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Sharon Christ, PhD

Research Interests

Structural equation modeling, longitudinal modeling, mixed effects (multilevel) modeling, complex sample data estimation, adolescent development, adolescent work life, child maltreatment


I came to Purdue in the fall of 2010. I received my PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2008. My primary area of study was quantitative methods and statistics. Prior to the PhD, I earned an MS from the department of Statistics at UNC. As part of my graduate career, I also worked full time for four years as a Research Statistician at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science (http://www.irss.unc.edu/odum/jsp/home.jsp). After the PhD, I was a postdoctoral fellow for two years at the Center for Developmental Science (http://www.cds.unc.edu/) at UNC where I received training in the theories and methods of human development.

My primary research is in quantitative methodologies in the social and behavioral sciences. My main focus areas are structural equation modeling (SEM) with latent variables, multilevel (hierarchical, random effects, mixed effects) models, longitudinal modeling, and analysis of complex sample data. Missing data and selection problems are specific topics that I deal with in my research as well. My most recent work has dealt with the application of sampling corrections, for example, sample weights, in mixed effects and longitudinal models and reliability estimation using longitudinal SEMs. A new area of modeling that I am beginning to use in applied work is what I call generalized linear structural equation modeling. This is essentially the combination of generalized linear modeling, which is a framework for modeling outcomes with all types of distributions, and classical structural equation modeling, which formerly only handled quasi-continuous or categorical outcomes.

Broadly my substantive interest is in adolescent development. I am particularly interested in adolescent work life and how that affects development as well as (health, economic, and social) trajectories in adulthood and throughout the life course. I am currently involved in research on adolescent maltreatment (abuse and neglect) and how that affects developmental trajectories in several internalizing and externalizing domains. Most of my work involves analysis of existing, large, nationally representative data sets.

