Peter Bearman

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Peter Shawn Bearman (born 1956)[1] is an American sociologist. He is Jonathan Cole Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University and the founding director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. He is widely cited[2] in the fields of adolescent health, research design, structural analysis and social networks. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[1] and a member of the National Academy of Sciences as of 2014.[3]


He received his B.A. in sociology from Brown University in 1978, magna cum laude, and his M.A. (1982) and Ph.D. (1985) in sociology from Harvard University.[4]

After receiving his PhD, he was a lecturer at Harvard, followed by a move to the sociology department at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he moved from assistant professor to full professor by 1996, before moving to Columbia University in 1997. He was chair of the department of sociology from 2001-2005 and chair of the department of statistics from 2007-2008. Between 2002 and 2003, he was then a visiting professor at the University of Genoa, Italy, the University of Munich.

In addition to being the founding director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, he is currently the director of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences and director of INCITE, Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics both at Columbia University. He was also the co-founding director Global Health Research Center in Central Asia.

He is General Editor of the journal Kinship, Networks, and History and is or has been on the editorial board of the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, and Sociological Theory.

Major contributions[edit]

Bearman, along with J. Richard Udry, designed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), currently the only nationally-representative study of adolescent sexuality in the United States, which has yielded over a thousand published research articles.

From these data, Bearman has published seminal articles on the sexual network, virginity pledges, same sex attraction, and adolescent suicidality. He is widely credited with bringing social network analysis methods to the demographic and population research community. He also introduced social network approaches to social sequence analysis through the concept of narrative networks.[5][6] Bearman currently directs the Robert Wood Johnson Program in population health at Columbia University. He has received major grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation, the American Legacy Foundation, the Office of Population Affairs National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, and the Rockefeller Foundation, totaling over $2,000,000 .

With co-authors Katherine Stovel, and James Moody, Bearman received the Roger V. Gould Prize in 2004 for his article “Chains of Affection: The Structure of Adolescent Romantic and Sexual Networks.” The editorial board of the American Journal of Sociology, selects one article published in the journal for a two-year priod. They award the prize to an article that is "empirically rigorous, theoretically grounded, and lucidly written."[7]

In 2007 Bearman was awarded the National Institute of Health (NIH) Director's Pioneer Award to investigated the social determinants of the autism epidemic.

Bearman is the author of Doormen (University of Chicago Press, 2005), an ethnographic study of doormen in New York City. Notable sociologist Arthur Stinchcombe reviews the book by stating that "Peter Bearman is more systematic and deeper in his connecting a defined body of fieldwork data and the ideas used to interpret it than Erving Goffman, his only real competitor for depth of theory about social interaction." Doormen also received a positive review by Judith Martin of the New York Times,[8] and by fellow sociologist Kieren Healy at Crooked Timber[9]



  • Handbook of Analytical Sociology Oxford University Press, 2009 Peter Hedstrom and Peter Bearman (eds).
  • Doormen. University of Chicago Press, 2005 ISBN
    • Review by Ezra Zuckerman Administrative Science Quarterly.: March 2008. Vol.53; pg. 194, 3 pgs
    • Review, "All Visitors Must Be Announced" Judith Martin, New York Times Book Review; Dec 4, 2005;
    • Review, Publishers Weekly. New York: Aug 29, 2005. Vol. 252, Iss. 34; p. 51 (1 page)
    • Review "Modeling Ethnography" by Harvey Molotch. Contemporary Sociology.: May 2006. Vol.35, Iss. 3; pg. 234, 3 pgs
  • Relations into Rhetorics: Local Elite Social Structure in Norfolk, England: 1540-1640 American Sociological Association, Rose Monograph Series. Rutgers University Press, 1993. ISBN

Peer-reviewed articles[edit]

The most recent among his approximately 25 peer-reviewed articles are:

