The Kinsey Institute is pleased to welcome two new members to our research team this fall. Both Senior Scientist Dr. Jennifer Barber and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Shari Blumenstock are also associated with the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) project.
Dr. Jennifer Barber joins the Kinsey Institute faculty as a Senior Scientist, with a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology. Barber’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of family sociology, demography, and social psychology, with a focus on young pregnancy, intimate relationships, reproductive control, and intimate partner violence.
In 2020, Barber won the American Sociological Association Family Section’s “Article of the Year” award for her article, “The Dynamics of Intimate Partner Violence and the Risk of Pregnancy during the Transition to Adulthood”, published in the American Sociological Review.
From 2008-2012, she directed the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) project , and she continues to conduct statistical and qualitative analyses on the data. Her current research focuses specifically on how violent and/or demanding intimate partners derail young women’s post-secondary education plans, how and why the dissolution of violent and non-violent intimate relationships during the transition to adulthood varies across sociodemographic groups, and how intimate relationships shape young women’s expectations and ability to control heterosexual intercourse and contraceptive use.
Dr .Shari Blumenstock joins the Kinsey Institute team as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Shari left the field of mechanical engineering to pursue a career studying romantic and sexual relationships, receiving her PhD in 2019 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Human Development and Family Studies, where she also worked on the RDSL project.
Shari’s research focuses on the sexual aspects of couple relationships, with an emphasis on sexual desire, pleasure, and partner and gender influences. She also studies the relationship contexts of substance use and mental health in daily life. Methodologically, Shari specializes in dyadic and intensive longitudinal data collection, multilevel modeling, and experimental survey designs.
The Relationship Dynamics and Social Life Project, which was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was designed to investigate the processes leading to undesired pregnancy during the transition to adulthood.
RDSL a longitudinal study, collecting data from 2008-2012 in weekly surveys from 1,000 18- and 19-year-old women for 2.5 years, along with 75+ semi-structured interviews.
The RDSL data document detailed changes in young women’s behaviors across many domains of social life that occur rapidly in early adulthood, including intimate relationships, sexual behavior, and contraceptive use. The data include both prospective (before pregnancy) and retrospective (after pregnancy) measures of pregnancy desires and intentions, as well as young women’s perceptions of their partners’ desires for pregnancy, collected weekly throughout the study period. The data also include many measures of attitudes related to pregnancy.
Ongoing work with the RDSL dataset integrates statistical and qualitative analyses, and focuses on the types of attitudes, intimate relationships, and contraceptive practices that lead to young pregnancy and to women’s control over reproductive processes.
You can find out more on the project website at https://rdsl.kinsey.iu.edu/. Researchers interested in data access can find out more at https://rdsl.kinsey.iu.edu/about/data-access/index.html.