Biosocial Interactions

Biosocial Interactions

Human outcomes are determined by a complex interplay of biological and social  processes. Biosocial Interactions—the newest of OPR’s primary research areas—focuses on three principal topics: allostatic load, epigenetics, and telomere length.

It has long been known that exposure to stress increases allostatic load through the release of cortisol and other steroids into the bloodstream. When exposure to stress becomes chronic (for example, because of violence and instability within families, neighborhoods, or schools), an excessive allostatic load may be produced with far-reaching negative effects on health, behavior, and cognition (Goldman; McLanahan, Notterman).

New scientific work also indicates that genes are not simply inherited and automatically expressed, but are turned on and off  through interactions with the environment. For both animals and human beings, the critical environment is social, and exposure to advantage or disadvantage because of one's structural position in society can strongly affect gene expression (Conley; Altmann). Indeed, research indicates that methylation triggered by environmental interactions may permanently modify genetic material in ways that can be inherited.

Finally, research on telomeres illustrates how exposure to stressful environments can affect health and wellbeing at the chromosomal level. Telomeres are nucleotide sequences found at the ends of each chromatid. They protect the ends from deterioration and possible mingling with other strands of DNA or RNA. With repeated cell divisions in the course of normal aging, telomeres are progressively shortened, thereby increasing the likelihood of abnormal outcomes and adverse medical conditions. Exposure to chronic stress is another factor that can hasten the shortening of telomeres.

Publications

Conley, D. (2020). Toward a two-dimensional conception of socioeconomic status for health policy. Milbank Quarterly Opinion, December 17 doi:

https://doi.org/10.1599/mqop.2020.1217

Conley, D. (2020). Who you gonna call? COVID-19 and the future of telemedicine. Milbank Quarterly Opinion, July 15 doi:

https://doi.org/10.1599/mqop.2020.0715

Conley, D., & Schanzenbach, D. W. (2020). Invest in school-based health centers to improve child health. Milbank Quarterly Opinion, December 23 doi:

https://doi.org/10.1599/mqop.2020.1224

Johnson, T., Dawes, C. T., & Conley, D. (2020). How does a statistician raise an army? the time when john W. tukey, a team of luminaries, and a statistics graduate student repaired the vietnam selective service lotteries. The American Statistician, 74(2), 190. doi:DOI: 10.1080/00031305.2019.1677267

McMartin, A., & Conley, D. (2020). Commentary: Mendelian randomization and education-challenges remain. International Journal of Epidemiology, 49(1), 1193. doi:doi: 10.1093/ije/dyaa160
PMID: 33029641

McMartin, A., & Conley, D. (2020). Commentary: Mendelian randomization and education–Challenges remain  . International Journal of Epidemiology, 49(4), 1193. doi:

https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyaa160

Mostafavi, H., Harpak, A., Agarwal, I., Conley, D., Pritchard, J. K., & Przeworski, M. (2020). Variable prediction accuracy of polygenic scores within an ancestry group. Elife, 9, e48376. doi:

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.48376
PMCID7067566

Hendi, Arun S., Irma T. Elo, and Pekka Martikainen. 2021. “The Implications of Changing Education Distributions for Life Expectancy Gradients.” Forthcoming at Social Science & Medicine.

Vierboom, Yana C., Samuel H. Preston, and Arun S. Hendi. 2019. “Rising Geographic Inequality in Mortality in the United States.” Social Science & Medicine – Population Health 9: 100478. (PMCID: PMC6804490).

Hendi, Arun S. 2019. “Proximate Sources of Change in Trajectories of American First Marriage, 1960-2010.” Demography 56(3): 835-862. (PMCID: PMC6827978)

Qin B, Babel RA, Plascak JJ, et al. Neighborhood Social Environmental Factors and Breast Cancer Subtypes among Black Women. Forthcoming.

Goldman N. Nathan Keyfitz. In:  SAGE Research Methods Foundations. ; Forthcoming.