Selected Publications

  • French, D. C., Christ, S., Lu, T., & Purwono, U. (in press). Trajectories of Indonesian adolescents’ religiosity, problem behavior, and friends’ religiosity: Covariation and sequences. Child Development.
  • Iritani, B. J., Waller, M. W., Halpern, C. T., Moracco, K. E., Christ, S. L., & Flewelling, R. L. (in press). Alcohol outlet density, alcohol use, and young women’s perpetration toward male intimate partners. Journal of Family Violence.
  • Lam, B. L., Christ, S. L., Zheng, D. D., West, S. K., Munoz, B., Swenor, S., & Lee, D. J. (2013). Longitudinal relationships among visual acuity and tasks of everyday life: The Salisbury Eye Evaluation Study. Investigative Ophthalmology Visual Science, 54(1), 193-200. doi:10.1167/iovs.12-10542
  • French, D. C., Eisenberg, N., Sallquist, J., Purwono, U., Lu, T., & Christ, S. (2013). Parent adolescent relationships, Islam, and the social adjustment of Indonesian adolescents. Journal of Family Psychology, 27(3), 421-30. doi:10.1037/a0032858
  • Waller, M. W., Iritani, B. J., Christ, S. L., Halpern, C. T., Moracco, K. E., & Flewelling, R. L. (2013). Perpetration of intimate partner violence by young adult males: The association with alcohol outlet density and drinking behavior. Journal of Health and Place, 21, 10-19. PMCID: PMC3622734 doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.01.002
  • Wang, F., Christ, S. L., Mills-Koonces, R., Garret-Peters, P., & Cox, M. (2013). Association between maternal sensitivity and externalizing behavior from preschool to preadolescence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 34(2), 89-100. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2012.11.003
  • Caban-Martinez, A. J., Lee, D. J., Goodman, E., Davila, E. P., Fleming, L. E., LeBlanc, W. G., Arheart, K. L., McCollister, K. E., Christ, S. L., Zimmerman, F. J., Muntaner, C., & Hollenbeck, J. A. (2012). Health indicators among unemployed and employed young adults. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 53(2), 196-203.
  • Christ, S. L., Fleming, L. E., Lee, D. J., Muntaner, C., Muening, P., & Caban-Martinez, A. J. (2012). The effects of a psychosocial dimension of socio-economic position on survival: Occupational prestige and mortality among U.S. working adults. Sociology of Health and Illness, 34(7), 1103-1117.
  • Muntaner, C., Ng, E., Vanroelen, C., Christ, S., & Eaton, W. W. (2012) Social stratification, social closure, and social class as determinants of mental health disparities. In C. S. Aneshensel, J. C. Phelan, & A. Bierman (Eds.), Handbook of the sociology of mental health. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Waller, M. W., Iritani, B. J., Christ, S. L., Clark, H. K., Moracco, K. E., Halpern, C. T., & Flewelling, R.L. (2012). Relationships among alcohol outlet density, alcohol use, and intimate partner violence victimization among young women in the United States. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27(10), 2062-2086.
  • Waller, M. W., Iritani, B. J., Christ, S. L., Halpern, C. T., Moracco, K. E., & Flewelling, R. (2012). Violence victimization of young men in heterosexual relationships: Does alcohol outlet density influence outcomes? Violence and Victims, 27(4), 527-547(21).
  • Casanueva, C., Cross, T., Ringeisen, H., & Christ, S.  (2011). Prevalence, trajectories, and risk factors for depression recurrence among caregivers of young children involved in child maltreatment investigations. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 19(2), 98-116. doi:10.1177/1063426609354106
  • Sterba, S. K, Christ, S., Prinstein, M. J., & Nock, M. K. (2011). Beyond treating complex sampling designs as simple random samples: Data analysis and reporting. In A. T. Panter & S. K. Sterba (Eds.), Handbook of ethics in quantitative methodology (267-291). Taylor & Francis.
  • Bollen, K. A., Bauer, D. J., Christ, S. L., & Edwards, M. C.  (2010). Overview of structural equation models and recent extensions. In S. Kolenikov, D. Steinley, & L. Thombs (Eds.), Statistics in the social sciences: Current methodological developments (pp. 37-79). New York: Wiley.
  • Davila, E. P., Christ, S. L., Caban-Martinez, A., Lee, D. J., Arheart, K. A., LeBlanc, W. G., McCollister, K. E., Clarke, T., Zimmerman, F. J., Goodman, E., Muntaner, C., & Fleming, L. E. (2010). Young adults, mortality, and employment. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52(5):501-504.
  • Barth, R. P., Guo, S., Caplick, E., Christ, S. L., & Green, R. L. (2009). Explaining reunification and reentry three-years after placement in out of home care. In M. B. Webb & K. Dowd (Eds.), Child welfare and child well-being. Oxford University Press.
  • Biemer, P. P., Christ, S. L., & Wiesen, C. A. (2009). A general approach for estimating scale-score reliability for panel data. Psychological Methods, 14, 400-412.
  • Izzo, C. V., Smith, E. G., Biemer, P., & Christ, S. L. (2009). Latent classification of physical abuse as a predictor of adolescent functioning. In M. B. Webb & K. Dowd (Eds.), Child welfare and child well-being. Oxford University Press.
  • Whitsel, E. A., Quibrera, P. M., Christ, S. L., Liao, D., Anderson, G. L., Prineas, R. J., & Heiss, G. (2009). Heart rate variability, ambient particulate matter air pollution and glucose homeostasis: The environmental epidemiology of arrhythmogenesis in the women’s health initiative. American Journal of Epidemiology, 169, 693-703.
  • Barth, R. P., Lloyd, E. C., Christ, S., Chapman, M., & Dickinson, N. S. (2008). Child welfare worker characteristics and job satisfaction: A national study. Social Work, 53, 199-209.
  • Biemer, P. P., & Christ, S. L. (2008). Constructing the survey weights. In P. S. Levy & S. Lemeshow, (Eds.) Sampling of populations: Methods and applications. New York: Wiley.
  • Biemer, P. P., & Christ, S. L. (2008).  Weighting survey data. In J. Hox, E. de Leeuw, & D. A. Dillman, (Eds.) The international handbook of survey methodology. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Chapman, M. V., & Christ, S. L. (2008). Attitudes toward out-of-home care over 18 Months: Changing perceptions of youths in foster care. Social Work Research, 32, 135-145.
  • Christ, S. L., Lee, D. J., Lam, B. L., Zheng, D. D., & Arheart, K. L. (2008). Assessment of the effect of visual impairment on mortality through multiple pathways. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 49, 3318-3323.
  • Lam, B. L., Christ, S. L., Zheng, D. D., Lee, D. J., & Arheart, K.L. (2008). Reported visual impairment and risk of suicide: The 1986-1996 national health interview survey. Archives of Ophthalmology, 126, 975-980.
  • Christ, S. L., Lee, D. J., Fleming, L. E., LeBlanc, W. G., Arheart, K., Chung-Bridges, K., Caban, A. J., & McCollister, K. E. (2007).  Employment and occupation effects on depressive symptoms in older Americans: Does working past age 65 protect against depression? Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 62, 399-403.
  • McCrae, J. S., Chapman, M. V., & Christ, S. L. (2006). Profile of children investigated for sexual abuse: Association with psychopathology symptoms and services. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76, 468-481.
  • Bollen, K. A., Christ, S. L., & Hipp, J. R. (2003). Growth curve models. In M. Lewis-Beck, A. Bryan, & T. F. Liao, (Eds.) Encyclopedia of social science research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008-2010, Center for Developmental Science, University of North Carolina
  • PhD, 2008, Sociology, University of North Carolina
  • MS, 2004, Statistics, University of North Carolina
  • MA, 2002, Sociology, University of North Carolina
  • BA, 1994, magna cum laude , Sociology, University of Minnesota

