Much of my research examines the relationship between social networks and chronic illness management, particularly in the contexts of aging, disability, and mental health. My dissertation focused on the link between social interaction and neurocognitive disorders. 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. In a series of projects, I study the caregiver support networks of new patients coping with the onset of Alzheimer's disease. I examine how social inequalities affect the availability of caregiver support, how support evolves during the course of care, and whether or not support moderates loss of cognitive function. This research contributes to community-based care initiatives through identifying how, when, and why caregivers are effective intervention partners for medical professionals. I presented a portion of my work in this area at the 2018 Duke Social Networks and Health Workshop - the video of that presentation is available on YouTube.
Other lines of my research focus on the medical profession and health care delivery. In particular, I have published work on inter-professional relationships within medicine including the evolving role of Advanced Practice Nurses in health care. Other studies have examined how contextual factors influence physicians' behaviors, including their prescription of controlled substances like opioids and psychotropics.
Brea Perry et al. 2021. “Social Networks and Cognitive Function: An Evaluation of Social Bridging and Bonding Mechanisms.” The Gerontologist.
Lisa Keister et al. 2021. “Provider Bias in prescribing opioid analgesics: a study of electronic medical Records at a Hospital Emergency Department.” BMC Public Health, 21(1), 1-9.
Scott Feyereisen, Neeraj Puro, Clay Thomas, & Will R. McConnell. 2020. "A New Kind of Gatekeeper: The Increasing Prevalence of Advanced Practice Nurses as Case Managers in US Hospitals." Health.
Scott Feyereisen, Neeraj Puro, & Will R. McConnell. 2020. "Addressing Provider Shortages in Rural America: Examining the Relationship between State Opt-Out Policy Adoption and Hospital Anesthesia Provision.” Journal of Rural Health.
Brea Perry, et al. 2019. “Within-Subject Change in Psychotropic Prescribing Patterns Among Youth in Foster Care Associated With a Peer-to-Peer Physician Consultation Program.” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 58(12):1218-1222.e1.
Emma D. Cohen & Will R. McConnell. 2019. "Fear of Fraudulence: Graduate School Program Environments and the Impostor Phenomenon." The Sociological Quarterly, 60(3), 1-22.
McConnell, William R. 2017. “Cultural Guides, Cultural Critics: Distrust of Doctors and Social Support during Mental Health Treatment.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 54(4), 503-519.
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.