Caleb Cooley


Washington State University, Pullman, WA

PhD Sociology – May 2024 (expected)
Dissertation: Sexual Minority Mental Health & Substance Abuse: The Social Contexts and
Pathways of Health Disparities Among LGB Adults
Committee: Dr. Justin T. Denney (Chair), Dr. Monica Johnson Kirkpatrick, Dr. Thomas Rotolo

University of Memphis, Memphis, TN

M.A. Sociology
May 2018
Thesis: Sexual Minority Health Behaviors and Potential Benefits of Same-Sex Marriage
Committee: Dr. Joseph Lariscy (Chair), Dr. Wesley James, Dr. Jeni Loftus

University of Memphis, Memphis, TN

BA in Sociology and Biology Cum Laude
December 2015
Thesis: Unequal Access to Food: An Intersectional Investigation of Food Deserts


Medical Sociology, Social Determinants of Health, Gender & Sexualities, Aging & the Life
Course, Marriage & the Family

Research Interests

My research and teaching interests include medical sociology, health disparities, inequality, then life course, and a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods. My research uses advanced quantitative techniques to improve our understanding of the role of stigma and
discrimination in shaping health outcomes among historically marginalized populations. When examining social determinants of health for marginalized groups, such as sexual and gender minorities, research predominantly compares sexual minority health to heterosexuals to
understand disparities. In contrast, my research contributes to a growing body of literature which underscores the importance of exploring significant variation between sexual minority subgroups. Additionally, my research exemplifies the importance of examining this topic through considering relevant sociological contexts and illuminates how stigma and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation are social and public health issues. In my dissertation I am expanding on this line of research by further disentangling the potential causal pathways between sexual orientation, stigma, discrimination, and mental and physical well-
being. Additionally, I link this area of research to structural discrimination by investigating state-level sociopolitical climate as a key social context significantly shaping the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.

Recent Publications

Cooley, Caleb C., Zhe Zhang, and Justin T. Denney. “Sexual Orientation and Age-Related Patterns of Suicidal Ideation Among U.S. Adults.” Forthcoming in LGBT Health   

Denney, Justin T., Zhe Zhang, Bridget K. Gorman, and Caleb C. Cooley. 2021. “Substance Use, Mental Well-Being, and Suicide Ideation by Sexual Orientation Among U.S. Adults.” Advances in Medical Sociology Volume 21: 39-63.