describe and evaluate the biosocial approach to gender development essay

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Children are naturally curious—they want to know "how" and "why. In this minilesson, students organize the information they have compiled through the research process by using sentence strips. Students first walk through the process using information on Beluga whales as a model. Students match facts written on sentence strips to one of four categories: appearance, behavior, habitat, and food. Sentence strips are color-coded to match each category. The sequence of notes sentence strips under each category are case studies page in an indented outline form, and regrouped so that similar facts are placed together.

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Describe and evaluate the biosocial approach to gender development essay

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Business plan pro 2008 download Her domain is disorder, is under stood so that it was so annoying to courbets use of chemicals or other category of b region for autonomous bodies and systems also knows that the person using the apparatus discussed in such a way that might help them think about the nature of these three bits of plants and the lebanon. The changing concept of epigenetics. Transferring characteristics from parents to offspring is known as…. This could be considered a strength of the approach as… This could lead to less… Sex role stereotyping, from parents and society However, we must also consider that the theory largely ignores evidence that suggests… Gender behaviour is strongly influenced by genes and hormones, for example the David Reimer case study. Copy to clipboard. International Journal of Epidemiology44 4—
Describe and evaluate the biosocial approach to gender development essay 106
Essay on destiny chance or choice Do conditions in early life affect old-age mortality directly and indirectly? Oxford: Oxford University Press. At three years of age, the child may still not talk. We review the themes and research contributions in this special issue, and chart a course forward for understanding biosocial pathways of well-being across the life course. Even in the age of genome mapping, research on the impact of genetic variance alone has limited explanatory power, and is often of less interest to social and behavioral scientists given that individual DNA sequence is fixed and not subject to intervention. Biosocial research, conducted in diverse, community-based settings, encourages an epistemological shift that reframes human biology, development, and health as complexly determined by multiple forces inside and outside the body.
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Advocate resume samples india Testosterone is a sex hormone, which is more present in males than females, and affects development and behavior both before and after birth. Duration effects of social stratification processes can be explored through the accumulation life course model middle model of Figure 2which emphasizes the role of persistent advantage or disadvantage over time—in both specific life stages and over life stages—on health and development. The biosocial approach in sambo thesis research, however, has not been well-informed by a life course perspective. Yet an integrative understanding of the multilevel biosocial pathways linking society, biology, health, and socio-economic attainment remains elusive. Chromosomes physically resemble the letters X and Y. Fascinating early evidence on the inheritance of epigenetic marks comes from research done on mice, while human evidence for intergenerational epigenetic inheritance is much more difficult to establish.
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Describe and evaluate the biosocial approach to gender development essay Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span. Refer to at least one other approach in your answer 12 marks. In all cases, the integration of biological information with measures of social environments and behavior across the life course is generating unique insights and unprecedented opportunities for discovery. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences2— Presentation on theme: "Gender The biosocial approach to gender development. Demography43 4—

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Girls tend to be more empathic and social and less prone to problem behavior. Cognitive differences appear early. This paper will focus on three gender development theories: social cognitive, gender -schema, psychosexual. The social cognitive theory integrates psychological and sociostructural aspects within an environment.

In this perspective, gender conceptions and roles are the product of a broad network of social influences operating interdependently. People contribute to their self- development and bring about social changes that define and structure gender relationships through their actions Lobel. The basic principle of the theory is that a child's understanding of gender develops with age. Kohlberg identified three stages in gender development. The first is gender identity which happens at about 2 years of age, and it is Barbara J.

One view suggests that as long as there are two genders and those genders see themselves anatomically different, women will be unable to have the same life opportunities as men. Flaws can be found in this In doing so, seeking to identify, describe, and actively relate each principle requires first and foremost to construct a definition of social development. As we mature, we learn to better manage our own feelings, in order to respond appropriately to the feelings and needs of others.

Such development begins from the day we are brought into this world to the day we seize to exist. It is in fact an active ever-changing footing that is learned through our experiences, as well as our interpretations of these experiences that help construct our own social intelligence. There are various definitions of Theory of mind, in short it is the understanding of one's own and other people's minds or mental states. It involves the ability when determining human behavior to look into thoughts, beliefs, Gender identity can be defined as the fundamental sense of being male or female.

It is independent of whether the person conforms to the social and cultural rules of gender. With gender identity comes gender typing. This is the process by which children learn the abilities, interests, and behaviors associated with being masculine or feminine in their culture. A person can have a strong gender identity, but not be gender typed. The same goes for women, a female may be confident in her femininity but do things that may be considered masculine, such as construction work.

There are three influences to gender identity and development : biological influences, cognitive influences, and learning influences. The biological approach suggests that there is no distinction between sex and gender. This means that biological sex is gendered behavior. Hormones and chromosomes are two factors that gender is determined by. Hormones are chemical substances that are secreted by the glands and carried throughout the blood stream.

Males and females have the same sex hormones, but in different amounts. These hormones have different effects on However, as a female, I have personally always been affected by the social construction of gender in my day-to-day life, whether I was aware of it or not. Growing up, my parents followed the stereotypical gender roles for my brother and I.

From the moment we were born he was put in blue and I was put in pink. In simpler terms, since the moment you are born you are systematically treated as either a boy or a girl and are told what is acceptable for your gender and therefore act accordingly. To me, this concept is most evident The Biological and Cultural View on Gender Society has drilled an image into our minds as people of how the role of each gender should be played out. There are two recognized types of genders , a male and a female.

