Assistant Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., Sociology, University of Toronto, 2019
M.A., Sociology, University of Toronto, 2014
BSc., Psychology and Sociology with High Distinction, University of Toronto, 2013
Dr. Laura Upenieks received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2019 and joined the Baylor faculty in 2020. Her research interests are in religion and health, aging and the life course, and quantitative methods. She is currently conducting research focused on integrating life course models of health and social network analysis to better understand the relationship between religion and well-being, and on how life course inequalities shape health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Laura's recent research is published or forthcoming in Journal of Health and Social Behavior, British Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, Social Science Research, Research on Aging, Review of Religious Research, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Laura is an incoming editorial board member of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
Louie, Patricia and Laura Upenieks. Forthcoming. “Vicarious Discrimination, Psychosocial Resources, and Mental Health among Black Americans.” Social Psychology Quarterly.
Upenieks, Laura. Forthcoming. “Religious/Spiritual Struggles and Suicidal Ideation in the COVID-19 Era: A Protective Role for Divine Control and Religious Attendance?” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
Upenieks, Laura. Forthcoming. “Searching for Meaning: Religious Transitions as Correlates of Life Meaning and Purpose in Emerging Adulthood.” Mental Health, Religion, and Culture.
Upenieks, Laura. Forthcoming. “Religious/Spiritual Struggles and Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Does “Talking Religion” Help or Hurt?” Review of Religious Research.
Upenieks, Laura. Forthcoming. “The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of Things Not Seen: Racial Differences in the Effects of Changes in Religiosity and Hope in Later Life.” Journal of Religion, Spirituality, and Aging.
Upenieks, Laura and Colton L. Daniels. Forthcoming. “Unfair Treatment by the Police and Race: Is Religiosity a Protective Resource for Well-Being?” Social Currents.
Upenieks, Laura. Forthcoming. “Psychological Resilience after Cancer via Religion/Spirituality: Spiritual Capital Through a Life Course Lens.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Upenieks, Laura. Forthcoming. “We Made You Pay Attention”: Narratives of Men’s Advantage in Women’s College Basketball." International Journal of Sport and Society
Upenieks, Laura, and Joanne Ford-Robertson. 2022. “Changes in Spiritual but Not Religious Identity and Well-Being in Emerging Adulthood in the United States: Pathways to Health Sameness?” Journal of Religion and Health. 61, pgs. 4635-4673. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-022-01540-6
Upenieks, Laura, Scott Schieman, and Rachel Meiorin*. 2022. “A Protective Rung on the Ladder? How Past and Current Subjective Social Status Shaped Changes in Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” SSM-Population Health. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2022.101060
Upenieks, Laura. 2022. “Spiritual Support and Well-Being in Later Life: Revisiting the Role of God-Mediated Control.” Journal of Religion, Spirituality, and Aging https://doi.org/10.1080/15528030.2022.2045664
Upenieks, Laura. 2022. “Do Christian Nationalist Beliefs Predict Mental Health Problems? The Role of Religious (Non)-Involvement.” Socius https://doi.org/10.1177/23780231221081641
Upenieks, Laura, Joanne Ford-Robertson, and James E. Robertson. 2021. “Trust in God and/or Science: Sociodemographic Differences in the Effects of Beliefs in an Engaged God and Mistrust of the COVID-19 Vaccine.” Journal of Religion and Health. 61, pgs. 657-686. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01466-5
Upenieks, Laura. 2021. “The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of Things Not Seen: Racial Differences in the Effects of Changes in Religiosity and Hope in Later Life.” Journal of Religion, Spirituality, and Aging https://doi.org/10.1080/15528030.2021.1998817
Upenieks, Laura. 2021.“Psychological Resilience after Cancer via Religion/Spirituality: Spiritual Capital Through a Life Course Lens.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 61(1), pgs. 119-141. https://doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12765
Upenieks, Laura, and Yingling Liu. 2021. “Does Religiosity Predict Future Health Expectations? Using a Life Course Framework to Test Multiple Mechanisms.” Journal of Religion and Health. 61, pgs. 2539-2568. DOI: 10.1007/s10943-021-01441-0
Upenieks, Laura, and Yingling Liu. 2021. “Marital Strain and Support and Subjective WellBeing in Later Life: Ascribing a Role to Childhood Adversity.” Journal of Aging and Health. 34(4-5), pgs. 550-568. DOI: 10.1177/08982643211048664
Upenieks, Laura. 2021. “Never More Than I Can Handle? A Longitudinal Consideration of Racial Differences in Trust-Based Prayer Expectancies and Satisfaction in Later Life.” Journal of Religion, Spirituality, and Aging. 34(4), pgs. 299-322. https://doi.org/10.1080/15528030.2021.1958974
Upenieks, Laura, Jeremy E. Uecker, and Markus H. Schafer. 2021. “Couple Religiosity and Well-Being among Older Adults in the United States?” Journal of Aging and Health. 34(2), pgs. 266-282. https://doi.org/10.1177/08982643211042159
Upenieks, Laura and Christos Orfanidis. 2021. “Social Trust, Religiosity, and Self-Rated Health in the Context of National Religious Pluralism.” Journal of Religion and Health. 61, pgs. 4535-4564. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01380-w
