MacArthur SES & Health Network

David Williams

David Williams

Norman Professor of Public Health
Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology

Address: Department of Society, Human Development and Health
Harvard University
677 Huntington Avenue, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617-432-6807
Fax: 617-432-3755

B. Th., Caribbean Union College (with honors), 1976
M. Div., Andrews University (cum laude), 1979
M.P.H., Health Education, Loma Linda University, 1981
M.A., Sociology, University of Michigan, 1984
Ph.D., Sociology, University of Michigan, 1986

Research Interests

David William's main research interests are in the areas of the socioeconomic status, the experience of discrimination or racism, and resulting health effects. He has examined the extent to which psychosocial factors, ranging from stress, racism, social support, and religious involvement, to psychological resources and health behaviors, are linked to health and social status, and can explain socioeconomic and racial variations in health. He has incorporated Network psychosocial measures such as MacStatus and reactive responding, and biological measures such as the measurement of cortisol in two of his research projects (The National Phone Survey and the Ypsilanti Study) since joining the Network. He is also involved in the collaborative research the Network has undertaken with the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, and is a member of the Emerging Science Committee of CARDIA, serving as a link between the CARDIA study and the MacArthur Network investigators. In addition he serves on the Scientific Directions Committee of the Jackson Heart Study, a large NHLBI-funded prospective study, and the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, another NHLBI study.

Selected Publications

Williams, D. R. & Collins, C. (1995). U.S. Socioeconomic and racial differences in health: Patterns and explanations. Annual Review of Sociology, 21: 349-386.

Williams, D. R. (1996). Racism and health: A research agenda. Ethnicity and Disease, 6 (1,2) 1-6.

Williams, D. R. (1996). Race/Ethnicity and socioeconomic status: Measurement and methodological issues. International Journal of Health Services, 26(3): 483-505. 

Williams, D. R., Yu, Y., Jackson, J. S. & Anderson, N. B. (1997). Racial differences in physical and mental health: Socioeconomic status, stress and discrimination. American Journal of Health Psychology, 2(3):335-351.

Williams, D. R. (1998). African-American health: The role of the social environment. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 75(2), 300-321.

Collins, C. & Williams, D. R. (1999). Segregation and mortality: The deadly effects of racism?" Sociological Forum, 14(3), 493-521.

Williams, D.R. (1999). Race, SES, and health: The added effects of racism and discrimination.  In Adler, N.E., Marmot, M., McEwen, B.S. & Stewart, J. (Eds.) Socioeconomic Status and Health in Industrial Nations: Social, Psychological and Biological Pathways. Ann NY Acad Sci. Vol #:896.

Williams, D. R., & Harris-Reid, M. (1999). Race and mental health: Emerging patterns and promising approaches. In: A. Horwitz, and T.L. Scheid (Eds.) A Handbook for the Study of Mental Health. New York: Cambridge University Press; 295-314.

Williams, D. R., Spencer, M. S., & Jackson, J. S. (1999). Race, stress and physical health: The role of group identity. In R. J. Contrada & R. D. Ashmore (Eds.) Self and Identity: Fundamental Issues . New York: Oxford University Press; 71-100.

Williams, D. R. (2001). Racial variations in adult health status: Patterns, paradoxes and prospects. In N. Smelser, W. J. Wilson & F. Mitchell (Eds.), America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences, National Research Council Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. National Academy of Sciences Press, 371-410.

Yu, Y. & Williams, D. R. (1999). Socioeconomic status and mental health. In J. Phelan & C. Aneshensel (Eds.), Handbook of the Sociology of Mental Health. Plenum; 151-166.

Williams, D.R. & Jackson, J.S. (2000). Race/Ethnicity and the 2000 census: Recommendations for African American and other Black populations in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 90(11), 1728-1730.

Williams, Dr.R. & Rucker, T.D. (2000). Understanding and addressing racial disparities in health care. Health Care Financing Review, 21(4), 75-90.

Williams, D.R. & Williams-Morris, R. (2000). Racism and mental health: the African American experience. Ethnicity & Health, 5(3/4), 243-268.

House, J.S. & Williams, D.R. (2000). Understanding and reducing socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in health. In B.D. Smedly & S.L. Syme (Eds.) Promoting Health: Intervention Strategies from Social and Behavioral Research. Washington, D.C. : National Academy of Sciences Press, 81-124.

Williams, D. R. (2001). Racial variations in adult health status: Patterns, paradoxes and prospects. In N. Smelser, W. J. Wilson & F. Mitchell (Eds.)America Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences, National Research Council Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, D. C.:National Academy of Sciences Press, 371-410.

Williams, D. R. (2001). Race and health: Trends and policy implications. In J. A. Auerbach & B. K. Krimgold (Eds.) Income, socioeconomic status, and health: Exploring the relationships. Washington, D. C., National Policy Association.

Williams, D. R. & Collins, C. (2001). Racial residential segregation: A fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Public Health Reports, 116, 404-416.

Williams, D. R. & Neighbors, H. (2001). Racism, discrimination and hypertension: Evidence and needed research. Ethnicity & Disease, 11, 800-816.

Williams, D. R. & Wilson, C. (2001). Race, ethnicity, and aging. In R. H. Binstock & L. K. George (Eds.) Handbook of Aging and Social Sciences, Fifth Edition. Academic Press, 160-178.

Williams, D.R. (2002). Racial/ethnic variations in women's health: The social embededness of health. American Journal of Public Health, 92(4), 588-597.

Duncan, G.J., Daly, M.C., McDonough, P. & Williams, D.R. (2002). Optimal indicators of socioeconomic status for health research. American Journal of Public Health, 92(7), 1151-1157.

Williams, D. R. (2003). The health of men: Structured inequalities and opportunities. American Journal of Public Health, 93(5), 724-731.

Williams, D. R., Neighbors, H. W., & Jackson, J. S. (2003). Racial/ethnic discrimination and health: Findings from community studies. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 200-208.

Internet Links

Useful links for David Williams:

Institute for Social Research

Harvard School of Public Health


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