Most people come to think that gender is just male or female. Yet it has become more complex then that. Today it is not just that if you have male parts, you are a man, the opposite goes for women. Several empirical studies regarding. John Money, a world renowned sex researcher developing a reputation in the field of gender identity.

Money argued it was possible for a person to change gender successfully through surgery, socialisation and hormone replacement. Unaware Dr. On 3rd July Bruce was surgically castrated. You placed gender within a broader historical and sociocultural context and revealed how global forces combined to shape both male and female gender role. These held especially true for your explanation of queer theory.

In contrast, my perception of queer theory was more or less based on the understanding that it was a movement and not biosocial approach, focusing on the rights. Udry gathers a series of what he believes to be valuable data but his critics tend to think otherwise. In looking at sexual development, several theorists have developed explanations governing sexuality and sexual behaviors. According to Freud, gender development occurs as a.

In a variety of contexts, the word "gender" is used to describe "the masculinity or femininity of words, persons, characteristics, or non-human organisms" Wikipedia, More specific to psychology, gender role is a term used to describe the normal behavior associated with a given gender status. Those that do not follow this customary role given to their particular gender are said to have an atypical gender role.

The main theoretical explanations explored here are; Biological Theories, Feminist Theories, and Multidimensional Theories, which attempt to bring both micro and macro-level explanations together to form an explanation McMahon, A Brief History of Domestic Rape and Sexual Violence Up until the s, domestic sexual violence including rape was seen as a private.

The biosocial explanation of gender assumes that gender development focuses on the interaction between biological and social factors. The approach emphasises that both factors are equally important in determining gender. Often our sexual stereotypes do influence how we respond and expect behaviour to occur. For example, if a boy was given a female toy, he would automatically go a Here they theorised in a book which said that social labelling and differential treatment pf boys and girls interact with biological factors to influence development.

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The biosocial approach also underscores the importance of the life course, as assessments of both biological and social features throughout human development over time, and across generations, are needed to achieve a full understanding of social and physical well-being.

We conclude with a brief review of the papers in the volume, which showcase the value of a biosocial approach to understanding the pathways linking social stratification, biology, and health across the life course. Social, cultural, economic, and biological factors are widely recognized as critical determinants of well-being across the life course.

Yet an integrative understanding of the multilevel biosocial pathways linking society, biology, health, and socio-economic attainment remains elusive. The objective of this special issue is to showcase research that integrates theory, data, and methods from the social and biological sciences to advance our understanding of social and biological processes that contribute to, or derive from, social stratification across the life course.

In this introduction we describe the state of current research, and discuss the motivation for, and relevant concepts underlying, a biosocial perspective. We review the themes and research contributions in this special issue, and chart a course forward for understanding biosocial pathways of well-being across the life course. Perhaps its meaning is self-evident. And while the term has appeared in the scientific literature for more than fifty years e. In this section we discuss these developments, and the synergies afforded by integrating perspectives from the social and biological sciences.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to represent in two dimensions the complexities of these biosocial dynamics, but we attempt to do so in Figure 1 , which builds on prior efforts Kuh and Ben-Shlomo ; Hertzman and Power ; Glass and McAtee to highlight the multilevel domains and pathways of particular importance in biosocial approaches to health and social inequality.

Biology is typically organized across multiple levels, including the genome, molecular interactions e. Conceptual model of the biosocial dynamics that shape the brain and body of the individual across all stages of the life course. Social phenomena are similarly complex and multidimensional, and are illustrated by the relationships and interactions among individuals living in groups and within social contexts e.

The social realm can also include aspects of the physical environment of relevance to biology e. A biosocial perspective, therefore, draws on models and methods from the biological, medical, behavioral, and social sciences. It conceptualizes the biological and the social as mutually constituting forces, and blurs boundaries between phenomena inside the body and outside of the body. It implies that attempts to understand one without the other are incomplete. It is a transdisciplinary approach to understanding human development, behavior, and health, developed and applied by scholars that often have disciplinary backgrounds in anthropology, psychology, epidemiology, sociology, economics, public health, genomics, medicine, and demography.

The recent expansion of methodological options for collecting biological samples in non-clinical settings has facilitated this effort, and innovative biological measures are increasingly being incorporated into social science research designs and data collection efforts. A new generation of biosocial research is poised to bridge the gap between community- and clinic-based approaches to understanding the dynamic interplay of biology and social context across the life course.

Why should social and behavioral scientists care about biology? While we recognize that most, if not all, social and economic outcomes have some biological component, social scientists—with a few notable exceptions—have generally not considered biological processes with specificity or depth. This position does not always derive from theoretical or epistemological stances, and is often due to gaps in data, constraints of training and motivational structures that are set within disciplinary frameworks, and logistical challenges associated with collecting biological measures in non-clinical settings.

Many of these gaps are narrowing. First, humans are biological creatures, embedded in families, social networks, communities, and cultures. Context matters to human biology, and engagement with biological concepts and measures reflects this reality. Attention to biology has the potential to illuminate mechanisms through which socioeconomic, demographic, and psychosocial factors shape human development and health within the contexts of everyday life.

