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Patricia Thomas

Photo of Patricia Thomas

Promoted to Associate Professor
Department of Sociology

Patricia Thomas completed a Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology at Duke University with a graduate certificate in women’s studies and has a B.A. in sociology and American studies from California State University, Fullerton. In addition to serving as a Faculty Associate with the Center on Aging and the Life Course, she teaches courses on social research methods, health and social behavior, and sociological theory.

Dr. Thomas has been a Purdue faculty member since 2013, having previously served as a postdoctoral fellow with the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. She won the Daryl P. Evans Outstanding Teaching Award from the Department of Sociology in 2017 and the Burkhart Award for Excellence in Research About Families in 2018.

Her research focuses on the impact of social relationships and societal position (e.g., race, gender, socioeconomic status) on health outcomes across the life course. She has examined support and strain in social relationships and their impact on health across different stages of the life course, social engagement among older adults, giving and receiving social support among older adults, and the impact of socioeconomic status on racial variations in mortality. She is an editorial board member at the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and has published in journals that include the American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, and Social Science & Medicine.