Research Projects

The following projects and programs offer web sites with detailed information about their research: study design, data collection, findings, publications, and more. To learn more about a project or about data access, please visit the project’s web site.

A Virtue Ethics Perspective on Stress and Human Flourishing from Youth to Young Adulthood

Kenneth A. Bollen

This project analyzes four waves of survey data and in-person interviews from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) and three interrelated questions: 1) How do youths’ relationships with God, relationships with parents, relationships with peers, church-based relationships, and relationships with romantic partners, correspond to or compensate for each other? 2) Which attachments, behaviors, and emotions are constitutive of flourishing in young adulthood? 3) Why are some people resilient to stress, exhibiting human flourishing despite undergoing stressful life events, while others are vulnerable to stress, exhibiting low levels of human flourishing following stressful life experiences?

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Add Health (The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health)

Kathleen Mullan Harris

Add Health is a nationally representative study of the health and behavior of adolescents in grades 7-12 in the United States in 1994-95 who have been followed through adolescence and the transition to adulthood with special emphasis on the effects of social context.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Carolina Population Center

Phil Morgan

CPC was established in 1966 to serve the population research and training needs of an elected body of faculty fellows. CPC draws its current body of 63 faculty fellows from 15 departments and five schools across campus. Eight signature themes collectively describe the population research interests of the faculty: Sexual Behavior, Contraceptive Use, and Reproductive Health; Fertility, Families, and Children; Life Course Perspectives; Biological and Social Interactions; Population Movement, Diversity, and Inequality; Place, Space, and Health; Population and Environment; and Population and Health Policies and Programs. The strength of CPC derives from the individual and collective strengths of its faculty. As of May 31, 2013, CPC’s portfolio consisted of 59 funded research projects, covering topics from the local to global. Research based at CPC is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, with a large majority of funded projects involving more than one investigator and the majority of those involving investigators from different departments or schools and often other institutional researchers.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey

Linda S. Adair

This program follows a cohort of Filipino women who gave birth between May 1, 1983, and April 30, 1984. Originally conceptualized as a study of infant feeding patterns and how feeding decisions interact with social, economic, and environmental factors to affect health, nutritional, demographic, and economic outcomes, this cohort was reinterviewed in 1991-2, 1994, and 1999.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Center for Galapagos Studies

Stephen J. Walsh

The Center for Galapagos Studies (CGS) is the coordinating unit for UNC's Galapagos Initiative, which marshals Carolina's research strengths to address the complex human and environmental pressures in the Galapagos archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of evolutionary science.

China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS)

Barry M. Popkin

This project was designed to examine the effects of the health, nutrition, and family planning policies and programs implemented by national and local governments and to see how the social and economic transformation of Chinese society is affecting the health and nutritional status of its population.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Collaborative Research: Multi-level Response Diversity: Land Use, Livelihood Diversification, and Resilience in Northern Tanzania

Paul W. Leslie

This project clarifies the causes of the changing land use and livelihood patterns of Maasai in northern Tanzania and explore how these changes are likely to affect the social-ecological system, including the viability of households and communities and the implications for biodiversity and wildlife conservation.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Cross-National Equivalence Files

Barry M. Popkin

CPC's China Health and Nutrition Survey will be added to the longitudinal Cross-National Equivalence Files (CNEF) data to make it possible for cross-national researchers to use more powerful statistical methods to better control for otherwise unobserved person-specific heterogeneity in behavior.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Cross-National Patterns and Predictors of Life-cycle Smoking Behavior

Barry M. Popkin

The overall goal of this effort is to continue to provide smoking data under the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) and adapt CNEF computer programs for use with RLMS data for the analysis of global smoking behavior.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Ecuador Projects

Richard E. Bilsborrow, Stephen J. Walsh

This program investigates the social, economic, and demographic effects on land use change among colonist and indigenous communities in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Environmental Change and Inflammation: Age, Cohort and Household Effects in China

Amanda L. Thompson

Drawing on a life course framework, this project examines the pathways linking social and physical environments to inflammation among children, adolescents and young adults by characterizing various predictors of inflammation across age groups and urban/rural residence; using latent class trajectory models and age, period, cohort analysis to characterize patterns of exposure to pathogenic and obesogenic environments; and identifying predictors of inflammation within individual households.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Environmental Changes and Health Outcomes across 25 Years: Four US Cities