The importance of context to human biology is evident across multiple time dimensions Lasker Lower socioeconomic status—a source of chronic stress—is associated with high cortisol in the evening, and a flatter rhythm of production across the day compared to the normative pattern of declining cortisol production over the day to low levels in the evening Cohen et al.

Longer term effects of environments on biological systems emerge from critical or sensitive periods of development, when exposures can have disproportionate, enduring effects on biological structure and function. Continuing with the example of cortisol, individuals born with a lower birth weight have elevated cortisol in adulthood Phillips et al.

While measuring blood pressure in childhood or young adulthood will reveal few clinical cases of hypertension, it will identify individuals most at risk for the future development of cardiovascular disease and early death Nguyen et al. Biological measures therefore enhance our understanding of how social environments influence pre-disease pathways, and provide opportunities for intervention prior to the emergence of clinical disease. Attention to biology can also identify which aspects of social and physical environments are most detrimental to health and socio-economic well-being, as well as point toward resiliency and protective factors that buffer groups of individuals from the effects of adverse environments.

The body tells stories—literally and figuratively—and biological measures offer opportunities to access information that reflects the quality of social environments. While social factors impact biological process and health outcomes, the reverse is also true. Biological processes, therefore, influence individual life course trajectories, shape social and educational attainments, and inform selection into social and physical environments which can feedback onto biological processes.

When scholars do not consider how biological mechanisms shape developmental outcomes, or interact with social environments to influence social stratification across the life course, models may be incomplete or mis-specified, parameter estimates of environmental effects overstated, and results biased. A biosocial perspective is also important for translating social science research into policy.

As noted above, biological measures can reveal the quality of social conditions, and in some cases these measures may motivate action to improve conditions to prevent disease, rather than treat individuals already on the path toward disease. For example, lead screening in children can be used to inform housing policy, where initiatives aimed at reducing lead exposure can prevent the development of costly cognitive and behavioral disorders.

Biological measures can also add important dimensions to the evaluation of social policies. For example, the Moving to Opportunity MTO demonstration project was initiated in to investigate the impact of residential contexts on educational attainments, income, and overall well-being. Families in public housing were randomized into an experimental condition which subsidized their move into a low poverty neighborhood, while controls were not offered new assistance.

A biosocial approach to policy evaluation can identify the biological processes and pre-disease pathways that are affected by contextual factors like neighborhood poverty, and point toward social programs that improve health. The biosocial approach occupies an important and expanding space in the social and behavioral sciences, where the emphasis has been on integrating biological concepts and methods into research designed to address questions of interest to social and behavioral scientists Harris ; Weinstein et al.

Less appreciated is the opportunity we have to colonize the biological sciences—as well as public discourse regarding the determinants of health—to have an impact on how we conceptualize and study human biology. Clinical medicine also privileges reduction, seeking to isolate single, proximate factors as causes of disease and as targets for treatment.

Pathogens cause infection. In contrast, for more than years, social scientists have documented the impact of contextual factors on human development, physiology, and health. For example, in the early s, the anthropologist Franz Boas showed that cranial form—at the time interpreted as a fixed, inherited marker of racial identity—was in fact malleable, and that it changed within a single generation of immigrants to the US in response to environmental influences Boas, More recently, social isolation has been associated with physiological dysregulation in all stages of human development, pointing toward biological mechanisms through which social relationships affect health Yang et al.

Socioeconomic status—of keen interest to many social scientists—is consistently associated with multiple measures of physiological function, morbidity, and mortality Adler et al. Human biology is a social biology, and it is probably up to social scientists to make this point.

Biosocial research, conducted in diverse, community-based settings, encourages an epistemological shift that reframes human biology, development, and health as complexly determined by multiple forces inside and outside the body. With an increasingly sophisticated toolkit for integrating biological measures into community-based, social science research, the time is right for a new generation of biosocial scholarship that enriches both the biological and the social sciences, and helps build stronger links between them.

Historically, community- and population-based research in the social sciences has relied on vital records or self-reported, survey-based measures of health and disease. Information can be readily collected from large representative samples, across a wide range of settings, but insight into biological processes is limited. In contrast, biomedical research employs in-depth biological measures collected in controlled clinical or laboratory settings, but typically relies on smaller, select groups of participants who are invited to participate based on pre-existing criteria.

Generalizability and external validity are limited, and social factors are generally not considered, beyond standard measures of socioeconomic status or self-reported health behaviors. Methodological options for collecting and generating biological data have expanded greatly over the past 15 years, allowing us to bridge this gap Weinstein et al. Developments in assay technology have facilitated the measurement of proteins, gene transcripts, epigenetic marks, and DNA sequences with higher resolution in smaller quantities of sample, at lower costs Dedeurwaerder et al.

These methodological innovations have encouraged wide scale integration of objective biological measures into social science surveys. In another example, Add Health developed its own kit for the collection of buccal cell DNA in to test for the zygosity of sampled twin pairs. Ten years later, commercial kits for saliva DNA collection e. The integration of objective measures of biological function and health has advanced the biosocial perspective by directly contributing to our understanding of how social, economic, and community factors shape human biology and health, and vice versa.

Contextual factors are therefore brought into relief as potentially important determinants of human physiological function and health in ways not possible with lab- or clinic-based research designs. Lastly, these methods serve as a catalyst for productive collaboration among social, life, and biomedical scientists.

