Rachel A. Gordon, PhD

Professor of Sociology

Dr. Rachel A. Gordon is a professor of sociology, a Faculty Fellow of the Honors College, and a Fellow of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a faculty member of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) of the University of Illinois.

Dr. Gordon's research broadly aims to measure and model the contexts of the lives of children and families, often using longitudinal data sets. She has examined numerous contextual and social factors that affect children and families, including the use of child care and preschool quality measures for high-stakes policy purposes, the health outcomes of child care and maternal employment, the implications of teenagers' looks for their social and academic achievement, the association between community context and child well-being, the relationships between youth gang participation and delinquency, the causes and consequences of grandmother co-residential support for young mothers, and the evaluation of an innovative job program for young couples.

Dr. Gordon was named UIC Distinguished Researcher of 2018 for her record of outstanding achievement in the social sciences. Learn more.

Since 2008, she has been the principal investigator of research on child care services and child development funded by the USDA Economic Research Service, the Institute of Education Services, and the National Institutes of Health, including the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) and the IGPA Early Investments Initiative.

Dr. Gordon co-chairs the Social Policy Committee of the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) and co-chairs the SRA's 2020 Biennial Meeting in San Diego.

Dr. Gordon was trained as pre-doctoral student with funding by the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, received her doctorate in public policy from the University of Chicago, and was a post-doctoral research scientist for two years at the NORC/University of Chicago Sloan Center on Parents, Children and Work.

Research Interests

Measuring and modeling the contexts of the lives of children, adolescents and families, often using longitudinal data sets

Recent and Noteworthy Publications

Please note: Not all of the following studies were administered by the IHRP. Nonetheless, IHRP is pleased to promote Dr. Gordon's findings.

Crabbe R, Pivnick LK, Bates J, Gordon RA, Crosnoe R. Contemporary college students’ reflections on their high school peer crowds. J Adolesc Res. Epub. 2018 Dec 25. doi:10.1177/0743558418809537

Fujimoto KA, Gordon RA, Peng F, Hofer KG. Examining the category functioning of the ECERS-R across eight data sets. AERA Open. 2018;4(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/2332858418758299

Gordon RA. Measuring constructs in family science: How can item response theory improve precision and validity? J Marriage Fam. 2015;77(1): 147-176.

Gordon RA, Rowe HL, Pardini D, Loeber R, White HR, et al. Serious delinquency and gang participation: combining and specializing in drug selling, theft, and violence. J Res Adolesc. 2014;24(2): 235-251.

Gordon RA, Rowe HL, Pardini D, Loeber R, White HR, Farrington DP. Serious delinquency and gang participation: combining and specializing in drug selling, theft and violence. J Res Adolesc. 2014;24(2):235-251.

Cover of 2013 Monograph by Gordon, Crosnoe & WangGordon RA, Crosnoe R, Wang X. Physical Attractiveness and the Accumulation of Social and Human Capital in Adolescence and Young Adulthood: Assets and Distractions. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 2013;78(6):1-137. [See the pre-published manuscript (pdf), or order the edited version published by Wiley.] See also Dr. Gordon's summary and discussion of this monograph, "When Does Lookism Take Hold?"

Gordon RA, Colaner A, Usdansky ML, Melgar C. Beyond an "either-or" approach to home- and center-based child care: comparing children and families who combine care types with those who use just one. Early Child Res Q. 2013 Oct 1;28(4).

Abner KS, Gordon RA, Kaestner R, Korenman S. Does child care quality mediate associations between type of care and development? J Marriage Fam. 2013;75(5):1203-1217.

Colwell N, Gordon RA, Fujimoto K, Kaestner R, Korenman S. New evidence on the validity of the Arnett Caregiver Interaction Scale: Results from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. Early Child Res Q. 2013;28(2):218-233.

Korenman S, Abner KS, Kaestner R, Gordon RA. The Child and Adult Care Food Program and the nutrition of preschoolers. Early Child Res Q. 2013 Spring;28(2):325-336.

Augustine JM, Crosnoe RL, Gordon R. Early child care and illness among preschoolers. J Health Soc Behav. 2013;54(3):315-34.

Gordon RA, Fujimoto K, Kaestner R, Korenman S, Abner K. An assessment of the validity of the ECERS-R with implications for assessments of child care quality and its relation to child development. Dev Psychol. 2013 Jan;49(1):146-60.

Honors and Awards

UIC 2018 Researcher of the Year