Michael L. Spittel, Erica L. Spotts, and Bethany G. Deeds. (2013). Integration of Behavioral, Social Science and Genetics Research: Exploring Public Health Significance. American Journal of Public Health. e-View Ahead of Print.
Accepted on: Jun 24, 2013
Integration of Behavioral, Social Science and Genetics Research: Exploring Public Health Significance
Michael L. Spittel, Erica L. Spotts, and Bethany G. Deeds
At the time of the writing, Michael L. Spittel and Erica L. Spotts were with the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. Bethany G. Deeds is with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health.
The Human Genome Project heralded an expansive growth of genetic data during the past decade, and yet a key scientific challenge remains. How does this growing genetic data impact behavioral and social science research (BSSR), and what is the impact on the public’s health? BSSR factors have long played a pivotal role in scientific understanding of illness and health by generating improvements in the identification, treatment and prevention of diseases and promoting health and well-being. In fact, never before has BSSR been so rich on three distinct but overlapping fronts: analytical methods, data on human behavior, and biological information. As scientific understanding of the biological foundation of behavior and social life advances, the integration of these findings has become critical to health and medicine. The question is no longer, Are we the product of nature or nurture? but now becomes, What mechanisms explain how social and behavioral factors interact with biological systems to impact both the health of individuals and of populations? (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 8, 2013: e1–e3. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301539)