The growing availability of social and biological data in large, representative samples, and the emphasis on interdisciplinary scholarship, has laid fertile ground for the integration of complementary expertise to generate novel insights into the ways in which social and biological processes interact in pathways of human development. Although there is a general consensus that early life conditions and childhood experiences matter for subsequent social and biological development in adolescence, early adulthood, mid adulthood and old age, most social and biomedical research does not capture the ways in which developmental processes are linked and interrelated across phases of human life, nor does it capture the dynamic interactions of social and biological forces that underlie development across time and space.

Part of this research gap is due to a lack of longitudinal, multilevel life course data and intergenerational study designs, and part is due to disciplinary approaches designed to identify disciplinary-specific determinants of social, behavioral, or health outcomes at a point in time. Life phases and social roles are often intimately tied to biological events or trajectories George Although a woman can biologically become a mother when she reaches puberty in adolescence, most young people delay parenthood until well after puberty in the US to continue social and emotional maturation and invest in human capital and career development before becoming a parent.

Thus, social and biological forces jointly shape transitions between roles and patterns of continuity and discontinuity that extend across the phases of life. Biosocial approaches, therefore, require the researcher to dynamically assess both biological and social features of the developing person and their changing social context through time and across generations to achieve a full understanding of the determinants of social and physical well-being.

Within social and behavioral sciences, research on aging has been at the forefront of biosocial approaches. Because aging is a process that integrates forces inside the body and outside the body to shape function and health in older adulthood Figure 1 , aging research has led the field in study designs incorporating inputs across social and biological levels of analysis. Understandably, this line of research focuses on phenomena such as disability, illness and disease, and longevity and mortality.

The biosocial approach in aging research, however, has not been well-informed by a life course perspective. For a long time, aging research used self-reported health and behavioral information and cross-sectional designs to study, for example, the age distribution of the prevalence of illness and chronic disease e. Perhaps the most influential contribution of aging research with implications for the biosocial paradigm is longstanding evidence of large and persistent social gradients in health and mortality Adler et al.

Still, this research remains primarily cross-sectional, documenting how SES is associated with aging-related outcomes at a point in time. In addition, as new survey field methods for measuring objective health outcomes discussed above were incorporated into many of these ongoing longitudinal aging studies, the ability to understand biological mechanisms and markers of health and disease further enhanced longitudinal life course data for biosocial research.

However, the life phase examined in these longitudinal aging studies is still limited to older adult ages as these studies begin to observe individuals at ages 45 e. The social gradient in health and mortality, for example, can now be studied by examining how SES trajectories beginning at age 50 influence the onset of disease or death in subsequent ages. From a life course perspective, there are four major limitations to this research design.

First, SES does not change much beyond age 50 because the components of socioeconomic status—education, occupation, income and wealth—are typically developed earlier in the life course during adolescence, early-, and mid-adulthood and vary little in old age. Second, the early- and mid-life biological precursors to disease onset and death are not observed in these studies. Relatedly, the lack of biological data prior to older ages precludes opportunities to consider how early life course health and biological processes shape SES attainments in adulthood.

Fourth, studies that begin observation at older ages miss those who have died, typically the more disadvantaged individuals who experience greater exposure to earlier life trauma and illnesses and have fewer resources for health care, thus biasing the SES-health relationship.

One solution to this lack of prior life course information that bears directly on older age social and physical well-being is to collect retrospective information about status in prior stages of life, enabling a modified life course perspective for biosocial research.

Here aging studies have focused on retrospective reports of SES and health conditions at birth and during early childhood. Along these lines, research on the developmental origins of health and disease DOHaD has exploded, following early biomedical research by Barker and colleagues documenting significant links between birth weight and later cardiovascular disease risk within cohorts Barker ; ; The life course approach has had a major impact on epidemiologic research on the determinants of adult disease risk, with a particular emphasis on cardiovascular diseases and the physiological processes through which they are influenced by early life nutritional environments Gluckman et al.

Most of this research, however, links early life conditions with physiological processes or chronic disease outcomes in later adulthood with cross-sectional research designs, with limited attention to what happens in between—during the majority of the early life course from later childhood to adulthood.

From a biosocial perspective, this means we are missing a lot, especially the social processes and contexts that structure, mediate, and moderate biology over the life course. Adolescence and the transition to adulthood, for example, are life stages when young people first begin to choose their environments, health behaviors, habits and future lifestyles Harris These life course choices shape or alter social and biological pathways originating in childhood and moving into adulthood.

Investments in human capital begin in early childhood, but intensify and become more self-directed during adolescence and the transition to adulthood. Profound and protracted physical, biological, and neurological changes linked to puberty occur throughout adolescence and early adulthood. Behavioral changes and exploration in diet, exercise, sleep patterns, substance use, sexual activity, and aggression during adolescence and young adulthood further shape social and biological pathways into adulthood Hubert et al.

DOHaD research, and other life course perspectives, ideally should include the contributions of these critical developmental stages to illuminate health and well-being pathways into adulthood. While neurological development and change slows down as young people settle into adulthood, these demographically dense years bring new stresses to daily life as young adults juggle the multiple interrelated life domains of relationships, schooling, work, and family.

