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Consensus Study Report


Biosocial Surveys analyzes the latest research on the increasing number of multipurpose household surveys that collect biological data along with the more familiar interviewer–respondent information. This book serves as a follow-up to the 2003 volume, Cells and Surveys: Should Biological Measures Be Included in Social Science Research? and asks these questions: What have the social sciences, especially demography, learned from those efforts and the greater interdisciplinary communication that has resulted from them? Which biological or genetic information has proven most useful to researchers? How can better models be developed to help integrate biological and social science information in ways that can broaden scientific understanding? This volume contains a collection of 17 papers by distinguished experts in demography, biology, economics, epidemiology, and survey methodology. It is an invaluable sourcebook for social and behavioral science researchers who are working with biosocial data.

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2008. Biosocial Surveys. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

428 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-10867-6
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-16437-5
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xiv
Introduction--James W. Vaupel, Kenneth W. Wachter, and Maxine Weinstein 1-12
Part I: What We've Learned So Far 13-14
1 Biological Indicators and Genetic Information in Danish Twin and Oldest-Old Surveys--Kaare Christensen, Lise Bathum, and Lene Christiansen 15-41
2 Whitehall II and ELSA: Integrating Epidemiological and Psychobiological Approaches to the Assessment of Biological Indicators--Michael Marmot and Andrew Steptoe 42-59
3 The Taiwan Biomarker Project--Ming-Cheng Chang, Dana A. Glei, Noreen Goldman, and Maxine Weinstein 60-77
4 Elastic Powers: The Integration of Biomarkers into the Health and Retirement Study--David Weir 78-95
5 An Overview of Biomarker Research from Community and Population-Based Studies on Aging--Jennifer R. Harris, Tara L. Gruenewald, and Teresa Seeman 96-135
6 The Women's Health Initiative: Lessons for the Population Study of Biomarkers--Robert B. Wallace 136-148
7 Comments on Collecting and Utilizing Biological Indicators in Social Science Surveys--Duncan Thomas and Elizabeth Frankenberg 149-155
8 Biomarkers in Social Science Research on Health and Aging: A Review of Theory and Practice--Douglas C. Ewbank 156-172
Part II: The Potential and Pitfalls of Genetic Information 173-174
9 Are Genes Good Markers of Biological Traits?--Mary Jane West-Eberhard 175-193
10 Genetic Markers in Social Science Research: Opportunities and Pitfalls--George P. Vogler and Gerald E. McClearn 194-207
11 Comments on the Utility of Social Science Surveys for the Discovery and Validation of Genes Influencing Complex Traits--Harald H.H. Göring 208-230
12 Overview Thoughts on Genetics: Walking the Line Between Denial and Dreamland, or Genes Are Involved in Everything, But Not Everything Is "Genetic"--Kenneth M. Weiss 231-248
Part III: New Ways of Collecting, Applying, and Thinking About Data 249-250
13 Minimally Invasive and Innovative Methods for Biomeasure Collection in Population-Based Research--Stacy Tessler Lindau and Thomas W. McDade 251-277
14 Nutrigenomics--John Milner, Elaine B. Trujillo, Christine M. Kaefer, and Sharon Ross 278-303
15 Genoeconomics--Daniel J. Benjamin, Christopher F. Chabris, Edward L. Glaeser, Vilmundur Gudnason, Tamara B. Harris, David I. Laibson, Lenore J. Launer, and Shaun Purcell 304-335
16 Mendelian Randomization: Genetic Variants as Instruments for Strengthening Causal Inference in Observational Studies--George Davey Smith and Shah Ebrahim 336-366
17 Multilevel Investigations: Conceptual Mappings and Perspectives--John T. Cacioppo, Gary G. Berntson, and Ronald A. Thisted 367-380
18 Genomics and Beyond: Improving Understanding and Analysis of Human (Social, Economic, and Demographic) Behavior--John Hobcraft 381-400
Appendix: Biographical Sketches of Contributors 401-414

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