back to news Dec. 9, 2015

Kristi Williams Named Editor, Journal of Marriage and Family

Kristi Williams, associate professor, sociology, has been named editor of the highly regarded Journal of Marriage and Family. The journal is the flagship research journal of the National Council on Family Relations and is published by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.

The editorial office at Ohio State, led by Williams, will have full responsibility for the intellectual content and leadership of the journal, including managing the review process, developing author contributions, making all editorial decisions and communicating key research findings to the public. A team of graduate students in the Department of Sociology will work as editorial assistants throughout the five year term of the editorship. The editorial transition will begin spring 2016.

Williams is a leading scholar is the area of family and other personal relationships on health and well-being with particular attention to the way in which these patterns are shaped by social structural factors, including gender, race/ethnicity and life course position. Her research challenges long-held assumptions about the links between marriage and health by demonstrating that the often cited benefits of marriage and the costs of marital dissolution are highly dependent on a range of individual and contextual factors, including marital quality.

Her recent work includes an NICHD-funded project examining the consequences of nonmarital and early fertility for the health of women and their offspring and considers the role that subsequent marriage plays in shaping these outcomes. Findings from this project raise questions about the likely efficacy of U.S. government efforts to promote marriage, particularly among the groups most likely to experience nonmarital childbearing. Although nonmarital childbearing is associated with health detriments among women, subsequent marriage appears to offer few health benefits to most single mother.

Last year, Williams wrote one of two reports released by the Council on Contemporary Families assessing the state of the War on Poverty on its 50th anniversary. The briefing paper, Promoting Marriage among Single Mothers: An Ineffective Weapon in the War on Poverty?" was published Jan. 6, 2014.

Williams will succeed current editor R. Kelly Raley, University of Texas at Austin.