Gregory C. Elliott Professor of Sociology

Gregory C. Elliott received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1977. He is currently professor of Sociology at Brown University. Previously, he was assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests focus on the social development of the individual and the problem of integrating the self into society. In particular, he currently researches the concept of mattering (the extent to which one makes a difference in the lives of others) and its motivational impact on behavior. A second area of research involves the causes and consequences of child maltreatment. His methodological expertise includes the General Linear Model, logistic regression, structural equation models, index construction, and issues of reliability and validity in measurement.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Family Matters: The Importance of Mattering to Family in Adolescence. Wiley-Blackwell.

Gregory C. Elliott, Melissa Colangelo, and Richard J. Gelles. 2005. "Mattering and Suicide Ideation: Establishing and Elaborating a Relationship." Social Psychology Quarterly, 68, 223-238.

Gregory C. Elliott, Susan M. Cunningham, Meadow Linder, and Melissa Colangelo. 2005. "Child Physical Abuse and Self-Perceived Social Isolation among Adolescents" Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, 1663-1684.

Gregory C. Elliott, Suzanne Kao, and Ann-Marie Grant. 2004. "Mattering: Empirical Validation of a Social-Psychological Concept." Self and Identity, 3, 339-354.

Gregory C. Elliott, Roger Avery, Elizabeth Fishman, and Brandon Hoshiko. 2002. "The encounter with intimate violence and risky sexual activity among young adolescent females." Violence and Victims, 17, 569-592.

Gregory C. Elliott. 2001. "The self as social product and social force: Morris Rosenberg and the elaboration of a deceptively simple effect." Pp. 10-28 in T. Owens, S. Stryker, and N. Goodman (eds.), Extending Self-Esteem Theory and Research: Sociological and Psychological Currents. New York: Cambridge University Press.

research overview

I am a social psychologist whose areas of teaching and research address in various ways two fundamental questions of human concern: "Who am I?" and "Where do I fit in?" In my research, I investigate the self-concept, its development in youth and its effects on behavior; issues of self and social integration, including the individual and community, alienation, and civility; and the personal consequences of experiencing the social structure.

research statement

Areas of Interest: methods and statistics, social psychology, the self and its relation to social systems.

I am a social psychologist whose areas of teaching and research address in various ways two fundamental questions of human concern: "Who am I?" and "Where do I fit in?" In my research, I investigate the self-concept, its development in youth and its effects on behavior; issues of fairness in social relationships; issues of self and social integration, including the individual and community, alienation, and civility; and the personal consequences of experiencing the social structure. My most recent research includes a study of mattering (the sense that one is a significant part of the lives of other people, institutions, one's community, or society as a whole) and its effects on adolescent behavior; in particular, I will soon have published a book (Wiley-Blackwell) studying anti-social and self-destructive behavior among young people (ages 12-18). Based on a national survey of 2004 adolescents and one parent (figure), and using an index to measure mattering that I have developed, the book details the strong negative effects of failing to matter to family and friends on a wide range of dysfunctional behaviors, including violence (within and without the family), alcohol use, binge drinking, illegal substance use, suicide attempts. I am also currently publishing research on child maltreatment; the latest published article reveals that those young people who are physically abused develop a sense of social isolation from other people and school as a social institution.

funded research

Undergraduate Teaching and Research Assistantship, Dean of the College Office, 2004-2005. Research on Mattering.

Group Research Project, Dean of the College Office, 2003-2004. Research on Mattering.