The NIA supported Research Network on Animal Models to Understand Social Dimensions of Aging , under the leadership of  Jenny Tung, Duke University, Alessandro Bartolomucci,  University of Minnesota, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, UNC, recently awarded its 2021-2022 pilot Project Awards.  The goal of the Pilot Program is to support projects  focused on animal models or comparative studies relevant for understanding the social determinants of health and aging, and to generate key preliminary data for future NIH grant applications, publications, and other scientific products.

We've all had to deal with breakups — with close friends or romantic partners. But breakups aren't a uniquely human phenomenon. Our primate cousins do it too. Robert Seyfarth, a primatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, says there are a number of ways a breakup can go down in a group of primates. "We have known for years that primate groups, like baboons and other African monkeys and chimpanzees and gorillas, that they grow in size. And at a certain point, they may split apart," Seyfarth said. "The question was, how do they decide who goes with whom? Are they banding together with a tight little group of kin and splitting off in that group? Or is there some despot that is determining what they're doing?" Now a group of scientists has come up with an answer. Groups of baboons seem to split into two smaller groups in a cooperative way, rather than at the whims of a tyrannical baboon. And as in the human world, these breakups can take months or years.

Psychologist Terrie Moffitt has won the 2022 Grawemeyer Award in Psychology for shedding new light on the nature of juvenile crime. Moffitt, a Duke University psychologist and King’s College, London, social development professor, discovered two types of antisocial behavior in juveniles. One persists from early childhood to adulthood, is relatively rare and seen mostly in males, while the other occurs only in adolescence and is seen in both males and females. Although both types appear to be the same on psychological tests and in illegal behaviors, Moffitt found they are distinctly different, an insight that has changed the way the courts prosecute juveniles.

Lisa Gennetian  and Marta Tienda, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University, co-edited a recent volume of The Annals  of the American Academy of Political and Social Science titled Investing in Latino Children and Youth. Their introduction summarizes the volume’s contributions and policy implications across its broad coverage of topics in housing, education, health, and social policy, considering geographic variation and diversity of Latinx children and youth.

In newly published  research, DUPRI  investigators, Kenneth Dodge and Jennifer Lansford and their colleagues, take advantage of the longitudinal design of the Parenting Across Cultures (PAC) Study, the  Great Smoky Mountain Study (GSMS), the Fast Track Study, the Prospective Study of Infant Development (PSID) and the Child Development Project (CDP) that include data collected before and within 90-days after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to show a significant increase, across low and middle income families, in the rate of alcohol and illicit substance use problems among adults without children, parents and adolescents.

Duke Predoctoral students, Liann Tucker (Sociology), Ruth Wygle (Sociology), Sarah Petry (Sanford School of Public Policy), and Lindsay Yingzhi Xu   (Sociology),  will participate  in  the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) Annual Academy, December 1-3, 2021. The International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (IMPRS-PHDS), hosts a unique three-year doctoral program that merges demography, epidemiology and data science. The program equips doctoral students not only with advanced knowledge of the theory and methods of demography and epidemiology, but also with strong technical skills in statistics, mathematical modeling, and computational and data management methods. Duke University is one of 10 academic institutions throughout the world that are affiliated with the program, offering  students this exceptional training opportunity.

Duke Population Research Institute Representation at the 2021 Gerontological Society of America (GSA) (Virtual) Scientific Meeting Konstantin Arbeev, Associate Research Professor, SSRI, Duke University Presentation Title: Genes Involved in Physiological Dysregulation and Decline in Resilience: Role in Alzheimer’s Disease  Session: Novel Genetic and Cognitive Findings From the Long Life Family Study Saturday November 13, 2021 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM Konstantin Arbeev, Associate Research Professor, SSRI, Duke University Presentation Title: Expanding the Scope of Administrative Health Records Through Advanced Statistical Methods Session: Expanding the Scope of Administrative Health Records Through Advanced Statistical Methods Friday November 12, 2021 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (see full posting for complete listing)

A new study by Anna Gassman-Pines, Associate Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke, finds that parents' and children’s distress and food insecurity (FI) both spiked with COVID-19 school closures in March 2020, but families recovered from the spike in FI in the months that followed, as food insecurity decreased most among those who received the local food assistance program. Most measures of parents’ psychological distress remained elevated over time as parents sought to juggle child care and education demands and their own work, but parent depression or worry decreased as plans were made to address the immediate consequences of the pandemic. The data come from daily reports on FI and parent and child mood and behavior collected in a text message survey from January to May 2020 and administered to families participating in a local food assistance program in rural Pennsylvania.

Using data from two longitudinal studies, Fast Track and the Child Development Project, Jennifer Lansford, Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke, Kenneth Dodge, William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Studies at Duke, and colleagues examined how an individual’s attitudes toward peers and an individual's substance use develops from early adolescence to middle adulthood. This study found that peer selection may influence substance use more than influence and that perceptions of peers’ substance use in early adulthood predicted adults’ use in their fourth decade for cannabis, alcohol and opioids. Intervention efforts sometimes attempt to change norms about substance use by providing adolescents with information that their peers engage in less substance use or are less approving of substance use than individuals perceive them to be . An implication study findings for prevention efforts is that attempts to change individuals’ own use directly may be as effective as efforts to change individuals’ perceptions of peer norms.

In their Science Review, Christopher Wildeman, Professor of Sociology, Duke University, and  co-author, Hedwig Lee, Professor of Sociology, University of Washington, St. Louis,  assess how mass incarceration  has affected families over the past five decades. Wildeman and Lee find that nearly half of all young adults in the U.S. have an immediate family member who has been jailed. Through their analysis, they reach several  conclusions. First, family member incarceration is now common for American families. Second, individuals who will eventually have a family member incarcerated are worse off than those who never will, even before the incarceration takes place. Third, family member incarceration has negative effects on families above and beyond these preexisting disadvantages. And finally, policy interventions that address the precursors to family member incarceration and seek to minimize family member incarceration would best enhance family well-being. Authors content that if the goal is to help all American families thrive, then the importance of simultaneous changes in social and criminal justice policy cannot be overstated.