Sarah Halpern-MeekinVaughan Bascom Professor of Women, Family and Community | Professor of Human Development & Family Studies

I am a sociologist who uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study romantic relationships and low-income families’ finances, as well as government policies directed at both of these areas.

My current research includes longitudinally following how mothers who are low income when their child is born experience a program that provides them with monthly unconditional cash gifts; understanding the lives of prime-age men who are out of the labor force (neither working nor seeking a formal job); and studying the role of relationship churning — on-again/off-again relationships — in the lives of parents and their children.

Selected Publications

Halpern-Meekin, S. (2020). Social Poverty and Relational Resources. Contexts, 19(2), 40-45.

Turney, K., & Halpern-Meekin, S. (2020). Parental Relationship Churning and Adolescent Well-Being: Examining Instability Within Families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 82(3), 965-980.

Halpern-Meekin, S., Costanzo, M., Ehrenthal, D., & Rhoades, G. (2019). Intimate Partner Violence Screening in the Prenatal Period: Variation by State, Insurance, and Patient Characteristics. Maternal and Child Health Review, 23(6), 756–767.

Tach, L., Halpern-Meekin, S., Edin, K., & Amorim, M. (2019). As Good as Money in the Bank”: Building a Personal Safety Net with the Earned Income Tax Credit. Social Problems, 66(2), 274-293.

Halpern-Meekin, S., & Turney, K. (2018). Relationship Churning and Desistance From Intimate Abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence36(11-12), 5685–5708.

For a full list of publications, see Halpern-Meekin’s CV.

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See Also

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  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • MS Human Ecology
  • PhD Human Ecology: Human Development & Family Studies



  • Postdoctoral fellow, National Center for Family & Marriage Research, Bowling Green State University
  • PhD, Sociology and Social Policy, Harvard University
  • BA, Politics, Brandeis University


Office: 4107 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-263-4691