Justin T. Denney

Areas of Interest: 
Health disparities and health lifestyles, mortality, and contextual effects


Justin Denney (Ph.D., 2010, University of Colorado) is an Assistant 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 identifying individual and structural conditions that jointly contribute to health and mortality inequalities. Justin’s work and collaborations within and across disciplines have led to published articles in leading scholarly journals, including the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Marriage and Family, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Science & Medicine, and Demography. With a focus on various health and mortality outcomes, 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 is funded by the Health Disparities Scholar Program at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, the Houston Endowment, the Foundation for Child Development, and the Faculty Initiatives Program at Rice.  

Recent Publications    

Sharp, Gregory, Justin T. Denney, and Rachel Tolbert Kimbro. “Multiple Contexts of Exposure: Assessing How Activity Spaces Modify Neighborhood Effects on Self-Rated Health.” Forthcoming in Social Science & Medicine.

Kimbro, Rachel Tolbert, and Justin T. Denney. 2015. “Food Insecurity and Child Wellbeing After the Great Recession.” Forthcoming in Health Affairs.

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.  

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
Assistant Professor Ph.D. University of Colorado

Sewall Hall 376
713 348-5749