Eileen Anderson-Fye

Robson Junior Professor, Associate Professor

Eileen Anderson-Fye

Dr. Anderson-Fye’s research investigates the well-being of adolescents and youth in contexts of socio-cultural change.  She seeks to explain how adolescents—already going through normative developmental changes—make sense of changing contexts around them in ways that help and hinder their physical and mental health.  Her work explores how their subjective sense of well-being impacts overall well-being.  An important corollary goal of her research is to identify interventions in practice and policy to enhance young people’s well-being.

To date, Dr. Anderson-Fye has advanced this research through three major projects: (1) longitudinal study of the first mass-educated cohort of Belizean schoolgirls; (2) global youth obesity stigma; and (3) college student psychiatric medication experiences.  The first project is a longitudinal, mixed-methods, ethnographic examination of the well-being of the first cohort of mass high school-educated young women in a rapidly changing community in Belize, Central America.  This work explores the role of secondary education as a mediator of globalizing cultural change in subjective and objective outcomes.  The rapidly changing socio-cultural and economic context brought challenges and opportunities that these young women negotiated in innovative ways to achieve better lives. Select publications from this research can be found here.  Dr. Anderson-Fye is now conducting a comprehensive mixed-methods follow-up study (NSF BCS-1261814) centering around the effects of secondary education over time on (1) prevention of gender-based maltreatment, (2) body image, (3) employment and economic self-sufficiency, and (4) child bearing and rearing.

Dr. Anderson-Fye has conducted extensive research on body image, disordered eating, and most recently, obesity stigma.  In 2012, she launched a mixed-methods cross-cultural exploratory project on the ethnography of global obesity stigma among upwardly mobile young people in Belize, Jamaica, and Nepal (NSF EAGER BCS-1244944).  She runs this multi-sited fieldwork with a team of graduate and undergraduate students.  This year the project is expanding to include field sites in Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, and the United States.  The role of fat stigma has received modest scholarly attention, but could be important in explaining complex patterns of increasing disordered eating and body image issues around the world.  In conjunction with this research, Dr. Anderson-Fye is co-hosting a School for American Research seminar in March 2014 titled, Obesity, Upward Mobility, and Symbolic Body Capital in a Rapidly Changing World.  Select culture and body image publications can be found here.

Dr. Anderson-Fye’s third major area of research involves college student psychiatric medication experience at North American university campuses.  College students medicated with psychotropic drugs—totaling more than 20% of the North American college population—often undergo a normative sociocultural change when they transition from the family home to a peer-based residential environment.  This shift is significant in students’ mental health management and ultimate well-being, yet little is known about their experiences and choices.  Her multi-disciplinary team of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students investigated college students’ experiences of psychotropic medication usage on multiple North American campuses.  Dr. Anderson-Fye is writing a book manuscript about this work and also has published journal articles in multiple fields.

Dr. Anderson-Fye teaches courses in medical and psychological anthropology and human development.  She is program faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Child Studies at CWRU and co-leads an interdisciplinary multi-institutional group in Medical Humanities and Social Medicine.  In 2013 Dr. Anderson-Fye won the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (http://thedaily.case.edu/news/?p=17299) and the Jessica Melton Perry Award for Excellence in Teaching Disciplinary Writing. In 2012 she received the  John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Mentoring (cwru-daily.com/news/eileen-anderson-fye-wins-diekhoff-award-for-outstanding-graduate-student-mentoring/).  A video about her mentoring can be found here: http://www.case.edu/stage/video/.

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