Intergenerational Studies


This area of research is benefitting from the application of some of the newest interdisciplinary methods in social science, including groundbreaking research led by CPHA Scholars. The Center’s work moves beyond specific cohorts to examine the influence of lineage on the aging process. Studies focus on both the social and biological transmission of health and longevity risks.

Prominent projects at CPHA addressing these concerns include:

  • The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study carried out by Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi use family medical histories and genetics to identify patients who may have a higher-than-usual chance of developing a medical condition, such as high blood pressure, stroke or cancer.
  • The Add Health Parent Study (AHPS) directed bV. Joseph Hotz and Kathleen Mullan Harris (UNC) collects data from the parents of the original Add Health panel and adds this new parent information to the existing panel. Designed to improve the understanding of the role that families play through socioeconomic channels in the health and wellbeing of the older, parent generation and that of their offspring, this dataset uniquely supports analysis of the intergenerational transmission of (dis)advantage.
  • Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study (E-risk) also led by Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi tracks the effects of exposures to stress and adversity on biological and psychological development in 2,200 individuals followed from birth in 1994-95 to age 18. The study seeks to understand the interaction of biological and social factors in aging and also to continue to exploit twin data using modern epigenetic methods.
  • The Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Study (CLHLS) directed by Yi Zeng includes samples of paired elderly adults and their children across eight provinces in China to identify the impact of region and social change on family relationships, health and mortality across gender.