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Open Access Publications from the University of California

This series is automatically populated with publications deposited by UC Merced Department of Sociology researchers in accordance with the University of California’s open access policies. For more information see Open Access Policy Deposits and the UC Publication Management System.

Attitudes Toward Payment for Research Participation: Results from a U.S. Survey of People Living with HIV.


Little is known about how payment affects individuals' decisions to participate in HIV research. Using data from a U.S. survey of people living with HIV (N = 292), we examined potential research participants' attitudes toward payment, perceived study risk based on payment amount, and preferred payment forms, and how these factors vary by sociodemographic characteristics. Most respondents agreed people should be paid for HIV research participation (96%) and said payment would shape their research participation decisions (80%). Men, less formally educated individuals, and members of some minoritized racial-ethnic groups were less likely to be willing to participate in research without payment. Higher payment was associated with higher perceived study risks, while preferences for form of payment varied by age, gender, education, race-ethnicity, and census region of residence. Findings suggest payment may influence prospective research participants' risk-benefit calculus and participation, and that a one-size-fits-all approach to payment could differentially influence participation among distinct sociodemographic groups.

Cover page of Analyzing the Military's Role in Producing Air Toxics Disparities in the United States: A Critical Environmental Justice Approach

Analyzing the Military's Role in Producing Air Toxics Disparities in the United States: A Critical Environmental Justice Approach


Abstract The negative environmental, health, and social effects arising from U.S. military action in communities both domestically and abroad suggest that the military represents an understudied institutional source of environmental injustice. Moreover, scholars and activists have long argued that the state is an active or a tacit contributor to environmental inequality, thus providing an opportunity to link U.S. military activity with approaches to the state developed under critical environmental justice. We build on these literatures to ask: Does the presence of domestic military facilities significantly increase carcinogenic risks from air toxics? And do communities of color face additional military-associated carcinogenic risks? Multilevel analyses reveal that locales in closer proximity to a military facility and those exposed to greater military technological intensity, independent of each other, experience significantly higher carcinogenic risk from air toxics. We find that proximity to military facilities tends to intensify racial and ethnic environmental inequalities in exposure to airborne toxics, but in different ways for Latinx and Black populations. These results highlight the role of the state in perpetuating racial and environmental expendability as reflected in critical environmental justice and represent an important expansion of nationwide environmental justice studies on contributors to environmental inequality.

"I Thought It Was Just For Teenagers": Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs about HPV Vaccination Among Women Aged 27 to 45.


We aimed to identify human papillomavirus (HPV) and HPV vaccine-related knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among women aged 27-45 years, who became eligible for HPV vaccination in 2018. Eight virtual focus groups were conducted with 52 unvaccinated cisgender women aged 27-45 years living in Southern California's Inland Empire. Themes related to women's knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs were systematically identified using the rigorous and accelerated data reduction technique. The sample was diverse: 62% of participants were Hispanic, Black, or Asian; 17% identified as lesbian or bisexual; and annual household incomes ranged from $0 to $260,000 (median, $60,500). Key qualitative themes centered on 1) questions about HPV and HPV vaccination, 2) knowledge and beliefs about HPV and HPV vaccination, 3) concerns about vaccine side effects and safety, 4) low perceived benefits of vaccination, and 5) social factors influencing vaccine acceptance. Few participants were aware adults aged 27-45 years are eligible for HPV vaccination or that vaccination can still be beneficial after sexual debut. Many believed HPV vaccination caused serious side effects among adolescents and questioned whether safety had been adequately studied for newly eligible adults. Although many participants associated HPV vaccination with social stigma, some emphasized that vaccination was a way to exercise control over their health and prevent illness, given they could not always control the actions of their sexual contacts. Findings provide insight into knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about HPV and HPV vaccination among women aged 27-45 years, which may be useful for informing interventions to promote shared clinical decision-making between patients and health providers.

Cover page of Structural Racism as an Environmental Justice Issue: A Multilevel Analysis of the State Racism Index and Environmental Health Risk from Air Toxics.

Structural Racism as an Environmental Justice Issue: A Multilevel Analysis of the State Racism Index and Environmental Health Risk from Air Toxics.


Communities of color and poor neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to more air pollution-a pattern known as environmental injustices. Environmental injustices increase susceptibility to negative health outcomes among residents in affected communities. The structural mechanisms distributing environmental injustices in the USA are understudied. Bridging the literatures on the social determinants of health and environmental justice highlights the importance of the environmental conditions for health inequalities and sheds light on the institutional mechanisms driving environmental health inequalities. Employing a critical quantitative methods approach, we use data from an innovative state racism index to argue that systematic racialized inequalities in areas from housing to employment increase outdoor airborne environmental health risks in neighborhoods. Results of a multilevel analysis in over 65,000 census tracts demonstrate that tracts in states with higher levels of state-level Black-white gaps report greater environmental health risk exposure to outdoor air pollution. The state racism index explains four-to-ten percent of county- and state-level variation in carcinogenic risk and noncarcinogenic respiratory system risks from outdoor air toxics. The findings suggest that the disproportional exposure across communities is tied to systematic inequalities in environmental regulation and other structural elements such as housing and incarceration. Structural racism is an environmental justice issue.

Evaluating the Impact of Incentives on Clinical Trial Participation: Protocol for a Mixed Methods, Community-Engaged Study.



Monetary incentives in research are frequently used to support participant recruitment and retention. However, there are scant empirical data regarding how researchers decide upon the type and amount of incentives offered. Likewise, there is little guidance to assist study investigators and institutional review boards (IRBs) in their decision-making on incentives. Monetary incentives, in addition to other factors such as the risk of harm or other intangible benefits, guide individuals' decisions to enroll in research studies. These factors emphasize the need for evidence-informed guidance for study investigators and IRBs when determining the type and amount of incentives to provide to research participants.


