Angela M. O'Rand

Angela M. O'Rand

Professor Emeritus of Sociology

External address: 
417 Chapel Hill Drive, Campus Box 90088, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90088, 417 Chapel Drive, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-5629


My major research interests focus on patterns of inequality across the life span, with a special interest in the temporal diversity of life transitions, their consequences for later life, and the impact of institutions on these transitions over time. Over forty years I have examined workplace policies related to wage and benefit structures and the impact of workers' educational, work and family histories on socioeconomic outcomes. The changing employment relationship and the re-organization of retirement institutions (especially pensions) have been a central concern of my research. Most recently, I have turned to the cumulative impact of economic adversity on mid- and later-life health risks, such as heart attack. This research has uncovered the persistent effects of childhood adversity on adult heart attack risk, especially among women. I am expanding this focus over the next few years to examine the more general question of "life course risks" and increased economic and social inequalities in life course trajectories of health and wealth (including the role of debt as a stressor).

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Temple University 1974

O’Rand, A. M. “Chemistry Transformed: The Paradigmatic Shift from Phlogiston to Oxygen (Ablex Publishing, 1978) by H. Gilman McCann.” Edited by R. Allen. The Eighteenth Century. AMS Press, 1983.

O’Rand, A. M. “The Structure of the Social Sciences: A Philosophical Introduction (Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1974) by Michael Lesnoff.” American Journal of Sociology. University of Chicago Press: No Paid Open Access, 1975.


O’Rand, A. M. “Theories of aging and the life course.” In Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Blackwell Publishing, 2006.

Hughes, M. E., and A. M. O’Rand. “The lives and times of the baby boomers.” In The American People: Census 2000, 224–55, 2005.

O’Rand, A. M. “When old age begins: Implications for health, work and retirement.” In Age-Based Public Policy in the 21st Century, edited by R. B. Hudson. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

O’Rand, A. M. “The future of the life course: Late modernity and life course risks..” In Handbook of the Life Course, edited by J. T. Mortimer and M. Shanahan, 693–701. New York: Plenum, 2003.

O’Rand, A. M. “Retirement patterns.” In The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Aging, edited by D. J. Ekerdt. New York: Macmillan, 2001.

O’Rand, A. M. “Perpetuating women’s disadvantage: trends in U.S. private pensions, 1976-1995.” In Women, Work and Pensions: International Issues and Prospects, edited by J. Ginn, S. Arber, and D. Street, 230–56. Buckingham UK: Open University Press, 2001.

O Rand, A. M. “Stratification and the life course: the forms of life course capital and their interrelationships.” In Handbook on Aging and the Social Sciences, edited by R. B. Binstock and L. K. George, 197–216. New York: Academic Press, 2001.

O Rand, A. M. “Women: their changing status (pp. 1061); Gender (pp. 414-415); and The employee income retirement security act (ERISA) (pp. 330-331).” In The Encyclopedia of Aging, edited by G. L. Maddox. New York: Springer, 2000.

O Rand, A. M. “Risk, rationality and modernity: Social policy and the aging self.” In Societal Impact on the Aging Self, edited by K. W. Schaie and J. Hendricks, 225–49. Springer, 2000.

O Rand, A. M. “Social inequality.” In The Encyclopedia of Sociology, edited by E. F. Borgatta and M. L. Borgatta, 4:2690–95. MacMillan, 2000.


Elman, C., and A. M. O’Rand. “The effects of social origins, life events, and institutional sorting on adults' school transitions.” Social Science Research 36, no. 3 (September 1, 2007): 1276–99. Full Text

O’Rand, A. M., and K. M. Shuey. “Gender and the devolution of pension risks in the US.” Current Sociology 55, no. 2 (March 1, 2007): 287–304. Full Text

Hamil-Luker, Jenifer, and Angela M. O’Rand. “Gender differences in the link between childhood socioeconomic conditions and heart attack risk in adulthood..” Demography 44, no. 1 (February 2007): 137–58. Full Text

O’Rand, A. M., and Kim Shuey. “Old and New Risks for Workers.” Research on Aging 28 (2006): 317–40.

O’Rand, Angela M., and Jenifer Hamil-Luker. “Processes of cumulative adversity: childhood disadvantage and increased risk of heart attack across the life course..” J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 60 Spec No 2 (October 2005): 117–24. Full Text

Shuey, K. M., and A. M. O’Rand. “New risks for workers: Pensions, labor markets, and gender.” Annual Review of Sociology 30 (September 9, 2004): 453–77. Full Text

Elman, Cheryl, and A. M. O’Rand. “The race is to the swift: socioeconomic origins, adult education and mid-life economic attainment..” American Journal of Sociology 110 (2004).

O’Rand, A. M. “Cumulative Advantage Theory in Aging Research.” Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics Special Issue (2003): 14–30.