Course: Life Course Perspectives on Health

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Session Topic Readings
Part 1: Foundations
1 The Life Course, Human Development, and Health; Contexts, Causation, and Conceptualization Anderson, N. B. (1998). Levels of Analysis in Health Science: A Framework for Integrating Sociobehavioral and Biomedical Research. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 840(1), 563-576.

Ben-Shlomo, Y. & Kuh, D. (2002). A Life Course Approach to Chronic Disease Epidemiology: Conceptual Models, Empirical Challenges and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31, 285-293.

Elder, G. H., Johnson, M. K., & Crosnoe, R. (2003). The Emergence and Development of Life Course Theory. In J. T. Mortimer & M. J. Shanahan (Eds.), Handbook of the Life Course (pp. 3-19). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.

2 Cross Cutting Themes, Methodology and the Life Course Perspective in Public Health Halfon, N. & Hochstein, M. (2002). Life Course Health Development: An Integrated Framework for Developing Health, Policy, and Research. Milbank Q, 80(3), 433-479.

Wise, P. H. (2003). Framework as metaphor: the promise and peril of MCH life-course perspectives. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 7(3), 151-156.

3 Multilevel and Life Course Approaches to Obesity Bordage, G. (2009). Conceptual Frameworks to Illuminate and Magnify. Medical Education, 43(4), 312-319.

Earp, J. A. & Ennett, S. T. (1991). Conceptual Models for Health Education Research and Practice. Health Education Research, 6(2), 163-171.

Harris, K. M. (2010). An Integrative Approach to Health. Demography, 47(1), 1-22.

Part 2: Health and Development over the Life Course
4 Fetal Health and Development Required

Armstrong, V. L., Brunet, P. M., He, C., Nishimura, H., & Spector, F. J. (2006). What Is so Critical? A Commentary on the Reexamination of Critical Periods. Developmental Psychobiology, 326-331. Discussion 332-6.

Hertzman, C., & Boyce, T. (2010). How Experience Gets Under the Skin to Create Gradients in Developmental Health. Annual Review of Public Health, 31, 329-347.


Haas, J. S., Fuentes-Afflick, E., Stewart, A. L., Jackson, R. A., Dean, M. L., Brawarsky, P., et al. (2005). Prepregnancy Health Status and the Risk of Preterm Delivery. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 159, 58-63.

Snyder, U. (2004). Preterm Birth as a Social Disease. Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health, 9(2). Epub 2004 6 July.

5 Early Childhood: Survival, Growth, and Development Required

Bronfenbrenner, U. & Morris, P. A. (1998). The Ecology of Developmental Processes. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology: Volume 1: Theoretical Models of Human Development (5th Ed.). (pp. 993-1028). Hoboken NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Rutter, M., O'Connor, T. G., & English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA) Study Team (2004). Are There Biological Programming Effects for Psychological Development? Findings from a Study of Romanian Adoptees. Developmental Psychology, 40(1), 81-94.


Shonkoff, J. P., Boyce, W. T., & McEwen, B. S. (2009). Neuroscience, Molecular Biology, and the Childhood Roots of Health Disparities: Building a New Framework for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. JAMA, 301(21), 2252-2259.

Tough, P. The Poverty Clinic, The New Yorker, March 21, 2011, pgs 25-32.

6 Health and Development of School Age Children Required

Werner, E. (1995). Resilience in Development. Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol:81-85.

Wright, M. & Masten, A. (2005). Resilience Processes in Development: Fostering Positive Adaptation in the Context of Adversity. In: Handbook of Resilience in Children (pp. 17-37). New York, NY. Kluwer Academic/Penguin Publishers.


Graber, J. A. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1996). Transitions and Turning Points: Navigating the Passage from Childhood through Adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 32(4), 768-776.

7 Adolescent Development Required

Johnson, M. K., Crosnoe, R., & Elder, G. H. (2011). Insights on Adolescence from a Life Course Perspective. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21, 273-280.

Marmot, M. Social Determinants and Adolescent Health. Int J Public Health 2009;S125-127

8 Health in Adulthood Required

Gouin, J. P., Carter, C. S., Pournajafi-Nazarloo, H., Glaser, R., Malarkey, W. B., Loving, T. J., et al. (2010). Marital Behavior, Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and Wound Healing. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(7), 1082-1090.

Jackson, J. S., Knight, K. M., & Rafferty, J. A. (2010). Race and Unhealthy Behaviors: Chronic Stress, the HPA Axis, and Physical and Mental Health Disparities over the Life Course. Am J Public Health, 100(5), 933-939.


Marmot, M. G., Davey Smith, G., Stansfeld, S. A., Patel, C., North, F., & Head, J. (1991). Health Inequalities among British Civil Servants: The Whitehall II Study. Lancet, 337, 1387-1393.

9 Health and Functioning in Later Life Required

Fried, L. P., Tangen, C. M., Walston, J., Newman, A. B., Hirsch, C., Gottdiener, J., et al. (2001). Frailty in older adults: evidence for a phenotype. Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 56(3), M146-M156.

Vaupel, J. W. (2009). Lively Questions for Demographers About Death at 9 Older Ages. Population and Development Review, 35(2), 347-356.


Executive Summary and Summary Tables from United Nations. (2009). World Population Ageing 2009. New York: United Nations.

Application Reading
1 Low Birth Weight Jasienska, G. (2009). Low Birth Weight of Contemporary African Americans: An Intergenerational Effect of Slavery? American Journal of Human Biology, 21(1), 16-24.

Lu, M. C., & Halfon, N. (2003). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Birth Outcomes: A Life Course Perspective. Maternal & Child Health Journal, 7(1), 13-30.

2 Early
Durham, R. E., Farkas G, Scheffner Hammer C., Tomblin J. B., & Catts, H. W. J. (2007). Kindergarten Oral Language Skill: A Key Variable in the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 24(4): 294-305.
3 The Weathering Hypothesis Geronimus, A. T. (2003 ). Damned If You Do: Culture, Identity, Privilege, and Teenage Childbearing in the United States. Social Science & Medicine 57, 881-893.

Geronimus, A. T. (2004). Teenage Childbearing as Cultural Prism. British Medical Bulletin, 69, 155-166.

4 Allostatic Load Required

McEwen, B. S. (1998). Protective and Damaging Effects of Stress Mediators. New England Journal of Medicine, 338(3), 171-179.

Chyu, L., & Upchurch, D. M. (2011). Racial and ethnic patterns of allostatic load among adult women in the United States: findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. J Womens Health, 20(4), 575-583.


Steptoe, A., Hamer, M., Butcher, L., Lin, J., Brydon, L., Kivimaki, M., et al. (2011). Educational attainment but not measures of current socioeconomic circumstances are associated with leukocyte telomere length in healthy older men and women. Brain Behav Immun.

5 Dementia: Life Course Determinants and Late Interventions Required

Whalley, L. J., Dick, F. D., & McNeill, G. (2006). A Life-Course Approach to the Aetiology of Late-Onset Dementias. Lancet Neurol, 5(1), 87-96.

Wilson, R. S., Bennett, D. A., Bienias, J. L., Aggarwal, N. T., Mendes De Leon, C. F., Morris, M. C., et al. (2002). Cognitive Activity and Incident Ad in a Population-Based Sample of Older Persons. Neurology, 59(12), 1910-1914.


Lautenschlager NT, e. a. (2008). Effect of physical activity on cognition function in older adults at risk for Alzheimer disease: a randomized trial. JAMA , 300 (9), 1027-37.