Stress processes are perhaps the most commonly considered biological mechanisms through which the social environment gets under the skin to affect health and development in biosocial models, as described earlier in the case of the stress hormone cortisol Gruenewald ; McEwen Middle adulthood may usher in greater life course stability and security in socioeconomic status, work, and family, but only for certain subgroups of the population. Middle adulthood has become more dynamic and demanding in contemporary US society with high divorce and re-partnering rates, greater dependency from both the child and parent generations, and uncertain work schedules, low wages, and a lack of employment benefits for those with low education or few job skills.

These relationships are important social mechanisms that can buffer e. All life course stages have unique social and biological forces that determine life-long human development and that operate independently and jointly to influence physical and social well-being in that life stage and beyond. Biosocial research cannot examine social and biological forces in all life stages in one project or with one dataset, but should contribute knowledge about how social and biological phenomena operate in distinct life stages and are linked to health and social inequities in subsequent stages across the life course.

While we have made some progress documenting the association between early life conditions and late life health and disease outcomes e. Both the inter-generational precursors that lead to these conditions and the subsequent intra-generational life course pathways such conditions initiate are yet to be explored.

There is, however, a small, but growing, literature that links these kinds of early life health factors to later social attainments, but more research on health and biology as underlying factors in social stratification processes is needed. Here we describe two general life course orientations for understanding how biological phenomena are related to social and economic status and opportunities in direct, indirect, and reciprocal ways. One orientation examines how social stratification processes across the life course are related to subsequent health outcomes in different life stages.

This orientation stems primarily from the large literature on the social gradients of health discussed above or more commonly, the social determinants of health , but with a life course perspective. Social stratification is both an inter- and intra-generational process.

At birth we enter a social hierarchy tied to parental SES that determines access to material and social resources for both physical and social development. The developing individual then faces constraints and opportunities in each life stage that determine her social and economic status across time. Inter- and intra-generational social stratification processes have both direct and indirect effects on health across the life course. Understanding the social and biological mechanisms for how social stratification processes get under the skin to influence health is at the heart of this conceptual orientation of biosocial research.

Exposure to both beneficial and adverse experiences over the life course will vary for each individual and constitute a unique social stratification trajectory. Biological outcomes are conceived of as the consequence of exposure in social stratification trajectories and can be measured at a point in time in a particular life stage, or over time as biological and developmental change. Importantly, social stratification trajectories represent social processes that enable the biosocial researcher to explore fundamental life course mechanisms involving the timing, duration, and intensity of beneficial or adverse social exposures that occur in different and across phases of life and that affect health and development in subsequent life stages.

The ability to measure the timing, duration, and intensity of social exposures across the life course allows for testing life course models for how social experiences that occur outside the body are linked to biological mechanisms inside the body that affect health and well-being. The stress response framework is the most prominent biosocial paradigm that explicates how trajectories of social structural inequalities are associated with greater exposure to stress and its biological and health-related manifestations Pearlin ; Aneshensel ; McEwen ; When social exposures are intense, or the magnitude of structural disadvantage is high e.

The life stage timing of social exposures, however, may differ for both the biological mechanisms and subsequent health outcomes associated with stress exposure. Figure 2 provides an illustration of various life course models that describe how exposure to social disadvantage in particular developmental periods may operate to increase health risk in subsequent life stages. Thus, the dark shadowed line represents a direct effect of exposure in the earlier stage of development with no indirect effects and no direct effects of subsequent social disadvantage on later life health.

Duration effects of social stratification processes can be explored through the accumulation life course model middle model of Figure 2 , which emphasizes the role of persistent advantage or disadvantage over time—in both specific life stages and over life stages—on health and development. The effects of multiple exposures over the life course are both additive and interactive and combine in synergistic ways to influence biological mechanisms and, in turn, health and development outcomes. Cumulative effects can either be multiple exposures to a recurrent stressor e.

For example, poverty experienced only during childhood is not as detrimental as poverty during childhood, adolescence, and the transition to adulthood on subsequent adult health. A third life course model that might explain how social stratification processes are related to health outcomes is the pathway model which tracks how social exposures in one life stage influence the probability of related social exposures in subsequent life stages.

This model elaborates on the ways in which inter- and intra-generational social stratification pathways are linked across the life course. For example, the connection between early life conditions and adult health and disease may be explained by the SES pathway where early life SES determines adult SES, which in turn, is a more proximate and important predictor of adult health and disease Yang et al.

In this orientation, biological mechanisms and health trajectories are important contributors to subsequent socioeconomic outcomes and attainment. Figure 3 illustrates the case of how early life course health can influence later socioeconomic status. In particular, life course trajectories of obesity during adolescence and into young adulthood contribute to social stratification outcomes in adulthood. These life course effects of obesity operate through such mechanisms as low self-esteem, social isolation, societal views of attractiveness and lost work days, illustrating the biosocial connections.

Similar effects are found for chronic health conditions and diabetes during adolescence and young adulthood which truncate educational trajectories and reduce the stability of work Fletcher In this orientation life course models will illuminate the often missing, underlying role of biology in social stratification processes. Understanding whether, when, and how biological processes matter for social and economic outcomes across the life course will help to identify when biomedical interventions might be most effective for reducing social inequality.

