Y. Claire Yang

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Ph.D., Professor, Sociology

yangy@unc.edu

CPC Office: 308 W Rosemary St, Room 219
CPC Phone Number: (919) 962-3624

Campus Office: Hamilton Hall, Room 155
Campus Phone Number: (919) 966-5558

Dr. Yang's Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Yang's Personal Home Page

Dr. Yang's Google Scholar profile

Dr. Yang's publications in PubMed

Dr. Yang's CPC publications

Yang conducts transdisciplinary research that integrates social and biological theories and data to understand mechanisms producing social disparities in health and their changes over the life course. Her research on biodemography of aging uses population-level data to model the age patterns and temporal changes of chronic disease incidence and mortality and to understand the dynamics of aging and disease interaction and the influences of social contexts on these dynamics. She has published extensively on statistical methodologies of cohort analysis in the context of mortality, cancer epidemiology, obesity, subjective well-being, and frailty. Her current NIA-fundedproject focuses on an integrative biosocial explanatory framework of sex differences in health and longevity. Using a consortium of population-based data on vital statistics, surveys, and biomarker data, her recent resesarch along this line has yielded new insights into sex differences in mortality and health in relation to social status and social behaviors such as social relationship ties and support and their intereconnections with physiological stress response process and dysregulations in immune and metabolic systems.

Another line of Yang’s recent research focues on biophysiological mechanisms underlying the links between social relationships, disease, and mortality. She published multiple studies on the association of social isolation and inflammation using a wide variety of population-based data including biomarkers. They contribute two novelties to the literature on social relationships and health: the explication of interconnections between social behaviors and physiological stress responses; and life course variation in such interconnections. Two articles related structural and quantitative dimension of social relationships (e.g., social integration) to fat and glucose metabolism in older adults (Yang et al. 2014) and inflammation in adults with cancer (Biodemography and Social Biology 2014, with Li and Frenk). Two other articles related the functional and qualitative dimension of social relationships (e.g., social support and strain) to markers of inflammation in midlife adults (Social Science & Medicine 2014, with Schorpp and Harris) and blood pressure in older adults (Journal of Aging and Health 2015, with Boen and Harris). Two other articles show that understanding persistent and unexplained gender differences in health requires consideration of the interplay of biological and social factors over the life course (Short et al. 2013). Specifically, Yang shows that factors such as cigarette smoking (Yang and Kozloski 2011) and religiosity (Yang and Kozloski 2012) have differential effects on physiological dysregulation (inflammation) for men and women and that this difference increases with age.

Yang’s research will expand the studies of the associations between social relationships and physiological determinant of longevity in two directions by 1) articulating the genetic mechanisms in terms of gene expression that vary by social environment; and 2) linking all stages of the life span using an innovative life course design and multiple nationally representative longitudinal studies. She is participating in the designs of new waves of the Add Health project with a focus on biomarkers of chronic disease of aging. She plans to make more extensive use of genetic data in the on-going Add Health projects that will be linked to other large data sets such as the Health and Retirement Survey for studies of gene by environment interaction effects on stress response.

Primary Research Areas:

  • Demography

  • Population Health

Current Research Projects:

Information updated on 8/7/2017

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