This branch supports research and training on the causes and consequences of changes in social, demographic, economic, and health characteristics of the older population. Research on the effects of public policies, social institutions and health care settings on the health, well-being, and functioning of people — both over the life course and in their later years — is supported. International and comparative research is encouraged, as are interconnections with individual behavioral processes. Interdisciplinary and multi-level research is especially promoted.
John Haaga, Ph.D.
Research Program Analyst:
Program Consultant in Genetics:
Jennifer Harris, Ph.D., Contractor
This unit fosters research on trends in functioning, disability, morbidity, and mortality; age trajectories of health; life expectancy and active life expectancy; causes and consequences of changes in the age-structure of population; interactions between health and socioeconomic status over time and across generations; the effect on health of social networks and social contexts; interrelationships between work, family and health; the intersection between demographic processes and social outcomes, including intergenerational relationships; and cohort analyses of aging. Epidemiologic studies of the health and well-being of older populations include studies of the incidence, prevalence and dynamics of disability and frailty, and the identification and evaluation of strategies and interventions to promote health. A life course perspective is emphasized.
This unit promotes research on all aspects of the economics of aging. Topics include implications of population aging for public and private retirement and health insurance programs and for income security of future retirees; allocation of family resources across generations; the impact of care arrangements for the elderly on labor supply; determinants of retirement, family labor supply, and saving; consequences of retirement for health and functioning; effects of psychological factors and mental health characteristics on economic behaviors; evaluations of the impact of changes in Federal programs including Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security policies; health and long-term-care insurance and expenditures; interrelationships between health and economic status, including issues related to wealth, poverty, productivity, human capital development, and economic development; the economic costs of disability; cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve the health and well being of the elderly; and the economic value of disability reduction and additional years of life.
Genetic components are an integral part of many of the research areas in the Population and Social Processes branch. The genetics section focuses particularly on the integration of genetic methods into population-based research, population genetics of aging, the interplay between genes and environment on a population level.
Jennifer Harris, Ph.D. (Contractor)
This unit encourages research on the impact of formal health care and long-term care systems and settings on the health and well-being of older persons. The emphasis is on how older people and their families deal with multiple services, often for multiple conditions, not on the efficacy or effectiveness of treatments for particular conditions or facility management. This section supports research on the long-term care system; health services and health care financing for older people with multiple chronic conditions; provider-level and regional variation in health expenditures, services, and outcomes for older persons; and U.S. and comparative cross-national studies of the efficiency and effectiveness of health-care systems.