The social environment, both in early life and adulthood, is one of the strongest predictors of morbidity and mortality risk in humans. Evidence from long-term studies of other social mammals indicates that this relationship is similar across many species. In addition, experimental studies show that social interactions can causally alter animal physiology, disease risk, and life span itself. These findings highlight the importance of the social environment to health and mortality as well as Darwinian fitness-outcomes of interest to social scientists and biologists alike. They thus emphasize the utility of cross-species analysis for understanding the predictors of, and mechanisms underlying, social gradients in health.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Triangle Area Social and Biological Determinants of Health Working Group is supported by the Duke Center for Population Health and Aging (with funding from NIH P30AG034424), the Carolina Population Center (with funding from NIH P2C HD050924), the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine, and the Duke Social Sciences Research Institute. This work was also supported by NIH grants R01AG057235, R01HD088558, and R01GM102562 to J.T.; R00AG051764, R01AG060931, and T32AG000139 to N.S.-M.; R01HL087103 to C.A.S.; R01AG057800 to Y.C.Y; R24AG065172 to J.T., A.B., and K.M.H.; R01AG053308 and P01AG031719 to S.C.A.; P01HD031921 and R01HD087061 to K.M.H.; F32HD084117 to L.G.; R01DK102496 to A.B.; R01MD013349, R01MD011728, and T32HD091058 to A.E.A.; a Human Frontier Science Program Research Grant to J.T.; a Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics 18.04 to A.B.; and a Jacobs Foundation Early Career Fellowship to D.W.B.; G.A.N. received support from NIH T32HD091058 and NIH 1K99AG062749-01A1, L.G. received support from NIH T32HD007168, J.R.B. received support from the Bridging Biodiversity and Conservation Science program at the University of Arizona, and G.A.N. and N.S.-M. received support from NIH T32AG000029.