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Conspicuous Consumption and American Political Behavior

Description: The following premise is based on the ideas of social theorists who have contributed to understanding the importance of image in society. This proposal argues that political participation is susceptible to exploitation in the form of conspicuous consumption as defined by Thorstein Veblen. The analyses that follow will test the degree to which Americans who demonstrate more traditional forms of conspicuous consumption also tend to show more activity in political venues. While the correlation of these two variables is not sufficient to demonstrate cause and effect, it may be significant enough to attract more researchers to this question: are Americans using political involvement to positively influence the way that their social status is perceived by others?
Date: August 2005
Creator: Bouressa, Andrea Kelly

Perceptions of Postpartum Depression among Adolescent Mothers and the Social Construction of Related Stigma

Description: Six serial focus groups were used to explore the perceptions of postpartum depression among nine adolescent mothers. The discussions were tape recorded, transcribed and analyzed using symbolic interaction theory, specifically Goffman's concept of stigma. Participants identified major stigma themes in relation to postpartum depression, teenage pregnancy and motherhood, all of which were portrayed negatively in the media. Several key causes of adolescent postpartum depression were also found including self esteem relating to poor body image and social support. The findings indicate a much needed change in the way adolescent mothers are identified and treated for postpartum depression. Additionally, the importance of social support in preventing and treating adolescent postpartum depression is highlighted and programs addressing such concerns must be implemented.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Gosdin, Melissa M.