1. The function of Sociology as a science is to bring about that which is hidden. Pierre Bourdieu

Missouri Sociological Association

  1. Missouri Electronic Journal of Sociology - 2009 Archive




Perception of Impact of a Decade of Policy Initiatives among Missouri’s Medicaid Dental Providers

 Joe Squillace

Holly Phernetton

Saint Louis University

 Abstract: Access to oral health services by the low-income population is limited. The purpose of this study is to measure the impact of Missouri state policy changes designed to improve oral health care access in Missouri from the oral health care providers perspective. Over the past 10 years, a number of policy changes have occurred in Missouri to improve access to MoHealthNet dental services. The analysis explored the effects of a decade of policy changes on perception for dental practitioners participating in Medicaid/CHIP fee-for-service and managed care, focusing on the flow of legislative statutory change and budget appropriations to publicly funded oral health care services for low-income children and families. Policy changes in Missouri that were designed to increase participation in the program may have had very little effect.



Population Change of Missouri During the 20TH Century

 Ravindra Amonker

Ryan Burson

 Abstract: Population size and its distribution with respect to various geographical units are among the most important elements in the study of population. These elements are closely associated with the potential for population growth and decline, the economic situation, the age profile, and a variety of other population characteristics. Furthermore, extensive information on population size and distribution is vital if programs relating to agriculture, health, education, transportation, housing, urban renewal, law enforcement, and waste disposal are to be administered equitably. Finally, the facts about the number and distribution of inhabitants are most commonly needed for variety of research purposes. For example, social scientists compute indexes for criminality, births, deaths, marriage and divorce, based on the characteristics of the population. Administrators must have such information in order to determine how state and federal funds for various programs are apportioned among counties, states and other political subdivisions. The population of Missouri, as well as any specific area within its boundaries, is constantly changing. 


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Religious Effects on Levels of Family Functioning

 Kevin J. Coldwell

Southwest Missouri State University

Abstract: This study examines the effects of religion on family functioning levels. A survey of 87 university students was conducted to collect data on several aspects of religious participation and on family types and functions using the FACES II instrument. These data were then correlated. The results mirror previous findings as several religious factors play at least a small role in family functioning. Attendance at other religious activities and family prayer showed the greatest effects on levels of family functioning, while inter-religious support was negatively related to family functioning. Overall, a “rationing of religion” interpretation seems to explain the results as families which were neither over, nor under religious seem to have higher levels of family functioning.



Urban and Rural Populations of Missouri

 Gary Brinker

Ravindra Amonker

Southwest Missouri State University


Abstract: This paper describes three trends that have characterized the geographic distribution of Missouri's population. One has been the rural-to-urban shift of the population, which was driven by the industrialization of our nation’s economy during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The mechanization of agricultural production in rural areas and concurrent proliferation of industrial production in urban areas provided the push/pull forces that strongly motivated rural Missourians to migrate to urban areas. The second has been the subsequent deconcentration of the metropolitan population, commonly known as the suburbanization. This trend was driven by the building of roads and freeways, low cost mortgage loans provided by the GI housing bill, expansion of the economy, dissatisfaction with city life, and the popular appeal of small town life. The third has been the movement of people from metropolitan to nonmetropolitan areas, known as the rural renaissance. This movement has been attributed to expansion of the economy into rural areas, preference for living and retiring for in a small town, improved transportation and communication infrastructure and availability of urban amenities in the rural environment. A comparative analysis of the urban and rural areas of Missouri shows how these migration dynamics have effected the demographic compositions of each.


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All Used Up:

Factors Associated with Burnout Among Missouri Social Service Workers


Rachel Magennis

Deborah B. Smith

Southwest Missouri State University


Abstract: Analyses of data collected from 170 social service workers in Missouri find evidence that workers who report high levels of uncertainty about the future, low levels of professional self-esteem and low mastery are more likely to suffer from burnout while workers who have positive experiences with their coworkers, flexibility in their job, adequate promotion opportunities as well as low levels of unnecessary paperwork are less likely to report high levels of burnout.



Guns and Feelings:

Emotionality and the Arming of Probation and Parole Officers


Melodye Lehnerer

Missouri State University


Abstract: This report is about the serendipitous nature of qualitative research. It is also about emotional reactions to workplace change. Specifically, I discovered that the legislation enabling probation and parole officers to carry a weapon necessitated emotion work directed at reconciling a change in occupational role as well as self. For me and the officers I came to know as friends and colleagues, carrying a weapon served as a symbolic flash point for the deep-seated motives that define and give substance to the raison d’etre for parole and probation and by association what it means to be committed to change – both personal and social. The way the officers worked out their emotions, the sense they made out of the policy, revealed their emotional ties with what they do for a living. Similarly, I had to come to terms with what I do for a living. Like officers, I continue to seek balance. My personal commitment to change through the practicing of a “liberating pedagogy” has to be reconciled with student needs and institutional change.




African-American and White Suicide in Kansas City, Missouri 1995-1997:

Individual and Aggregate Circumstances


Robert M. Fernquist

Jinwen Cai

Central Missouri State University (former) 


Abstract: Although suicide in America is committed by Whites much more than African-Americans, increasing attention has been given to African-American suicide over the past couple of decades due to the rise in suicide for this group, especially for young males. Wasserman explains that various theories have been developed to explain the rise in African-American suicide. Our purpose is not to give detailed explanations of these theories; the reader is directed to Lester for such information. The goal of the present research is to examine how both individual and aggregate-level factors impact suicide of African-Americans and Whites. Using data on suicides in the Kansas City, Missouri area from 1995-1997, we examine how, for example, a person's marital status and educational attainment, as well as how the average income level in the area where the person resides, are related to suicide. We include White suicides as a comparison to trends in African-American suicides. 



Expanding the Marshall Hypotheses: Missouri residents’ beliefs regarding justice as a determinant of opinions on the death penalty.


Gary D. Brinker

Southwest Missouri State University


Abstract: Previous research has supported Justice Thurgood Marshall’s contention that emotionally-based desire for retribution can influence the individual to discount rational reasons to oppose the death penalty. However, little has been done to develop a concrete theory from which the Marshall Hypotheses are derived. Retribution is one of several popularly expressed goals of justice, just as the death penalty is one of several preferred penalties for murder. This study tests the theory that opinions regarding the appropriate penalty for murder are influenced by the individual’s personal conception of justice. More specifically, the preference for a particular penalty is guided by utilitarian assumptions about which penalty will best serve the most important goal of justice. Findings show that beliefs concerning the most important goal in achieving justice are a strong predictor of preference for the various penalty alternatives for murder. They also suggest that certain and meaningful punishment, short of execution, must be assured through the criminal justice system in order to gain strong majority support for abolition of the death penalty.

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