Stephen A. Matthews

Introduction

Matthews is associate professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Demography (courtesy Geography) and the Director of the Demography Program (a graduate dual degree program – see www.pop.psu.edu/demography). Matthews is trained in quantitative geography (Bristol, UK) and planning (University of Cardiff, Wales) and prior to his arrival at Penn  State in 1994, was an assistant professor of Geography at UCLA.


The central tenets of his teaching and research scholarship are population health and health inequality in community contexts.  More specifically, he is interested in the distribution of resources, risks, and opportunities (health services, food, anchor institutions, social networks) and how accessibility and utilization of these resources, risks, and opportunities impact health and wellbeing (e.g., health status, diet and obesity-related outcomes, welfare status).  A focus on race/ethnicity and income inequalities cross-cut all of his major research projects.  An important part of his work is an interest in conceptual and methodological issues associated with how neighborhoods are defined and their attributes are measured, and the relevance of these definitions and measures to individual behavior and health outcomes. Matthews has a long standing interest in spatial demography and the use of GIS in applied and basic research.


Matthews has published in several fields—geography, epidemiology, public health, demography and sociology—most recently on topics including residential segregation, crime, alcohol outlets, physical activity, religious landscapes, cancer screening, and health care distrust as well as on spatial analysis, the use of geospatial data on studies of social, built, and physical environments, and conceptual issues regarding both the definition and measurement of neighborhoods and neighborhood exposure.


His teaching interests are in Health, Disease & Society/Medical Sociology, Urban Sociology, Spatial Demography and GIS/Spatial Analysis.


Over the next few years his goals are to publish as widely as possible in sociology, health and social science journals, and remain grant active seeking new sources of funding for his own research. View his full CV with current grants at right.

Research Interests

  • demography
  • health and well-being
  • multi-method research
  • geographic information systems

Education

  • Ph.D., University of Wales, College of Cardiff

Publications

Recent publications (2010 onwards) have appeared in social science and health journals such as: Addictive Behaviors, American Behavioral Scientist, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Cancer Causes and Control, Demographic Research, Environment and Planning A, Geographical Analysis, GeoJournal, Health and Place, Health Services Research, International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Aging and Health, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Journal of Rural Health, Journal of Urban Health, Public Health, Spatial Demography and Social Science and Medicine.

Two books were published in 2011

An edited book on “Recapturing Space: Middle-range Theory in Spatial Demography” is under contract with Springer.

 

Service

Matthews serves as an associate editor of Demographic Research and on the editorial boards of four other journals: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Demography, GeoJournal , and Spatial Demography.

 

He has recent served as guest editor for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (May 2012) on GIS and Childhood Obesity, and as guest editor of a special collection on ‘Spatial Demography’ for Demographic Research.

 

He is a regular reviewer for federal agencies including serving as a regular panel member on the Social Sciences and Population Studies (SSPS-A) study section for NIH.