Molly Copeland

Molly  Copeland
  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Sociology
  • PhD, Duke University, 2020
  • Berkey Hall
  • 509 E. Circle Drive Room 316
  • East Lansing, MI 48824


Molly Copeland


Molly Copeland is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. Her research joins social network analysis and medical sociology to examine how social relationships can benefit or introduce risks to health across the life course. Most of her work examines how patterns of connections with others relate to mental health in ways that vary by gender, by network context, and for at-risk groups, such as isolated youth. Current research projects examine how adolescent peer networks relate to depression, self-harm, physical health, and substance use in adolescence, with persistent effects on adult health. She received her doctoral degree in sociology from Duke University.


Liu, Hui, Molly Copeland, Gerald Nowak*, William J. Chopik, and Jeewon Oh*. 2023. “Marital Status Differences in Loneliness among Older Americans during the COVID-19 Pandemic". Population Research and Policy Review, 42:74 . 


Copeland, Molly, Christina Kamis, and Jessica S. West. 2023. “To Make and Keep Friends: The Role of Physical Health in Adolescent Network Tie Formation and Persistence.” Social Networks, 74: 216-223.


Copeland, Molly, Christina Kamis, and Gabriel Varela*. 2023. “Pathways from Peers to Mental Health: Adolescent Networks, Role Attainment, and Adult Depressive Symptoms.” Social Science & Medicine, Online First, 

Gonzalez, Christopher, Molly Copeland, Martin Shapiro, and James Moody. 2023. “Associations of Peer Generational Status on Adolescent Weight across Hispanic Immigrant Generations: A Social Network Analysis”. Social Science & Medicine. 323:115831. 

Neray, Balint, Molly Copeland, and James Moody. 2023. “Our Friends Keep Us Together - The Stability of Adolescents' Cross-Race Friendships”. Social Forces, Online First, https://doi-org/10.1093/sf/soad025 


Copeland, Molly. 2023.Embedded Distress: Social Integration, Gender, and Adolescent Depression.” Social Forces, 101(3): 1396-1421. 


Crudgington*, Holly, Emma Wilson*, Molly Copeland, Craig Morgan, and Gemma Knowles. 2022. “Peer-friendship networks and self-injurious thoughts and behaviors in adolescence: a systematic review of sociometric school-based studies that use social network analysis.” Adolescent Research Review, Online First, 


Copeland, Molly and Hui Liu. 2022. “Who Gets Help? A National Longitudinal Study of Personal Networks and Pandemic Support Among Older Adults.” The Journals of Gerontology: Series B 78(2), 341-351. 


Copeland, Molly, Gerald R. Nowak III*, and Hui Liu. 2022. “Social Participation and Self-Reported Depression during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Older Adults.” Aging & Mental Health, 1-8. 


Copeland, Molly and Christina Kamis. 2022. “Who Does Cohesion Benefit? Race, Gender, and Peer Networks Associated with Adolescent Depressive Symptoms.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 51: 1787-1797.https://doi-org./10.1007/s10964-022-01631-3 

Kamis, Christina*, Allison Stolte*, and Molly Copeland. 2022. “Parental Death and Mid-Adulthood Depressive Symptoms: The Importance of Life Course Stage and Parent’s Gender.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 63(2): 250-265. 


Copeland, Molly, Rajaa T. Alqahtani, James Moody, Brent Curdy, Mohammad Alghamdi & Fathiya Alqurashi. 2021. When Friends Bring You Down: Peer Stress Proliferation and Suicidality, Archives of Suicide Research, 25(3): 672-689, DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2020.1746939  


Copeland, Molly. 2021. “The Long Shadow of Peers: Adolescent Networks and Young Adult Mental Health.” Social Sciences, 10(6): 231. DOI:10.3390/socsci10060231 

Kamis, Christina* and Molly Copeland. 2020. “The Long Arm of Social Integration: Gender, adolescent social networks, and adult depressive symptom trajectories.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 61(4): 437-452, DOI:10.1177/0022146520952769