The specific aims of our research project are to (1) characterize key stakeholders' views on and assessments of incentives in biomedical HIV research; (2) reach consensus among stakeholders on the factors that are considered when choosing research incentives, including consensus on the relative importance of such factors; and (3) pilot-test the use of the guidance developed via aims 1 and 2 by presenting stakeholders with vignettes of hypothetical research studies for which they will choose corresponding incentive types.


Our 2-year study will involve monthly, active engagement with a stakeholder advisory board of people living with HIV, researchers, and IRB members. For aim 1, we will conduct a nationwide survey (N=300) among people living with HIV to understand their views regarding the incentives used in HIV research. For aim 2, we will collect qualitative data by conducting focus groups with people living with HIV (n=60) and key informant interviews with stakeholders involved in HIV research (people living with HIV, IRB members, and biomedical HIV researchers: n=36) to extend and deepen our understanding of how incentives in HIV research are perceived. These participants will also complete a conjoint analysis experiment to gain an understanding of the relative importance of key HIV research study attributes and the impact that these attributes have on study participation. The data from the nationwide survey (aim 1) will be triangulated with the qualitative and conjoint analysis data (aim 2) to create 25 vignettes that describe hypothetical HIV research studies. Finally, individuals from each stakeholder group will select the most appropriate incentive that they feel should be used in each of the 25 vignettes (aim 3).


The stakeholder advisory board began monthly meetings in March 2021. All study aims are expected to be completed by December 2022.


By studying the role of incentives in HIV clinical trial participation, we will establish a decision-making paradigm to guide the choice of incentives for HIV research and, eventually, other types of similar research and facilitate the ethical recruitment of clinical research participants.

Trial registration NCT04809636;

International registered report identifier (irrid)


Cover page of Military, Race, and Urbanization: Lessons of Environmental Injustice from Las Vegas, Nevada

Military, Race, and Urbanization: Lessons of Environmental Injustice from Las Vegas, Nevada


Environmental justice scholarship argues state power perpetrates environmental inequalities, but less is known about the U.S. Military’s impact on local urban environmental inequalities. To evaluate the role of the military in contributing to environmental health disparities, I draw on the case study of Las Vegas, Nevada, a southwestern city with active military sites. The analysis uses environmental health, demographic, and Geographic Information System (GIS) data from federal and county agencies. Findings from spatial error models support environmental inequality and treadmill of destruction hypotheses by demonstrating that census tracts in closer proximity to military areas have greater estimated cancer risk from air toxics. Census tracts with a higher percent of poor and Latinx residents, independent of their proximity to military areas, have an additional increase in exposure to air pollution. The case study of Las Vegas offers important lessons of environmental injustice on Latinx environmental health vulnerability and military sites in urban areas.

Cover page of Social, Human and Positive Psychological Capital in the Labour Market Re-integration of People Deported to the Dominican Republic

Social, Human and Positive Psychological Capital in the Labour Market Re-integration of People Deported to the Dominican Republic


More than six million people have been deported from the United States since 1996. The Dominican Republic is one of the top ten countries to which deportees are sent. Most scholarship on deportation focuses on the challenges deportees face post-deportation. There is also a long history of scholarship on how migrants draw from social, human and financial capital to integrate into host societies. This article thus asks what forms of capital are useful for deportees’ re-integration and focuses on the forms of capital deportees draw from to survive in the aftermath of deportation. An analysis of 60 in-depth interviews with Dominican deportees reveals how deportees’ combination of limited human capital, fractured social capital and positive psychological capital assists in their re-integration. Results also show that access to employment is not only an important step in social and economic integration, but that it also helps deportees to achieve emotional stability.

Cover page of “Trauma Makes You Grow Up Quicker”: The Financial & Emotional Burdens of Deportation & Incarceration

“Trauma Makes You Grow Up Quicker”: The Financial & Emotional Burdens of Deportation & Incarceration


Research on the impacts of incarceration and deportation describes the negative consequences for children and young people. But how these events impact adults and members of extended families has not been broadly considered. And no study has directly compared incarceration with deportation. The study described in this essay, based on interviews with 111 adult individuals with a family member deported (57) or incarcerated (54), reveals how these experiences have long-lasting emotional and financial impacts and considers the similarities and differences between incarceration and deportation. The deportation or incarceration of parents is devastating; yet the absence of other relatives such as sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, cousins, grandchildren, and other household members also translates into severe sentimental and economic hardships not only for the immediate but also for the extended family.

Cover page of The impact of school-entry mandates on social inequalities in human papillomavirus vaccination.

The impact of school-entry mandates on social inequalities in human papillomavirus vaccination.


Fundamental cause theory (FCT) is influential for explaining the enduring relationship between social position and health, yet few empirical studies test FCT's contention that policy supporting the equal distribution of interventions across populations can help reduce health inequalities. Following human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine approval, complex socioeconomic and racial-ethnic inequalities emerged in distinct stages of the diffusion of this health innovation. Virginia and the District of Columbia were the first U.S. jurisdictions to implement school-entry HPV vaccination mandates for sixth-grade girls, offering an opportunity to test whether inequalities in HPV vaccination are mitigated by policy that seeks to standardize the age of vaccine administration and remove barriers to knowledge about the vaccine. Using data from the 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 National Immunization Survey-Teen (N = 4579) and a triple-difference approach, this study tests whether vaccine mandates are associated with smaller socioeconomic and racial-ethnic inequalities in health provider recommendation and vaccine uptake. It finds mandates were associated with improvements in provider recommendation and vaccine uptake for some socioeconomic and racial-ethnic groups. However, mandates also likely led to a decline in HPV vaccine series completion overall. Implications of these findings for informing FCT and vaccination policy are discussed.