Andrea Laurent-Simpson



Phone: 214-768-4891
Professional website:

Educational Background

Ph.D., Sociology, Texas Woman’s University


My current research uses a mixed methods approach to examine emerging infectious diseases, especially those that impact fertility, such as Zika virus, via a modern risk society perspective. Trajectories include examining how socioeconomic status impacts likelihood of following preventative guidelines issued by public health authorities; how social media messages impact the social construction of emerging infectious diseases; and how individual risk perceptions and self-reflexivity of women in modern society influence risky and preventive behavior in the midst of an outbreak. Work from the overall project has been award-winning and appears (or is forthcoming) in Sociology of Health and Illness and Sociological Spectrum.

A second project engages identity theory, family and fertility, and human-nonhuman animal interaction. This research uses original, qualitative, mixed methods data to examine how familial identities are impacted by human-nonhuman animal relationships; how household structure affects resulting identity formation; how this contributes to post-modern, cultural definitions of who or what counts as family; and how dropping fertility rates and delays of first birth characteristic of the second demographic transition aid in the emergence of a “multi-species” family post-1970’s in the U.S. The work is also award-winning and has appeared in Symbolic Interaction; Sociological Forum; and Sociological Inquiry. The project is also currently the subject of a manuscript under contract with New York University Press.

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Sociological social psychology
  • Identity processes
  • Family and fertility
  • Medical sociology
  • Human-nonhuman animal relationships
  • Qualitative sociology

Selected Publications

  • Laurent-Simpson, Andrea and Celia Lo. “Risk Society Online: Zika Virus, Social Media, and Distrust in the CDC.”  Sociology of Health and Illness. Forthcoming.
  • Lo, Celia and Andrea Laurent-Simpson. (2018). “How SES May Figure in Perceptions of Zika Risks and in Preventive Action.”  Sociological Spectrum. 38(5):295-311. 
  • Laurent-Simpson, Andrea. (2017). “Considering Alternate Sources of Role Identity: Childless Parents and Their Animal ‘Kids.’” Sociological Forum 32(3):610-634.
  • Laurent-Simpson, Andrea. (2017). “‘They Make Me Not Wanna Have a Child’: Effects of Companion Animals on Fertility Intentions of the Childfree.” Sociological Inquiry 87(4):586-607.
  • Laurent-Simpson, Andrea. (2017). “‘Phil’s Calling Grandma…’: External Support and Parent Identity Related to Nonhuman Animals.” Symbolic Interaction 40(2):212-228.


  • Distinguished Scholarship Award, American Sociological Association’s Section on Animals and Society. 2019
  • Sociological Spectrum Best Paper of the Year Award for “How SES May Figure in Perceptions of Zika Risks and in Preventive Action.”  2018
  • Sam Taylor Fellowship. United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Study Funds for “Extending Familial Identities and Connections: Empty Nesters, Adult Children, and Their Companion Animals.” 2018
  • Herbert Blumer Graduate Student Award,Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. 2017
  • Jane Goodall Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Scholarship,American Sociological Association’s Section on Animals and Society. 2016
  • Outstanding Sociology Doctoral Student Award,Texas Woman’s University, Department of Sociology. 2016
  • TWU Graduate Student Scholarship, Texas Woman’s University. 2013-2016
  • Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship, University of California, Riverside. 2002-2004