Brea L. Perry

Brea L. Perry

Allen D. and Polly S. Grimshaw Professor


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Indiana University Bloomington, 2008
  • M.A., Sociology, Indiana University Bloomington, 2002

About Brea L. Perry

Brea Perry is a Professor of Sociology and an affiliated faculty of the Indiana University Network Science Institute. She began her career at the University of Kentucky before returning to Indiana University in 2014, where she received her PhD in 2008. Her research investigates the interrelated roles of social networks, biomarkers, social psychology, and social inequality in health and illness, with a particular focus on mental illness and substance use disorders. She has a strong interest in longitudinal research, dynamic social processes, and quantitative methods, especially personal social network analysis. Perry's current projects (funded by NIH and NSF) examine: 1) the social dynamics of high-risk opioid-seeking behavior; 2) the social safety nets of healthcare “super utilizers” with complex, comorbid conditions; 3) cognitive reserve and social network moderation of neurodegeneration in the aging brain; 4) stigma as barrier to recovery from opioid dependence in rural and urban communities; and 5) contributions of acculturation, social networks, and cultural health capital to the immigrant health paradox.

Brea Perry has published her research in journals such as American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Science and Medicine. She is currently on the editorial board of Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and is the series editor of Advances in Medical Sociology. Perry recently authored a book on ego network methodology (Cambridge University Press) with Bernice Pescosolido and Steve Borgatti. She has received funding from multiple National Institutes of Health, including NIDA, NIDCR, NIA, and NCRR, as well as the National Science Foundation and several charitable foundations. When she is not being a professor, Brea enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, playing soccer, and singing karaoke.

Selected publications

Perry, Brea L. and Gabriele Ciciurkaite. 2019. “Contributions of personality to social influence: Contingent associations between social network body size composition and BMI.” Social Science and Medicine: Online First.

Perry, Brea L., Bernice A. Pescosolido, and Steve Borgatti. 2018. Egocentric Network Analysis: Foundations, Methods, and Models. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Perry, Brea L., Erin Pullen, and Bernice Pescosolido. 2017. “Interactions between patients’ experiences in mental health treatment and lay social network attitudes toward doctors in recovery from mental illness.” Network Science 5(3):355-80.

Perry, Brea L. 2016. “Gendering genetics: Biological contingencies in the protective effects of social integration for men and women.” American Journal of Sociology 121:1655-96.

Perry, Brea L. and Bernice A. Pescosolido. 2015. “Social network activation: The role of health discussion partners in recovery from mental illness.” Social Science and Medicine 125:116-28. PMID: 24525260.

Perry, Brea L. and Edward Morris. 2014. “Suspending progress: Collateral consequences of exclusionary punishment in public schools.” American Sociological Review 79:1067-87.

Perry, Brea L. and Bernice Pescosolido. 2012. “Social network dynamics in the face of biographical disruption: The case of “first timers” with mental illness.” American Journal of Sociology 118:134-75.

Perry, Brea L. 2011. “The labeling paradox: Stigma, the sick role, and social networks in mental illness.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 52:460-477. PMID: 22144733.