I am a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University, where I have also obtained an MS in Applied Statistics. My research interests include medical sociology and social network analysis, with an emphasis on culture, mental health, network dynamics, and suicide. I am a 2016-2017 Social Networks and Health Fellow at the Duke Network Analysis Center. I also serve as the graduate student representative for the American Sociological Association's Section on Mental Health Council.

Broadly, my research examines social networks and health inequalities. I address not only how networks affect health and treatment experiences, but also how health problems provoke cascading change within networks. My dissertation, Caregivers and Critics: Examining Patterns of Social Network Engagement during the Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, investigates the link between older adults’ social networks and their clinical cognitive functioning. Among the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease, over half live in the community among caregivers whose unpaid assistance constitutes their primary form of care. Informal caregiving takes many forms, including emotional confiding, treatment advice, and medication management. In a series of projects I examine the network structure of caregiving in adulthood, including how caregiver networks differ across lines of social stratification, and how they affect cognitive change over time. This research contributes to community-based care initiatives through identifying how and when caregivers are effective intervention partners for healthcare providers.  

A second line of research examines how latent professional networks among healthcare providers influence patients' treatment experiences. This research leverages network analysis and Big Data to illustrate how health inequalities experienced by disadvantaged populations emerge from the hidden architecture of the treatment system itself. My work has been published or is forthcoming in Journal of Health and Social BehaviorAdvances in Medical Sociology, Network Science, and public health journals. 

Refereed Publications

McConnell, William R. In press. “Cultural Guides, Cultural Critics: Distrust of Doctors and Social Support during Mental Health Treatment.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

McConnell, William R., and Brea Perry. 2016. “The Revolving Door: Patient Needs and Network Turnover during Mental Health Treatment”, in Brea L. Perry (ed.), 50 Years after Deinstitutionalization: Mental Illness in Contemporary Communities (Advances in Medical Sociology, 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 119-145.


Maupome, Gerardo, William R. McConnell, and Brea Perry. 2016. “Dental Problems and Familismo: Social Network Discussion of Oral Health Issues among Adults of Mexican Origin Living in the United States.Community Dental Health, 33, 303-308.


Maupome, Gerardo, William R. McConnell, Brea Perry, R. Mariño, and Eric R. Wright. 2016. “Psychological and Behavioral Acculturation in a Social Network of Mexican-Americans in the United States, and their Use of Dental Services.Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 44, 540-548.


An, Weihua, and William R. McConnell. 2015. “The Origins of Asymmetric Ties in Friendship Networks: From Status Differential to Self-perceived Centrality.” Network Science, 3(2), 269-92.

Resh, William, Saba Siddiki, and William R. McConnell. 2014. “Does the Network Centrality of Government Actors Matter? Examining the Role of Government Organizations in Aquaculture Partnerships.” Review of Policy Research, 31(6), 584-609.