DemSem: Byungkyu (BK) Lee (New York University), “Homogeneity and Health: Sameness and Othering Processes in Suicide and COVID-19 Infection”

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8417 Sewell Social Sciences Building 1180 Observatory Drive Madison, WI 53706
@ 12:15 pm - 1:30 pm
DemSem full semester schedule

From Dr. Lee:

“Individuals prefer to be connected to those who are similar to themselves, generating a homogenous network environment. How does homogeneity shape our own health and our perception of the health status of others? In the first part of the talk, I use a novel harmonized data set on completed suicide in the U.S. from 2005 to 2017 to demonstrate that the unemployment effect on suicide was mitigated in a community where many others were also unemployed. In the second part of the talk, I use a nationwide daily ego-centric network survey data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic to show how homogeneity skews perceptions of the health status of others.  Specifically, I find that Americans perceived their own racial and partisan group members to be less susceptible to COVID-19 infection than other groups. Together, these results suggest that macro-level sameness effects can shape individual-level risk factors for suicide, and an individual-level perception may affect macro-level transmission dynamics through the othering process.”