  • Bearman, Peter S. “Just So Stories: Vaccines, Autism, and the Single-Bullet Disorder”. Social Psychological Quarterly. 2010.
  • Mazumdar, Soumya, Marissa King, Noam Zerubavel and Peter S. Bearman. “The Spatial Structure of Autism”. Health and Place. 16.539-546.
  • Liu, Kayuet, Noam Zerubavel, and Peter S. Bearman. “Demographic Change and the Increasing Prevalence of Autism”. Demography. 2010
  • Liu, Ka-Yuet, Marissa * King and Peter S. Bearman. “Social Influence and the Autism Epidemic”. American Journal of Sociology. March, 2010
  • King, Marissa and Peter S. Bearman. “Diagnostic Change and the Increasing Prevalence of Autism”. International Journal of Epidemiology. 38: 1224-1234
  • Bearman, Peter and Marissa King. “Diagnostic Accretion: Reply to Commentary” International Journal of Epidemiology. 38: 1243-1244
  • King, Marissa, Christine Fountain, Diana Dakhallah and Peter Bearman. “Estimating Autism Risk in a Time of Increasing Reproductive Age” American Journal of Public Health. 99(9):1673-1679.
  • Parigi, Paolo and Peter S. Bearman. “Spaghetti Politics: The Structure of the Italian Political System, 1986-2002. Social Forces 87:2:623-651
  • Baldassarri, Delia and Peter S. Bearman. “The Dynamics of Polarization” American Sociological Review. V72, N5: 784-812. (Awarded Mathematical Sociology Prize for Best Article)
  • Weiss, Christopher and Peter S. Bearman. “Fresh Starts: School Form and Student Outcomes”. American Journal of Education. (May, 2007).
  • Erikson, Emily and Peter S. Bearman. “Routes into Networks: The Structure of English East Indian Trade, 1600-1831”. American Journal of Sociology 112(1):195-230. (2006)
  • Brückner, Hannah and Peter S. Bearman. “After the Promise: The STD Consequences of Adolescent Virginity Pledges”. Journal of Adolescent Health 36:271-278
  • Bearman, Peter S. and Paolo Parigi. “Cloning Headless Frogs and Other Important Matters: Conversation Topics and Network Structure”. Social Forces. 83 (2): 535-557 (2004)
  • Brückner, Hannah, Anne Martin and Peter S. Bearman. “Ambivalence and Pregnancy: Adolescent Attitudes, Contraception, and Pregnancy”. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 36 (6): 248-257 (2004)
  • Bearman, Peter S, James Moody and Katherine Stovel. “Chains of Affection: The Structure of Adolescent Romantic and Sexual Networks”. American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 110.1.44-91 (2004) (Awarded Roger V. Gould Prize; AJS 2004-05
  • Bearman, Peter S. and Brückner, Hannah. "Promising the Future: Virginity Pledges and First Intercourse" American Journal of Sociology, 106, 4, p. 859- (2001)

Popular articles[edit]

  • "Hooking Up" Peter Bearman, James Moody, Katherine Stovel. Harper's Magazine. New York: Jun 2005. Vol. 310, Iss. 1861; p. 22-

Major reports from his longitudinal studies[edit]

  • 2004 Bearman, Peter, Katherine Stovel, James Moody, and Lisa Thalji. "The Structure of Sexual Networks and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health", in Network Epidemiology: A Handbook For Survey Design and Data Collection. Martina Morris (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2003 Brückner, H and Peter S Bearman . Dating Behavior and Sexual Activity Among Young Adolescents, in Albert, William, Sarah Brown and Christine Flanagan (ed) Fourteen and Younger: The Sexual Behavior of Young Adolescents. National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Washington, D.C.
  • 1999 Bearman, Peter S. and Hannah Brückner. Power in Numbers: Peer Effects on Adolescent Girls’ Sexual Debut and Pregnancy. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Research Monographs. Washington, D.C.
  • 1999 Bearman, Peter S, and Hannah Brückner. “Peer Effects on Adolescent Girls’ Sexual Debut and Pregnancy: An Analysis of a National Sample of Adolescent Girls”, in Peer Potential: Making the Most of How Teens Influence Each Other. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Washington, D.C.
  • 1998 Bearman, Peter S. and Hannah Brückner. “Peer Effects on Adolescent Girls’ Sexual Debut and Pregnancy Risk”. PPFY Network, Vol2. No3.
  • 1998 Bearman, Peter S and Laura Burns. “Adolescents, Health and School: Early Findings From the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.” NASSP Bulletin. Vol. 82:601-23.
  • 1997 Udry, J. Richard and Peter S. Bearman. “New Methods for New Perspectives on Adolescent Sexual Behavior”. In Richard Jessor (ed). New Perspectives on Adolescent Sexual Behavior. Cambridge University Press.
  • 1997 Bearman, PS., J. Jones, and J. R. Udry. “Connections Count: Adolescent Health and the Design of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.” [1]


  1. ^ a b "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "News from the National Academy of Sciences". Retrieved Apr 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Peter Bearman CV" (PDF). Columbia University. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  5. ^ Moody, James, Robert Faris, and Peter S. Bearman. 1999. “Blocking the future: New solutions for old problems in historical social science.” Social Science History 23, no. 4 (1999): 501-533.
  6. ^ Bearman, Peter S., and Katherine Stovel. "Becoming a Nazi: A model for narrative networks." Poetics 27, no. 2 (2000): 69-90.
  7. ^ "About the Gould Prize". Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Martin, Judith. "'DOORMEN,' BY PETER BEARMAN All Visitors Must Be Announced". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  9. ^