E The Ses And Dissertations From Start To Finish

Award Abstract #1649757
Doctoral Dissertation Research: The Intersections of Health and Wealth: Socioeconomic Status, Frailty, and Mortality

Division Of Behavioral and Cognitive Sci
Initial Amendment Date:February 10, 2017
Latest Amendment Date: February 10, 2017
Award Number:1649757
Award Instrument: Standard Grant
Program Manager:John E. Yellen
BCS Division Of Behavioral and Cognitive Sci
SBE Direct For Social, Behav & Economic Scie
Start Date: March 1, 2017
End Date:February 28, 2018 (Estimated)
Awarded Amount to Date: $24,074.00
Investigator(s): Sharon DeWitte dewittes@mailbox.sc.edu (Principal Investigator)
Samantha Yaussy (Co-Principal Investigator)
Sponsor: University of South Carolina at Columbia
Sponsored Awards Management
COLUMBIA, SC 29208-0001 (803)777-7093
NSF Program(s): DDRI Bio Anthro
Program Reference Code(s): 1392, 9150, 9179
Program Element Code(s): 7608


Socioeconomic status (SES) has long been known to mediate exposure to hazards and disease, as well as access to those resources necessary for growth, development, tissue maintenance, and immune response. However, the connection between SES and mortality is often oversimplified, and, in extreme cases, could misinform health policy and treatment protocols about the risks faced by individuals in a variety of contexts. Biological anthropology is well-equipped to explore the variability of patterns of SES and heath in the past by interpreting the results of bioarchaeological research in light of current theoretical perspectives espoused by public health researchers investigating the connection between SES and health in living populations. This project provides a novel model for exploring SES in past societies and will broaden understanding of the effects of SES across time by focusing on a context that differs from the modern, industrialized populations to which these theoretical perspectives have been applied. As a result, this multidisciplinary project will advance research in biological anthropology and extend the temporal purview of public health research by incorporating intersectionality theory into a study of past health. Moreover, the work will train a female graduate student and contribute to public science outreach efforts in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

This dissertation project uses skeletal samples to examine the interactions of SES, demographic characteristics (such as age and sex), exposure to physiological stressors, and mortality in the context of industrialization in 19th century England. Skeletal data from four industrial-era cemeteries (Coach Lane, St. Bride's Fleet Street, St. Peter's Wolverhampton, and New Bunhill Fields) will be analyzed with paleodemographic approaches (hazard modeling, hierarchical log-linear analysis, and analysis of variance) to determine how morbidity and mortality patterns in industrial England differed between SES groups; investigate how physiological stressors throughout life interacted with socially meaningful categories such as age and sex to produce layered marginalizations that influenced frailty and mortality in industrial England; and evaluate the potential of stressors underrepresented in biological anthropology literature to enhance understanding of marginalization, intersectionality, and mortality in the past.


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