Cowan studies secrets. She is interested in when and why people conceal information about themselves and others and the effects of these acts of concealment on social influence, behavior and attitudes. Her work has examined abortion and miscarriage secrets in the United States and Americans keeping their political attitudes secret. Her next project examines the revelation and concealment of cancer diagnoses.
In the News
Examines who hears what secrets, comparing two similar secrets - one which is highly stigmatized and one which is less so. Considers the macro-consequences of patterned secret-keeping and disclosure.
Looks at the electoral standard of “one person, one vote” and the conditions in which it ensures or fails to achieve both representational equality and vote equality.
Provides the first set of cohort abortion measures for the United States. Finds stability in the distribution of abortion by abortion order and the racial composition of abortion incidences.
Argues that stigma may exacerbate the stress associated with mortgage strain and contribute to poor mental health, particularly among upwardly mobile African Americans who have overcome significant structural barriers to home ownership.