Plascak JJ, Llanos AAM, Qin B, et al. Visual Cues of the Built Environment and Perceived Stress among a Cohort of Black Breast Cancer SurvivorsHealth & Place. 2021;67. Publisher's Version

Andrasfay T, Goldman N. Reductions in 2020 US Life Expectancy Due to COVID-19 and the Disproportionate Impact on the Black and Latino PopulationsProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2021;118 (5). Publisher's Version

Andrasfay T, Goldman N. American Inequality, Felt Painfully at BirthNY Daily News. 2020. Publisher's Version

Andrasfay T, Goldman N. Physical Functioning and Survival: Is the Link Weaker among Latino and Black Older Adults?Social Science & Medicine. 2020;255. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Beltrán-Sánchez H, Goldman N, Pebley AR, Morales JF. Calloused Hands, Shorter Life? Occupation and Older Age Survival in MexicoDemographic Research. 2020;42 :875-900. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Andrasfay T, Goldman N. Intergenerational Change in Birthweight: Effects of Foreign-born Status and Race/EthnicityEpidemiology. 2020;31 (5) :649-658. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Gaydosh L, Belsky D, Glei D, Goldman N. Testing proposed quanitifications of biological aging in Taiwanese older adultsThe Journals of Gerontology: Series A. 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Corman JC, Glei DA, Goldman N, Weinstein M. Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging StudyEncyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Verissimo J, Rugg MD, Pullman MY, et al. Early-Life Education May Help Bolster Declarative Memory in Old Age, Especially for WomenAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition. 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Glei D, Goldman N, Weinstein M. A Growing Socioeconomic Divide: Effects of the Great Recession on Perceived Economic Distress in the United StatesPLOS ONE. 2019. Publisher's VersionAbstrac

Projects

Dalton Conley - Connected Learning Research Network

Dalton Conley - Genetic analysis of the Dutch Hunger Winter Families Study to Boost Rigor and Robustness for Testing In-Utero Famine Effects on Aging-Related Health Conditions and
Biological Aging

Dalton Conley - GxE and Health Inequality Over the Life Course

Dalton Conley - Understanding the Interplay of Genes and Environment in U.S. Families to Improve Child Health: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

Noreen Goldman - New Jersey Alliance for Clinical Translational Science: NJ ACTS

Noreen Goldman - Social Disparities in Physical Functioning by Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration Status

Sara McLanahan - Beyond Abuse and Neglect: Universal Approaches to Promoting Healthy Development in the First Years of Life

Sara McLanahan - Effects of Poverty on Affective Development: A Multi-Level, Longitudinal Study

Sara McLanahan - Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing in Adolescence

Sara McLanahan - Future of Children: "Reducing Justice System Inequality"

Sara McLanahan - Future of Children: "University-Agency Partnerships to Strengthen Preschool: Improving Preschool at Scale"

Sara McLanahan - Future of Children: Culture and Social Mobility

Sara McLanahan - Future of Children: Prenatal to Age Three

Sara McLanahan - Future of Children: Social-Emotional Learning

Sara McLanahan - Future of Children: University - Agency Partnerships to Strengthen Preschool: Improving Preschool at Scale

Sara McLanahan - Future of Children: University-Agency Partnerships to Strengthen Preschool: Improving Preschool at Scale

Sara McLanahan - Improving Opportunities for Urban Youth: What Can We Learn from City Comparisons?

Sara McLanahan - Reducing Justice System Inequality

Sara McLanahan - The Future of Children Conference and Volume on Universal Approaches to Child Maltreatment Prevention

Daniel Notterman - Agreement #1078: Institutional Career Development Core

Daniel Notterman - Biological and Social Mediators of Child Wellbeing Among Ethnic Groups in Fragile Families

Daniel Notterman - Biopsychosocial Determinants of Sleep and Wellbeing for Teens in Fragile Families

Daniel Notterman - Epigenetic Mediation of Adverse Social Context on Stress Response, Socioemotional Development, and Health in a Population-based Study of Minority and Low SES Children and Adolescents

Daniel Notterman - Financial Distress, DNA Methylation, and Children's Behavioral Problems

Daniel Notterman - Measurement Error in Population Health Inequity Research using Novel Biomeasures

Daniel Notterman - New Jersey Alliance for Clinical Translational Science: NJ ACTS - ADMIN

Daniel Notterman - New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science: NJ ACTS

Daniel Notterman - New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science: NJ ACTS - TL1 Awards

Daniel Notterman - Reciprocal Genetic-Environmental Interactions During Childhood and Adolescence

Daniel Notterman - The Fragile Families Cardiovascular Health Follow Up Study