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Department of Sociology

Faculty and Staff Directory

Jennifer Augustine

Title: Associate Professor & Undergraduate Program Director
Department: Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-3123
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Jennifer Augustine


Professor Augustine earned her doctoral degree from the University of Texas in Austin (2011), where she received training in social demography, family, education, and life course and human development. After completing her degree, she was a postdoctoral research associate at Rice University, where she acquired additional training in population health. Her first academic position was as an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston (2012-2014). In 2014, she joined the University of South Carolina. She currently is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at USC and a member of CHIP (Carolina Consortium on Health, Inequalities, and Populations). She also currently serves as a Council Member for the ASA Section on Children and Youth, an Editorial Board member for Social Currents, and is the Peter and Bonnie McCausland Fellow of Sociology at USC.


Substantive research interests: family and gender; education; social demography; life course and human development; population health; and inequality and stratification; as well as social policy, time use, and longitudinal research methods and methods of causal interest.

Department cluster: Population and Health; Inequalities and Institutions.

Research overview: Dr. Augustine’s research is broadly aimed at describing and understanding socioeconomic differences in family life, as well as how these differences contribute to population level patterns in inequality more broadly. In doing so, she tends to focus on the various life course (e.g., timing of educational completion; health trajectories), demographic (e.g., marital and work status), and social psychological (e.g., approaches to parenting, decision making, social support and networks) aspects of mothers’ education; and their connection to children’s health and cognitive development. She also aims to employ longitudinal methods and methods of causal inference in order to better tease out issues of selection and endogeneity which continue to challenge research on intergenerational phenomena. More recently, she has also developed interests in the time use of families and in exploring gender and socioeconomic differences in the time of use of different family members in the context of contemporary economic and demographic phenomena, such as women’s labor force participation, increasing economic inequality, mothers’ return to school, and the return to multi-generational living, as well as how these aspects of time use are linked to subjective wellbeing and inequality in family life.

Current projects: Dr. Augustine is currently pursing three projects that are in various stages of progress:

(1) The first project, which was funded by an R03 from NICHD and internal grants from USC through the Office of the Provost and Office of Vice President of Research, examines the growing trend in mothers with children returning to school, including the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of this trend, and its impact on the wellbeing and mothers and children. Past studies to emerge from this project include an analysis of how increases in mothers’ schooling is associated with increases in children’s cognitive and noncognitive skill development. A current study examines whether increases in mothers schooling can improve her health and health behaviors. This project draws on data from multiple sources, including the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth (NLSY79 and Child and Young Adult Supplement) and Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCW).

(2) A second project examines various aspects of families time use using data from the American Time Use Surveys (ATUS) to explore questions related to gender differences in parenting time, as well as how patterns in gender differences in parenting time have developed over the past two decades by parents’ socioeconomic status. Two specific studies to emerge from this include an exploration of SES trends in mothers’ parenting, and SES trends in father’s parenting. Both studies give special consideration to how these trends are linked to various contemporary cultural and economic forces. In future investigations, Dr. Augustine plans to weave these prior studies together to examine trends in parents’ joint parenting time (i.e., co-parenting), and SES differences in these trends.

(3) A third, newly developed project, using data from both ATUS and FFCW, examines how a contemporary trend—the rise of grandparent coresidence—is experienced by both adult parents and grandparents, and how this experience varies by SES and the marital status of the adult parent and is connected to family members’ subjective wellbeing. She is currently working with an undergraduate student on a study that explores how moving in with grandparents is associated with changes in maternal health.


Dr. Augustine regularly teaches course on family, education, and research methods at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Specific courses include:
SOCY 305: Sociology of Families
SOCY 557: Education and Inequality
SOCY 303: Undergraduate Research Methods
SOCY 720: Graduate Research Methods

Selected Publications

Augustine, Jennifer March, Kate E. Prickett, and Daniela Negraia. 2018. “Doing it All? 

Mothers’ College Enrollment, Time Use, and Affective Well-Being.” Journal of Marriage and Family 80: 963-974.

Augustine, Jennifer March and Daniela Negraia. 2018. “Can Increased Educational Attainment among Lower Educated Mothers Reduce Inequalities in the Skill Development of Children? Demography 55: 59-82.

Augustine, Jennifer March. 2017. “Increases in the Educational Attainment of Less Educated Mothers and Children’s Expectations of Earning a College Degree.” Research on Social Stratification and Mobility 52: 15-25. 

Augustine, Jennifer March, Kate Pricket, and Rachel Kimbro. 2017. “Health-Related

Parenting among U.S. Families and Young Children’s Health.” Journal of Marriage and Family 79: 816-832. 

Augustine, Jennifer March. 2016. “Exploring New Life Course Patterns of Women’s Secondary and Post-Secondary Schooling.” Population Research and Policy Review 35: 727-755.   

Prickett, Kate and Jennifer March Augustine. 2016. “Maternal Education and Investments in Children’s Health.” Journal of Marriage and Family 73: 7-25. 

Augustine, Jennifer March, Kate Prickett, Sarah Kendig, and Robert Crosnoe. 2015.  “Maternal Education and the Link between Birth Timing and Children’s School Readiness.” Social Science Quarterly 96: 970-984. 

Augustine, Jennifer March. 2014. “Maternal Education and the Unequal Significance of Family Structure for Children’s Early Achievement.” Social Forces 93: 687-718. 

Augustine, Jennifer March. 2014. “Mothers’ Employment, Education, and Parenting.”  Work and Occupations 41: 237-270.

Augustine, Jennifer March, Shannon Cavanagh, and Robert Crosnoe. 2009. “Maternal  Education, Child Care, and the Reproduction of Advantage.” Social Forces 88: 1-30. 


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