Social science research engagement with biological concepts and measures has the potential to illuminate the mechanisms through which socioeconomic, demographic, and psychosocial factors shape human development within the contexts of everyday life. Understanding biological processes and their interactions with social and behavioral processes can help identify which aspects of social and physical environments are most detrimental to health and socioeconomic well-being. It can also point toward resiliency and protective factors that buffer groups of individuals from the adverse effects of these environmental exposures.
Demographer Kathleen Harris and anthropologist Thomas McDade will organize a symposium and co-edit an upcoming issue of the RSF Journal that investigates the biosocial pathways of well-being across the life course. The issue will feature seven articles that examine both how biological mechanisms influence social and economic outcomes, and how social and economic contexts and processes shape biological function and the emergence of health inequalities. The focus of the issue will be on these processes and not specific disease outcomes in order to promote research that can inform policies that reduce social and health inequalities more broadly.