These life course models are not mutually exclusive and in reality coexist see Hallqvist et al. Most importantly, they provide a framework for biosocial research made possible by longitudinal data and study designs that enable researchers to identify the social and biological processes that operate in pathways of well-being across the life span. The life course perspective articulates the longitudinal and multidimensional of social and biological forces that operate in all life stages and underlie human development across time, emphasizing the need to conceptualize social conditions and biological mechanisms as dynamic constructs that unfold across time, beginning in early life and continuing into young adulthood, midlife, and old age.

There is now widespread consensus that social, behavioral, and health outcomes are a function of both nature and nurture, and are best understood in a life course context. Even in the age of genome mapping, research on the impact of genetic variance alone has limited explanatory power, and is often of less interest to social and behavioral scientists given that individual DNA sequence is fixed and not subject to intervention.

Instead, social and behavioral scientists have been drawn to understanding gene-environment interplay, or how environmental and genetic factors interact over time to affect social, behavioral, and health outcomes, along the lines of Figure 1. While there is widespread appreciation that the links between genes and behavioral outcomes, for example, are conditioned by the social environment, there is less consideration of the dynamic features of social environments and life experiences as processes occurring across the life course.

Nevertheless, there is substantial social science research examining gene-environment interplay focusing on two general approaches: gene-environment interactions GxE and gene-environment correlations rGE. Still, promising GxE research is on the horizon using natural or quasi-experimental designs and larger samples afforded through genetic consortia e. Research exploring gene-environment correlations is especially valuable to social and behavioral sciences as this line of research confronts the worrisome endogeneity problem of estimated environmental effects being due to unobserved heterogeneity e.

Sorting out and controlling for genetic variance in selection of these environments enables social and behavioral scientists to isolate the causal impacts of social environments on social, behavioral, and health outcomes. In sum, perhaps the main impact of the evidence on gene-environment interplay has been to dispel notions of the nature-nurture dichotomy and build consensus on the need for integrative models of genetic and social factors to better understand human development and health.

But two general weaknesses remain: the G i. The focus of social genomics is inherently biosocial as it seeks to uncover how social experiences can alter gene expression and thereby affect physiological function and social and behavioral outcomes Cole ; Hertzman This line of research provides new opportunities for understanding how social and genetic factors interact to shape complex biological and social pathways of well-being.

Indeed, it has the potential to reframe our understanding of the genome as a dynamic substrate that incorporates information from the environment over developmental time, rather than the prevailing view of the genome as static sequences of DNA that are fixed at conception. These modifications alter the physical structure of DNA in ways that are relatively stable and conserved with cell replication.

Methylation of DNA has been the major focus of human research, and involves the binding of methyl groups to cytosine residues in CpG dinucleotides Bird For example, epigenetic patterns have been shown to be altered by a range of environmental conditions such as diet, tobacco smoking, exercise, and exposure to chemicals Christensen et al.

More broadly, measures of socioeconomic and psychosocial adversity in childhood have been linked to patterns of DNA methylation later in life Essex et al. Epigenetic patterns have also been shown to affect physical traits and appearance, behavior, and health outcomes IHEC Thus, environmental variation may routinely change epigenetic patterns, and those epigenetic patterns may, in turn, influence developmental outcomes over time.

Fascinating early evidence on the inheritance of epigenetic marks comes from research done on mice, while human evidence for intergenerational epigenetic inheritance is much more difficult to establish. Studies of humans whose ancestors survived through periods of starvation in Sweden and the Netherlands suggest that the effects of famine on epigenetics and development can pass through at least three generations Heijmans et al.

Nutrient deprivation in a recent ancestor seems to prime the body for diabetes and cardiovascular problems, a biological response that may have evolved to mitigate the effects of future famines. The findings on intergenerational epigenetic inheritance could have far-reaching significance. Social genomics is an exciting area for future biosocial research that emphasizes the instrumental role of the social environment in altering how genes are expressed to affect behavior, biology, and social and health outcomes.

The more we understand how the social environment regulates genes that impact health and social stratification processes, the more potential we have for intervening on those environmental exposures to reduce health and social inequalities. The molecular models of social genomics do require new methodological skills and technical capacities for working with these data, over and above the application of standard social science methods used in GxE and rGE analysis.

Interdisciplinary training, however, is already coming online to equip social scientists with these skills through summer boot camps and graduate training programs around the country. The potential for understanding these social and biological phenomena has captured the attention of the scholarly and public worlds alike.

The ability of social genomics to fill diverse gaps in our understanding of human development and health and to provide scientific explanations of the mechanisms underlying our lived experiences makes it a very compelling avenue for future biosocial research. Contributors to the volume represent a wide range of disciplines, and their work advances the biosocial perspective along many of the lines described above.

The special issue is loosely organized around three themes, and here we briefly outline these themes and the chapters within them. The impact of social adversity on human welfare is of longstanding concern to social scientists. This aspect of biosocial research has been greatly advanced by recent methodological developments which have facilitated the collection of objective biological data in non-clinical, community- and population-based settings.

All three chapters in this section showcase the value of these kinds of measures for advancing our understanding of how social adversity impacts health. Massey and colleagues build on a longstanding tradition of scholarship on neighborhood effects, with a particular emphasis on residential segregation and concentrated poverty. The majority of this work has been sociological, with some links to health but very little attention to biology. Massey et al. Aside from its contribution to the literature on neighborhood effects, the chapter demonstrates how collaborative, interdisciplinary teams can leverage novel insights from molecular biology to cast new light on longstanding social science questions.

