Leaders in life course studies for over forty years, CPHA Scholars focus on research that examines the pace and trajectory of aging, and investigate the causes of morbidity and mortality. Aging is a lifelong process anchored in pre-natal childhood circumstances, and conditioned by experiences and exposures to risks and resources over time. The study of this process requires the integration of biological, environmental and social data to understand the manifold pathways of the life course.
CPHA scholars have contributed to this “long view” of the life course using many existing databases, including many public domain studies such as the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), and National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS), and original Data Collections under Duke leadership.
Illustrative CPHA projects in this thematic area include:
- Scott Lynch studies the impact educational and income inequality on trajectories of health and mortality in his project Understanding US Regional Health and Mortality Disparities: A Life Course Approach.
- Using the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS), Yi Zeng explores which determinants from a large set of social, behavioral, biological and environmental risk factors are important for healthy longevity.
- Using the Health Retirement Study, Dan Belsky studies a wide-range of life course outcomes that are associated with genetic heterogeneity, including the risk of depression following death of a spouse and how genetics underlying educational attainment shape life course social success.
- Tyson Brown investigates the intersectionality of race, ethnicity and gender and the heterogeneity in age trajectories of health across adulthood and investigates race, structural disadvantage, stress and health in later life using the HRS.
- Jen’nan Read uses the American Community Survey (ACS) focusing on gender, age, health and ethnicity to investigate diversity in white ethnic identities and their associations with different patterns of disability and self-assessed health.
- Kaare Christensen focuses on understanding the pathways responsible for exceptional longevity in certain families that could lead to the discovery of targets for therapy or prevention in the wider population using data from the Long-Life Family Study (LLFS).