In the introduction to  the RSF Journal of the Social Sciences journal volume edited by Christina Gibson-Davis, Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, and Heather Hill, Professor in the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington, authors examine the impact of wealth on child well-being, such as in the quality of childcare and education, as well as instability in the home and community.

In  a recent publication in the Journal of Research in Adolescence, Kenneth A. Dodge, William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University,  Jennifer Lansford, Research Scientist at the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy, and colleagues, investigate slow life history strategies and increases in externalizing (anger and argumentativeness) an internalizing (anxiety and depression) problems among US youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duke University’s James Moody, Professor in the Department of Sociology, and collaborators Lisa Keister, Professor in the Department of Sociology, and Dana Pasquale, Instructor in the Department of Population and Health Sciences, intend to build  and test a fully integrated Agent Based Model (ABM) of disease spread and socio-economic outcomes, under their recently funded NICHD R21 award, “Economic security and health disparity in COVID-19: A computational modeling approach.” Typical models for epidemic spread ignore social differentiation by race/ethnicity, working status, and social context despite the importance of these factors in fundamentally shaping epidemic exposure risk, burden of disease, and the resulting economic hardships associated with disease and disease mitigation efforts. Alternatively, Agent- based models (ABM) provide an approach that can more easily account for differential exposure, care heterogeneity, and sociologically relevant behavioral feedback processes that internally shape disease transmission, job insecurity, savings, and activity.

Sociology and health policy scholar Tyson Brown has been named the inaugural Presidential Fellow by Duke President Vincent E. Price. The one-year, part-time fellowship is designed to prepare promising mid-career faculty members for future leadership roles and to engage them in the administration of the university. Brown is associate professor of sociology, director of the Center on Health & Society, and a DUPRI Scholar. His research explores connections between social and health inequities. Most recently he has focused on identifying the structural and psychosocial mechanisms behind disparities in the health of older Americans.

DUPRI is pleased to announce a recent NICHD R25 award (1R25HD105602) to a consortium of several population research centers, including the Duke Population Research Center, to fund NextGenPop (Recruiting the Next Generation of Scholars into Population Research). This program will use the pressing growth of inequality as a lens for studying population composition and change, with the goal of increasing the pipeline of undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds into the population sciences.  It has three specific aims: 1) to introduce advanced undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to foundational demographic concepts and tools; 2) to integrate students’ training in research and professional development; 3) to foster ongoing engagement of program participants in population research and allied fields.

Matthew Dupre (PI) and Scott Lynch (Co-I) were recently awarded $2 million from NIH for an R01 study that will integrate risk trajectories and social determinants to enhance cardiovascular risk assessment in older adults. Funded by the National Institute on Aging, the study is a collaborative effort among faculty from the Department of Sociology, Population Health Sciences, School of Nursing, and the University of Texas Southwestern.

Anna Gassman-Pines, WLF Bass Connections associate professor of public policy, psychology and neuroscience and DUPRI Scholar has received an award from the American Psychological Association (APA.) It is the Mid-career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Benefit Children, Youth and Families.

Most of us remember a time when we could eat anything we wanted and not gain weight. But a new study suggests your metabolism -- the rate at which you burn calories -- actually peaks much earlier in life, and starts its inevitable decline later than you might guess. These findings were published Aug. 12 in the journal Science. “There are lots of physiological changes that come with growing up and getting older,” said study co-author, DUPRI’s  Herman Pontzer, associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. “Think puberty, menopause, other phases of life. What's weird is that the timing of our ‘metabolic life stages’ doesn't seem to match those typical milestones.” Pontzer and an international team of scientists analyzed the average calories burned by more than 6,600 people ranging from one week old to age 95 as they went about their daily lives in 29 countries worldwide.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a serious and prolonged public health emergency. Older adults have been at substantially greater risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission and death due to COVID-19. As of February 2021, over 81% of COVID-19-related deaths in the US occurred in people over the age of 65. Growing evidence  from around the world suggests that age is the greatest risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness and for the experience of adverse health outcomes. Effectively communicating health-related risk information requires tailoring interventions to the needs of older adults.

Despite overall improvements in health and living standards in the Western world, health and social disadvantages persist across generations. Using linked nationwide administrative databases for 2.1 million Danish citizens across multiple generations, DUPRI’s Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt together with Leah Richmond-Rakerd at the University of Michigan and Signe Hald Andersen, Rockwool Foundation Research Unit, Denmark,  leveraged a unique three-generation approach to test whether different health and social disadvantages—poor physical health, poor mental health, social welfare dependency, criminal offending, and Child Protective Services involvement—were transmitted within families and whether education disrupted these associations.