Sarah O. Meadows

Photo of Sarah Meadows
Senior Sociologist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology, Duke University; B.A. in sociology and psychology, University of Virginia

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

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Sarah O. Meadows is a senior sociologist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research areas include families and children (both civilian and military) and defense manpower issues, with a particular focus on readiness and resilience. Her recent work has focused on health and health behaviors among service members, readiness and resilience among military families, and program evaluation of support services for military families. Her work has been published in RAND reports as well as in numerous academic journals. Meadows received her Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from Duke University and her B.A. in sociology and psychology from the University of Virginia. She also completed a postdoc at the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton University.

Recent Projects

  • 2018 DoD Health Related Behaviors Survey
  • 2015 DoD Health Related Behaviors Survey
  • The Deployment Life Study
  • Readiness and resilience among servicemembers and families
  • Program evaluation of support services for service members and their families

Selected Publications

Dunbar, Michael S., Megan S. Schuler, Sarah O. Meadows, and Charles Engel, "Associations Between Mental and Physical Health Conditions and Occupational Impairments in the U.S. Military.," Military Medicine (forthcoming)

Sarah O. Meadows, Beth Ann Griffin, Benjamin R. Karney, and Julia Pollak, "Employment Gaps between Military Spouses and Matched Civilians," Armed Forces and Society (forthcoming)

Thomas E. Trail, Sarah O. Meadows, Jeremy N.V. Miles, and Benjamin R. Karney, "Patterns of Vulnerabilities and Resources in U.S. Military Families," Journal of Family Issues (forthcoming)

Sarah O. Meadows, "The Association Between Perceptions of Social Support and Maternal Mental Health Problems: A Cumulative Perspective," Journal of Family Issues, 2010

Sarah O. Meadows, "Family Structure and Fathers' Well-Being: Trajectories of Mental and Physical Health," Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 50(2), 2009

Carey C. Cooper, Sara S. McLanahan, Sarah O. Meadows, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, "Family Structure Transitions and Maternal Parenting Stress," Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 2009

Sarah O. Meadows, "Is It There When You Need It? Mismatch in Perception of Future Availability and Subsequent Receipt of Instrumental Social Support," Journal of Family Issues, 30(8), 2009

Sarah O. Meadows, Sara S. McLanahan, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, "Stability and Change in Family Structure and Maternal Health Trajectories," American Sociological Review, 73(April), 2008

Honors & Awards

  • Reuben Hill Award, National Counsel on Family Relations
  • Best Social Indicators Research Paper Award, International Society for Quality of Life Studies


  • A soldier deployed in Iraq video chats with his wife and children

    Study Finds Most Military Families Are Resilient in Face of Deployment

    Despite the fact that service members, spouses, and their children experience frequent deployments to combat zones throughout the world, a recent study of more than 2,700 military families found that they generally fare well and adapt effectively to the stresses of deployment.

    Apr 22, 2016 The RAND Blog

  • A returning U.S. soldier getting hugged by his family

    Military Families: What We Know and What We Don't Know

    Never before in our nation's history have our service members and their families been so challenged and never before have their struggles (and successes) been the topic of so much scholarly attention, writes Sarah O. Meadows.

    Mar 2, 2012 National Council on Family Relations Report Magazine