Courses Recently Taught

  • HDFS 685 / PSY 646: Statistical Approaches to Social Psychological Data
  • HDFS 685: Structural Equation Modeling
  • STAT 522: Sampling and Survey Techniques

External Grants

  • Co-Investigator, 2011 – 2013, “Ocular and Health Trajectories: the SEE Study.” National Eye Institute, (R21 EY021187-01), Lee (PI). Total: $437,673.
  • Co-Investigator, 2010 – 2012, “Surveillance of Mortality and Morbidity in US Workers (Health Disparities, Morbidity and Mortality in Youth Worker).” National Institute of Occupational Safety Health, (2R01 OH003915). Lora Fleming / David Lee (PIs). Total: $1,377,000.
  • Primary Investigator, 2009 – 2010, F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, “Evaluating Maltreatment Effects on Adolescent Well-being Using Advanced Modeling.” National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, (F32 HD059318-02). Total $101,812 (terminated early)

Professional Service and Experience

Professional Affiliations

American Sociological Association

  • Children & Youth Section
  • Methodology Section
  • American Statistical Association
  • Survey Research Methods
  • Statistical Education
  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • American Educational Research Association

Ad Hoc Reviewer

  • American Journal of Public Health
  • American Journal of Epidemiology
  • Child Development Perspectives
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Journal of Aging and Health
  • Journal of Family Issues
  • Social Science Research
  • Psychological Methods

Grant Review Experience

Administration for Children & Families, HHS

Academic Employment (full-time)

Research Statistician, 2004-2008, Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, UNC

Statistical Consulting

  • 1R21 EY019096 Lee (PI) 2009-2011
    National Eye Institute
    Health and Economic Aspects of Ocular Disease in the US
    Role: Consultant
  • 2R01 OH003915 Fleming (PI) 2008-2010
    National Institute Occupational Safety Health
    Surveillance of Mortality and Morbidity in US Workers
    (Health Disparities, Morbidity and Mortality in Youth Worker)
  • 1R03 EY016481 Lee (PI)  2006-2009
    National Eye Institute
    Epidemiology of Visual Impairment: the 1986-2002 NHIS
  • 1R03 DA020748-01A1 Wells (PI) 2006 - 2008
    National Institute on Drug Abuse
    How child welfare inter-agency cooperation may reduce youth HIV risk behaviors
  • 1R01 OH003915 Fleming (PI) 2005-2007
    National Institute Occupational Safety Health
    Surveillance of Mortality and Morbidity in US Workers