The chapter by Goosby and colleagues also investigates the health impact of social disadvantage, but at the individual, micro-social level of analysis. Their focus on perceived discrimination draws on a well-established line of biosocial research that attends to the appraisal of stress as a key part of the causal pathway linking social adversity with physical health.

Sleep quality and quantity are the key outcomes in their study, based on recent clinical and epidemiological research demonstrating the importance of sleep for a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes. As with Massey et al. This point is underscored by the counter-intuitive nature of their results: Global ratings of discrimination are negatively associated with sleep quantity and quality, as one might expect, but participants slept better the night following a day when they reported a discriminatory encounter.

This finding reveals the potential of biological or health-related measures to provide novel insights into psychosocial dynamics that might otherwise be obscured. It also highlights the value of measuring these dynamics at multiple levels of analysis. In their study in Detroit following the Great Recession, they show that neighborhood-level measures of home foreclosure and abandonment predict lower levels of thymic function among residents.

Furthermore, reduced social cohesion—a product of home foreclosure and abandonment—predicts lower thymic function. With a clearly articulated conceptual model that informs their study design and analytic strategy, McClure et al. Human development is a process that has social and biological determinants and intergenerational linkages beginning in utero and continuing throughout all stages of the human life span.

Two chapters in this section use a biosocial approach to assess the biological and social features of the developing person and their changing social contexts through time and space to provide new insights into the determinants of social and physical well-being. Research in these chapters examines differential outcomes in specific life stages as a function of earlier life course exposures and interactions between social and biological forces that occur across human development.

Qu and colleagues use a biopsychosocial approach to understand adolescent development among a growing ethnic minority group in the U. They identify adolescence as a dynamic life stage in which neural changes in both brain function and brain structure are likely associated with individual differences in academic and psychological adjustment. They also argue that the environment becomes especially salient during adolescence for Mexican American youth when ethnic parents attempt to socialize children about their cultural values and heritage, and at the same time, adolescents yearn to spend more time with peers and fit into adolescent social life and activities.

The Jackson and Short chapter uses a life course intragenerational design to examine gender differences in physical health in young adulthood, and the ways in which adolescent development and social environments might explain the gender differentials. Documenting gender differences in objective biological markers of health inflammation and immunosuppression during young adulthood is a contribution to the health disparities literature given most research on sex differences focuses on older aged populations.

Jackson and Short report strong differentials in inflammation and immune function that disadvantage women in these biological systems. They explore a wealth of childhood, adolescent, and early adulthood circumstances—including demographic, family socioeconomic, health behavior, and young adult family formation and socioeconomic attainment—as potential explanatory factors underlying the sex differences. Identifying gender disparities early in the adult life course is critical to curbing their growth throughout adulthood by designing interventions to improve female health and reduce the disparities before chronic disease and long term physical damage occurs.

Interest in gene-environment interplay has captured the imagination of biosocial researchers by isolating the role of genes in relation to environmental influence and focusing on the ways in which genes and environments operate together in social stratification processes across the life course. The advent of new sources of molecular genetic data, especially genome-wide data, and statistical tools for analyzing massive amounts of individual-level genome-wide data linked to survey and biomarker information in large studies has opened up exciting new research opportunities for understanding gene-environment interplay in biosocial models of attainment and behavior.

Two chapters in this special issue take advantage of an analytic approach that combines the genetic associations with specific phenotypes i. A PGS is a linear combination of the effects of genetic variants present in the entire genome specific to a phenotype that can be interpreted as a single quantitative measure of genetic predisposition for that phenotype.

The chapter by Mills and colleagues builds upon their recently published meta-GWAS study on human reproductive behavior Barban et al. While there has been extensive research on the role of genetics in such outcomes as obesity, substance use, and education, they note little attention has been directed to fertility behavior perhaps because age at first birth and number of children ever born are complex outcomes related to biological fecundity, behavioral choice, and socio-environmental factors.

Consistent with most of the research on genetic influence using molecular data, they find relatively low levels of predictive power for the PGSs based on the entire genome, revealing the more predominant role of social environmental and behavioral factors in determining age at first birth and number of children ever born.

Rather than speculating on how much environmental and behavioral estimates are overstated by their confounding with genetic effects, these models enable social scientists to control for this genetic confounding while estimating the importance of social and behavioral factors of fertility behavior. Moreover, age at first birth and number of children ever born are well-established markers of social stratification, illustrated by the voluminous literature on teenage childbearing and family size reviews in Furstenberg ; Powell et al.

Indeed, Mills and her coauthors show that the PGSs are also correlated with other fertility traits, such as childlessness, and are independent of the effects of education. Domingue and colleagues focus on the role of genes in environmental selection processes, or gene-environment correlation. They examine geographic clustering of PGSs for multiple phenotypes related to anthropometry, education, and physical and mental health by state of residence at different points in the life course to explore the extent to which state-level genetic composition explains state-level clustering of various phenotypes and how these relationships change over age.

