Justin T. Denney

Areas of Interest: 
Health and Mortality Disparities, Contextual Effects


Justin Denney (Ph.D., 2010, University of Colorado) is an Associate Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Kinder Institute Urban Health Program at Rice University. As a health researcher with sociological and demographic training, Justin is principally interested in understanding how families and the places that individuals spend time in shape health and mortality disparities. His work has appeared in leading scholarly journals, including the Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Science & Medicine, and Demography. Justin’s current projects examine how characteristics of the places children and adults live, work, and play impact their individual prospects; how family formations and resources matter for individual well-being; and how intimate relationships, socioeconomic status, gender, and race / ethnicity, contribute to sexual minority health disparities. His work has been supported by the Health Disparities Scholar Program at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, the Foundation for Child Development, the Houston Endowment, and the Faculty Initiatives Fund at Rice. 

Recent Publications   

 Denney, Justin T., Rachel Tolbert Kimbro and Gregory Sharp. “Neighborhoods and Food Insecurity in Households with Young Children: A Disadvantage Paradox?” Forthcoming at Social Problems.

 Denney, Justin T., Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, Katherine Heck, and Catherine Cubbin. "Social Cohesion and Food Insecurity: Insights from the Geographic Research on Wellbeing (GROW) Study." Maternal and Child Health Journal forthcoming DOI 10.1007/s10995-016-2119-5 
Sharp, Gregory, Justin T. Denney, and Rachel Tolbert Kimbro. 2015. “Multiple Contexts of Exposure: Activity Spaces, Residential Neighborhoods, and Self-Rated Health.” Social Science & Medicine 146:204-213. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.040

Kimbro, Rachel Tolbert, and Justin T. Denney. 2015. “Transitions Into Food Insecurity Associated With Behavioral Problems And Worse Overall Health Among Children.” Health Affairs 34(11):1949-1955. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0626

Krueger, Patrick M., Kathryn Dovel, and Justin T. Denney. 2015. “The Level of Democratic Development of States and Health across 67 Countries: A Multilevel Analysis.” Social Science & Medicine 143:137-144. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.08.047

Gorman, Bridget K., Justin T. Denney, Hilary Dowdy, and Rose Medeiros. 2015. “A New Piece of the Puzzle: Sexual Orientation, Gender, and Self-Rated Health.” Demography 52:1357-1382. DOI 10.1007/s13524-015-0406-1

Denney, Justin T., Tim Wadsworth, Richard G. Rogers, and Fred C. Pampel. 2015. “Suicide in the City: Do Characteristics of Place Really Influence Risk?” Social Science Quarterly 96(2):313-329. DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.12165

Denney, Justin T. 2014. “Families, Resources, and Suicide: Combined Effects on Mortality.” Journal of Marriage and Family 76:218-231. DOI:10.1111/jomf.12078

Denney, Justin T. and Monica He. 2014. “The Social Side of Accidental Death.” Social Science Research 43:92-107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2013.09.004

Kimbro, Rachel Tolbert and Justin T. Denney. 2013. “Neighborhood Context and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Young Children’s Obesity: Structural Barriers to Interventions.” Social Science & Medicine 95:97-105. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.032

Denney, Justin T., Bridget K. Gorman, and Cristina B. Barrera. 2013. “Families, Resources, and Adult Health: Where Do Sexual Minorities Fit?” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 54:46-63. doi: 10.1177/0022146512469629
*2013 IPUMS Research Award, Minnesota Population Center

Denney, Justin T., Robert McNown, Richard G. Rogers, and Steven Doubilet. 2013. “Stagnating Life Expectancies and Future Prospects in an Age of Uncertainty.” Social Science Quarterly 94(2):445-461. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2012.00930.x

Pampel, Fred C., Justin T. Denney, and Patrick M. Krueger. 2012. “Obesity, SES, and Economic Development: A Test of the Reversal Hypothesis.” Social Science & Medicine 74(7):1073-1081.

Kimbro, Rachel Tolbert, Justin T. Denney, and Sarita Panchang. 2012. “Individual, Family, and Neighborhood Characteristics and Children’s Food Insecurity.” Journal of Applied Research on Children 3(1):Article 8.




Justin T. Denney
Associate Professor Ph.D. University of Colorado

Sewall Hall 376
713 348-5749