Sendroiu, Ioana, Laura Upenieks, and Markus H. Schafer. 2021. “The Divergent Mental Health Effects of Dashed Expectations and Unfulfilled Aspirations: Evidence from American Lawyers’ Careers.” Social Psychology Quarterly. 84(4), 376–397 https://doi.org/10.1177/01902725211045024
Bonhag, Rebecca, and Laura Upenieks (equal co-authorship). 2021. “Mattering to God and to the Congregation: Gendered Effects in Mattering as a Mechanism between Religiosity and Mental Health.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 60(4), pgs. 890-913. https://doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12753
Upenieks, Laura. 2021. “Uncertainty in Faith, Fear of Death? Transitions in Religious Doubt and Death Anxiety in Later Life.” Journal of Death and Dying. DOI: 10.1177/00302228211029475
Upenieks, Laura and Joanne Ford-Robertson. 2021. “Give Thanks in All Circumstances? Gratitude Towards God and Health in Later Life after Major Life Stressors.” Research on Aging. 44(5–6), pgs. 392–404 https://doi.org/10.1177/01640275211033914
Miles, Andrew, and Laura Upenieks (equal authorship). 2021. “Moral Self-Appraisals Explain the Emotional Rewards of Prosocial Behavior.” Journal of Happiness Studies. 23, pgs. 1793–1814. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-021-00434-w
Miles, Andrew, Meena Andiappan, Laura Upenieks, and Christos Orfanidis. 2021. “Prosocial behavior can safeguard mental health and foster emotional well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.” PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0245865
Upenieks, Laura. 2021. “Does the Belief in Biblical Literalism Matter for Mental Health? Assessing Variations by Gender and Religious Dimensions.” Journal of Religion and Health. 61, pgs. 175–202 DOI: 10.1007/s10943-021-01334-2
Upenieks, Laura, and Patricia A. Thomas. 2021. “Gaining Faith, Losing Faith: How Education Shapes the Relationship between Religious Transitions and Later Depression.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 62(4), 582–598. DOI: 10.1177/00221465211046356
Upenieks, Laura, Ioana Sendroiu, Ron Levi, and John L. Hagan. 2021. “Beliefs in Legality and Benefits for Mental Health.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 63(2), 266–282. https://doi.org/10.1177/00221465211046359
Louie, Patricia, Laura Upenieks, Christy L. Erving, and Courtney Thomas. 2021. “Do Racial Differences in Coping Resources Explain the Black-White Paradox in Mental Health? A Test of Multiple Mechanisms.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 63(1), 55–70. DOI: 10.1177/00221465211041031
Upenieks, Laura, Scott Schieman, and Alex Bierman. 2021. "Jitters on the Eve of the Great Recession: The Belief in Divine Control as a Protective Resource?” Sociology of Religion. 83(2), pgs. 194–221 https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srab018
Upenieks, Laura. 2021. “Aspiring to Do All Things Through Him Who Strengthens? Quixotic Hope, Religiosity, and Mental Health.” Society and Mental Health. 12(1), 64–83. https://doi.org/10.1177/21568693211008505
Bierman, Alex, Laura Upenieks (equal first authorship), and Scott Schieman. 2021. “Socially Distant? Social Network Confidants, Loneliness, and Self-Rated Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Social Currents. 8(4), 299–313. https://doi.org/10.1177/23294965211011591
Upenieks, Laura. 2021. “Through Him and With Him? God-Mediated Control, Divine Forgiveness and Health in Later Life.” Journal of Aging and Health. 33(7–8), 504–517. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898264321996567
Schafer, Markus H. and Laura Upenieks. 2021. “Functional Disability and the Role of Children in U.S. Older Adults’ Core Discussion Networks.” Network Science. 9(2), 194-212.
Bierman, Alex, Laura Upenieks, Paul Glavin, and Scott Schieman. 2021. “Economic Hardship and Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Social Causation, Social Selection, or Economic Dependence?” Social Science and Medicine 275:113774. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113774
Upenieks, Laura, Matthew A. Andersson, and Markus H. Schafer. 2021. “God, Mother, Father, Gender: Childhood Religiosity, Parental Warmth, and Flourishing at Midlife.” Journal of Happiness Studies. 22, pgs. 3199–3220 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-021-00363-8
Upenieks, Laura. 2021. “Change in Religious Doubt and Physical and Mental Health in Emerging Adulthood.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 60(2), pgs. 332-361. https://doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12712
Upenieks, Laura. 2021. “Resilience in the Aftermath of Childhood Abuse? Changes in Religiosity and Adult Mental Health.” Journal of Religion and Health. 60, pgs. 2677-2701. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-020-01155-9
Upenieks, Laura, and Markus H. Schafer. 2021. “Keeping ‘In Touch’: Demographic Patterns of Interpersonal Touch in Later Life.” Research on Aging. 44(1), 22–33 https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027520986920
Louie, Patricia, Laura Upenieks, Arjumand Siddiqi, David R. Williams, and David Takeuchi. 2021. “Race, Flourishing, and All-Cause Mortality, 1995-2016.” American Journal of Epidemiology. 190(9): 1735-1743. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab067
Hill, T. D., Gonzalez, K. E., & Upenieks, L. 2021. "Love thy Aged? A State-Level Analysis of Religiosity and Mobility in Aging Populations During the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic." Journal of Aging and Health, 33(5–6), 377–386. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898264320984016