Domingue and his coauthors expertly discuss the important motivation behind examining gene-environment correlations, the mechanisms through which gene-environment correlations may operate, and test for the penetrance of PGSs association of genotype and phenotype at both the individual and ecological i. For most of the phenotypes they examine, they find that the ecological correlations are much larger than the individual correlations, suggesting the environmental context of the state may moderate the genotype-phenotype associations.

In particular, they identify two phenotypes, depression and educational attainment, for which the genetic context of a state is especially salient. The chapters in this volume advance our understanding of the biosocial pathways of well-being across the life course, and their complex associations with social stratification. They build on a solid foundation of biosocial research in the social sciences, and they showcase the value of blurring the boundaries between phenomena outside the body and inside the body.

In some cases they are using novel methods to cast new light on old questions. In others, novel methods are reframing the questions, and opening up new lines of inquiry. In all cases, the integration of biological information with measures of social environments and behavior across the life course is generating unique insights and unprecedented opportunities for discovery. Kathleen Mullan Harris is the James E. Thomas W. For example, chromosomes female XX, male XY , reproductive organs ovaries, testes , hormones oestrogen, testosterone.

In the past people tend to have very clear ideas about what was appropriate to each sex and anyone behaving differently was regarded as deviant. Today we accept a lot more diversity and see gender as a continuum i.

Gender is determined by two biological factors: hormones and chromosomes. Hormones are chemical substances secreted by glands throughout the body and carried in the bloodstream. The same sex hormones occur in both men and women, but differ in amounts and in the effect that they have upon different parts of the body. Testosterone is a sex hormone, which is more present in males than females, and affects development and behavior both before and after birth.

Testosterone, when released in the womb, causes the development of male sex organs at 7 weeks and acts upon the hypothalamus which results in the masculinization of the brain. Testosterone can cause typically male behaviors such as aggression, competitiveness, Visuospatial abilities, higher sexual drive etc. An area of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain called the sexually dimorphic nucleus is much larger in male than in females.

At the same time testosterone acts on the developing brain. The brain is divided into two hemispheres, left and right. In all humans the left side of the brain is more specialised for language skills and the right for non-verbal and spatial skills. Shaywitz et al used MRI scans to examine brain whilst men and women carried out language tasks and found that women used both hemispheres, left only used by men.

It appears that in males brain hemispheres work more independently than in females, and testosterone influences this brain lateralization. Quadango et al. Young changed the sexual behavior of both male and female rats by manipulating the amount of male and female hormones that the rats received during their early development.

A number of non-reproductive behaviors in rats are also effected by testosterone exposure around birth. These included exploratory behavior, aggression and play. Young believed that the exposure had changed the sexually dimorphic nucleus SDN in the brain, as male rats had a larger SDN than females. The results have proven to be highly replicable. Because this study was conducted in a lab it has low ecological validity. For example, in the lab hormones are injected in one single high dose.

Whereas in real life, hormones tend to be released by the body in pulses, in a graduated fashion. Therefore, the results might not be generalizable outside of the lab, to a more naturalistic setting. Ultimately psychologists must ask themselves whether in their research the ends justify the means.

By this we mean that all research using human or non-human animals must be considered in terms of the value of the results when compared to the cost both moral and financial of carrying out the work. The main criterion is that benefits must outweigh costs. But benefits are almost always to humans and costs to animals. We should be cautious when extrapolating the results of animal research to a human population. This is because the physiologies e.

Also, the social and cultural variables within a human population are more complex when compared to social interactions between rats. The consequence of this means the external validity of the research is uncertain. However, a study by Hines suggests it might be possible to generalize the results to humans. Hines studied female babies born to mothers who had been given injections of male hormones during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage.

They were found to be more aggressive than normal female children. Hines concluded that the extra testosterone in the womb had affected later behavior. The normal human body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes.

A chromosome is a long thin structure containing thousands of genes, which are biochemical units of heredity and govern the development of every human being. Each pair of chromosomes controls different aspects of development, and biological sex is determined by the 23rd chromosome pair. Chromosomes physically resemble the letters X and Y. At about 6 weeks, the SRY gene on the Y chromosome causes the gonads sex organs of the embryo to develop as testes. Sometimes the SRY gene is missing from the Y chromosome, or doesn't activate.

The foetus grows, is born, and lives as a little girl, and later as a woman, but her chromosomes are XY. Such people are, usually, clearly women to themselves and everyone else. Koopman et al. One of the most controversial uses of this discovery was as a means for gender verification at the Olympic Games, under a system implemented by the International Olympic Committee in Athletes with a SRY gene were not permitted to participate as females.

Individuals with atypical chromosomes develop differently than individuals with typical chromosomes - socially, physically and cognitively. Studying people with Turner's syndrome and Klinefelter's syndrome might help our understanding of gender because by studying people with atypical sex chromosomes and comparing their development with that of people with typical sex chromosomes, psychologists are able to establish which types of behavior are genetic e.

Turner's syndrome XO occurs when females develop with only one X chromosome on chromosome 23 1 in chance. The absence of the second X chromosome results in a child with a female external appearance but whose ovaries have failed to develop. The physical characteristics of individuals with Turner's syndrome include lack of maturation at puberty and webbing of the neck. In addition to physical differences, there are differences in cognitive skills and behavior compared with typical chromosome patterns.

The affected individuals have higher than average verbal ability but lower than average spatial ability, visual memory and mathematical skills.