Anna S. Mueller is a Luther Dana Waterman Associate Professor of Sociology. The primary strand of Mueller’s research agenda examines how social relationships and social contexts shape adolescent health and wellbeing over the transition to adulthood, with a focus on adolescent suicidality. Her current project investigates (1) how suicidal behaviors and emotional distress spread between youth, (2) what factors facilitate the formation of suicide clusters in schools and communities, and (3) how social environments in communities, schools, families, and among peers, contribute to youth’s vulnerability to suicide and emotional distress. She is also interested in how social organizations (like schools and hospitals) shape social relationships and social interactions in ways that have implications for the production of inequality and the health and wellbeing of individual members. In addition to her current project on youth suicide, Mueller has a second strand of research that examines the production of gender inequality in medicine during residency training, with a focus on emergency medicine.
Mueller draws on diverse literatures to motivate her research, including social psychology, cultural sociology, organizational sociology, sociology of emotions, and social network theories. Her conceptual interests are matched by her methodological interests in social network analysis, causal inference, multi-level modeling, and ethnography. She is also committed to public sociology and translating the insights of her research into policies and interventions. She teaches courses on sociology of health, medicine, mental health, education, children/youth, culture, gender, and social statistics, though her favorite course to teach is research methodology where she helps students learn to ask (and answer) good research questions, develop rigorous epistemological stances, and use theory as an asset (not a burden) for empirical research.
Mueller’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and her articles have received multiple awards for their contributions to knowledge. Her research can be read in the American Sociological Review, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Sociological Theory, Social Science & Medicine, and the American Journal of Public Health, among others. When she’s not at work, Mueller enjoys being outside, particularly hiking and gardening, and she’s always in the middle of a good novel.