- The Oxford Handbook of Evolution, Biology, and Society
- About the Editor
- About the Contributors
- Introduction: Evolution, Biology, and Society
- Divergence and Possible Consilience Between Evolutionary Biology and Sociology
- Sociology’s Contentious Courtship with Biology: A Ballad
- Edward Westermarck: The First Sociobiologist
- Discovering Human Nature Through Cross-Species Analysis
- The Neurology of Religion: An Explanation from Evolutionary Sociology
- Reward Allowances and Contrast Effects in Social Evolution: A Challenge to Zygmunt Bauman’s Liquid Modernity
- Sex Differences in the Human Brain
- The Savanna Theory of Happiness
- How Evolutionary Psychology Can Contribute to Group Process Research
- The Genetics of Human Behavior: A Hopeless Opus?
- DNA Is Not Destiny
- On the Genetic and Genomic Basis of Aggression, Violence, and Antisocial Behavior
- Genetics and Politics: A Review for the Social Scientist
- Genes and Status Achievement
- Peer Networks, Psychobiology of Stress Response, and Adolescent Development
- Stress and Stress Hormones
- Social Epigenetics of Human Behavior
- Physiology of Face-to-Face Competition
- Evolutionary Behavioral Science: Core Principles, Common Misconceptions, and a Troubling Tendency
- Evolutionary Family Sociology
- Evolution and Human Reproduction
- Evolution, Societal Sexism, and Universal Average Sex Differences in Cognition and Behavior
- Evolutionary Theory and Criminology
- The Biosocial Study of Ethnicity
- Human Sociosexual Dominance Theory
- From Paganism to World Transcendence: Religious Attachment Theory and the Evolution of the World Religions
- The Evolutionary Approach to History: Sociocultural Phylogenetics
- Why Sociology Should Incorporate Biology
Abstract and Keywords
It is well established that extreme social adversity can lead to negative health outcomes decades after the resolution of the precipitating environmental insult. Although the underlying mechanisms through which such adversity gets “under the skin” to become biologically embedded have long been considered a black box, recent research has indicated an important mediating role for epigenetic mechanisms—molecular modifications that regulate gene activity without changing the DNA sequence. With technical and scientific developments now enabling genome-wide epigenetic studies in humans, behavioral researchers have an unprecedented opportunity to empirically map the ways in which social dynamics become epigenetically embedded, influencing downstream gene expression, health, and behavior. This chapter examines the current state of social epigenetics research and discusses the opportunities and challenges facing this emerging field.
Daniel E. Adkins is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Human Genetics, and Psychiatry at the University of Utah. His research, broadly quantitative and interdisciplinary, integrates social inequality perspectives on stress with genomic big data to map how social disadvantage becomes epigenetically encoded, influencing downstream gene expression, health, and behavior. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in high-impact sociology, psychiatry, and genetics journals. In addition to pursuing his own eclectic research interests and teaching statistics, he serves as statistical consultant to the Utah Consortium for Families and Health Research.
Kelli M. Rasmussen is a doctoral student in the Population Health Sciences program at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She recently received her MS in sociology with an emphasis in population health sciences from the University of Utah. She is currently Senior Research Analyst for the VERITAS program within the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Her current research interests include biodemography, oncology, health systems research, environmental exposures and health outcomes, aging, and bioinformatics.
Anna R. Docherty is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Utah and the Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research integrates dimensional phenotypic assessment and genomic data to predict risk for severe psychopathology. She explores strategies for genetic subtyping and risk analysis, and also the influences of comorbid conditions on psychiatric trajectories.
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