CU Population Center (CUPC) affiliates conduct research on adolescent health, health conditions (including HIV/AIDS), health behaviors, and health disparities, and are quickly delving into the emerging field of biodemography. Within the study of health, research by CUPC affiliates can be categorized into four broad arenas:
Adolescent Health: CUPC affiliates have studied health conditions and health and risk behavior of adolescents for over 30 years. Especially important contributions have been made with regard to understanding adolescent perceptions of health risk and the ways in which these risk perceptions shape protective activities. Specific studies have examined adolescent/young adult problem behavior (problem drinking; illicit drug use; cigarette smoking; and early, unprotected sexual intercourse), health behavior (involvement in regular exercise regimens; eating and dietary practices; and safety behavior), and prosocial behavior (community volunteer activity and church attendance).
Health Behaviors: Center affiliates also examine a number of health behaviors, including smoking and other drug use/abuse. In particular, comparative studies have been undertaken of cigarette smoking by gender, socioeconomic status, and age. In addition, affiliates have explored the ways in which drug use and abuse are socially patterned.
Health Disparities: There is an increased interest in health and mortality disparities both nationally and internationally. Especially disconcerting, in some countries and subpopulations, the disparity is widening rather than narrowing over time. Ongoing work of several CUPC affiliates has examined the effects of socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, sex, and government policies on health disparities.
Biodemography: CUPC is expanding its collaborative ties with CU-Boulder’s Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) and the General Clinical Research Center to contribute to the emerging area of biodemography. In particular, several affiliates are exploring the direct and interactive effects of genetic, social, behavioral, and environmental influences on the development of complex traits and common diseases in two large nationally representative samples.