Department of Sociology University of Oregon

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Robert O'Brien


720 PLC
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
Phone: (541) 346-1328
Fax: (541) 346-5026

Professor O'Brien earned his B.S. in Psychology (1967) from Pomona College and his M.S. (1970) and Ph.D. (1973) in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin. He taught at California State College at San Bernardino from 1973 to 1981 and joined the faculty at the University of Oregon in 1981. He has served as Department Head at both San Bernardino and Oregon and as Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences (with oversight for the social sciences and curriculum) for three years (1998-2001). Professor O'Brien's current project (with Jean Stockard) provides an explanation for shifts in age distribution of both homicides (offenses and deaths) and suicides.

Research Interests

  • criminology
  • crime rate trends
  • ecology of crime
  • research methods and statistics
  • structural equation models
  • age-period-cohort models

Teaching Areas

  • criminology
  • research methods
  • statistical methods

Courses Taught

SOC 312 Quantitative Methods in Sociology
SOC 412 Sociological Research Methods
SOC 484 Issues in Deviance, Control and Crime

Selected Articles

Forthcoming. "UCR Violent Crime Rates, 1958-2000: Recorded and Offender-Generated Trends." Social Science Research.

2002 "Cohort Effects on Suicide Rates: International Variations" American Sociological Review 2002, 67, 6, Dec, 854-872. Coauthored: Robert M. O'Brien and Jean Stockard.

2002 "Cohort Variations and Changes in Age-Specific Suicide Rates over Time: Explaining Variations in Youth Suicide." Social Forces 2002, 81, 2, Dec, 605-642. Coauthored: Robert M. O'Brien and Jean Stockard.

2002 "Variations in age-specific homicide death rates: a cohort explanation for changes in the agedistribution of homicide rates" Social Science Research 31:124-150 Coauthored: Robert M. O'Brien and Jean Stockard.

2001 "Theory, identification, operationalization, and the interpretation of different differences in time series models." Journal of Quantitative Criminology 17:359-375

2000 "Crime rates." Pp. 490-502 in The Encyclopedia of Sociology (Second Edition): Volume 1, edited by E.F. Borgatta and R.J.V. Montgomery. New York: Macmillan.

2000 "Levels of analysis." Pp. 1591-1596 in The Encyclopedia of Sociology (Second Edition):Volume 3, edited by E.F. Borgatta and R.J.V. Montgomery. New York: Macmillan.

2000 "Crime facts: victim and offender data." Pp. 58-83 in Criminology: A Contemporary Handbook(3rd Edition), edited by Joseph F. Sheley. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

2000 "Age period cohort characteristic models." Social Science Research 29:123-139.

1999 "Measuring the convergence of 'serious crime' arrest rates for males and females: 1960 - 1995." Journal of Quantitative Criminology 15:97-114.


Ph.D. -- Wisconsin