes patriarchal ideology and the widespread subordinate status of women within their communities and families. The recent spread of mass education is likely to shift these gendered dynamics, thereby lowering women’s likelihood of experiencing domestic violence. Using data from 1775 currently married women from the Chitwan Valley Family Study in Nepal, we provide a thorough analysis of how the spread of mass education is associated with domestic violence among married women. The results show that women’s childhood access to school, their parents’ schooling, their own schooling, and their husbands’ schooling are each associated with their lower likelihood of experiencing domestic violence. Indeed, husbands’ education has a particularly strong, inverse association with women’s likelihood of experiencing domestic violence. These associations suggest that the proliferation of mass education will lead to a marked decline in women’s experience with domestic violence in Nepal.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2015.08.004

PMCID: PMC4607934

Publication Abstract

Ghimire, Dirgha J. 2015. “Wives’ and Husbands’ Nonfamily Experiences and First-Birth Timing.” International Journal of Sociology 45(1):4-23.

This paper investigates the impact of wives’, husbands’, and couples’ experiences on first-birth timing in an arranged marriage society undergoing dramatic social change. Though previous research has emphasized that the transition away from arranged marriage may speed first births via mechanisms such as increased coital frequency, the nonfamily experiences closely associated with lower likelihoods of arranged marriage may delay first births through other mechanisms. Using replicated measures of nonfamily and marital experiences from both husbands and wives, the analyses presented here investigate consequences of nonfamily and marital experiences. Results reveal that role incompatibility has stronger consequences for wives than for husbands, but resource accumulation speeds first-birth timing. Additionally, results show that husbands’ experiences associated with the spread of new ideas and independence have stronger consequences on first-birth timing than those of wives’.

DOI: 10.1080/00207659.2015.1004974

PMCID: PMC4587386

Publication Abstract

Axinn, William G., Dirgha J. Ghimire, Nathalie E. Williams, and Kate M. Scott. 2015. “Associations between the Social Organization of Communities and Psychiatric Disorders in Rural Asia.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 50(10):1537-1545.

We provide rare evidence of factors producing psychiatric variation in a general population sample from rural South Asia. The setting is particularly useful for demonstrating that variations in the social organization of communities, often difficult to observe in rich countries, are associated with important variations in mental health.

Clinically validated survey measures are used to document variation in psychiatric disorders among 401 adults. This sample is chosen from a systematic sample of the general population of rural Nepal, in a community-level-controlled comparison design. Multilevel logistic regression is used to estimate multivariate models of the association between community-level nonfamily social organization and individual-level psychiatric disorders.

Schools, markets, health services and social support groups each substantially reduce the odds of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), intermittent explosive disorder and anxiety disorders. Associations between schools, health services and social support groups and depression are statistically significant and independent of each other. The association between access to markets and PTSD is statistically significant and independent of other social organization and support groups.

Community integration of some nonfamily social organizations promotes mental health in ways that may go unobserved in settings with many such organizations. More research on the mechanisms producing these associations is likely to reveal potential avenues for public policy and programs to improve mental health in the general population.

DOI: 10.1007/s00127-015-1042-1

PMCID: PMC4594883