Penny Gordon-Larsen

The 25-year, longitudinal Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study provides a wide age range, high quality longitudinal, biological, behavioral and anthropometry and biomarker data of CARDIA, geographic diversity, and different patterns and pace of change across the four baseline cities: Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland. The research team has developed a unique method to use retrospective and contemporary sources to create data on the timing and placement of introductions, renovations, and closures of: 1) food resources (e.g., restaurants, food shopping); 2) recreation facilities (e.g., trails, parks); and 3) transportation infrastructure (e.g., light rail, bike parking, bike paths) in Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland over a 25-year period.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Evaluating U.S. Food Purchases and Children's Caloric Intake to Gauge the Food Industry's Commitment to Reduce Calories in Children's Diets

Barry M. Popkin

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Evaluation of Berkeley Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SSB) Tax

Barry M. Popkin

The Berkeley tax’s impact on beverage purchases, as well as the use of revenue and industry behavior, is being monitored.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Exploring Markers for Suboptimal Headache Treatment Response and Functional Impairment

Kathleen Mullan Harris

The external network core is intended to build a meaningful, integrated and lasting research and training collaboration between Duke and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). A major theme of this project is a life course perspective on aging.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

How Gender and Religion Interactively Influence the Development of Girls' Occupational Aspirations

Lisa D. Pearce

This study focuses on how systems of gender and religion, two highly influential social institutions in adolescence, interactively suggest gendered occupational lines of action to youth. Youth thereby come to expect futures in ways that chart an unequal course long before they face discriminatory measures as adults.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Impacts of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Richard E. Bilsborrow

Grounded on theories of species distribution, habitat occupancy, and ecological function, researchers are using forest cover and its change and habitat occupancy of the golden monkey to quantify the environment. The use of habitat occupancy as a measure of environmental effects of payments for ecosystem services (PES) is an innovation in the PES literature. This research team is collecting a large amount of data through a household survey of participants as well as participatory mapping. Since participants are hypothesized as responding to PES in multiple ways, the project will use and empirically test the theory of the multiphasic response. This has the potential to transform methodological approaches to statistically investigate population-environment linkages in coupled natural and human systems.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Infant Care Project

Margaret E. Bentley

This research examines behavioral and environmental factors that significantly influence infant health outcomes in the first two years of life. The study is currently being conducted among African-American mother-infant pairs in North Carolina.

LAMHA - Latino Adolescent Migration, Health and Adaptation Project

Krista M. Perreira

This project is a mixed-method, descriptive study of the mental health status and needs of immigrant youth and their families.

Life Course Studies

Glen H. Elder, Jr.

These studies relate human development to the life course in changing environments, with emphasis on educational processes or linkages, e.g., socialization and mastery learning.

MEASURE Evaluation

James Thomas

Examines the impact of a wide range of activities to improve human health and well-being, with a focus on family planning, maternal and child health and nutrition, and the prevention of HIV/STDs.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Measurement, Learning & Evaluation (MLE) Project for the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative

David K. Guilkey

The Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, a multi-country program targeting the urban poor, improves contraceptive choice and increases access to high quality, voluntary family planning. Because 1 in 3 urban residents live in slums, many beyond the reach of health services, the URHI aims to increase the equitable distribution of family planning services. The Initiative links country-level consortia with evaluation experts on the Measurement, Learning & Evaluation (MLE) Project who will identify the most effective country-level approaches, facilitate knowledge sharing, and build a robust evidence base to shape future urban family planning, reproductive health, and integrated maternal and newborn health programs.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Modeling Population-Environment Interactions in a World Heritage Site: Comparison of Statistical and Agent-Based Modeling Approaches to Study Complex Systems

Stephen J. Walsh

This project designs a data collection and analysis approach that could be analyzed by agent-based modeling and econometric modeling to see the extent to which the agent-based modeling (ABM) and statistical approaches do or do not give similar results, and if not, why.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Monitoring and Evaluation for Feed the Future Feedback Program

Siân L. Curtis

This FEEDBACK evaluation effort focuses on the Feed the Future Initiative to inform policy, investment, and intervention decisions related to food security in vulnerable countries.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Nang Rong Projects

Barbara Entwisle, Ronald R. Rindfuss Stephen J. Walsh

These studies were conducted for monitoring and understanding demographic and social changes occurring in Nang Rong, Thailand.

Network on Life Course Dynamics and Disparities in 21st Century America

Robert Hummer

This project formally creates a research network to understand how and why the United States is increasingly falling behind virtually all comparably developed/wealthy nations, and even some developing countries, on major indicators of population health.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Nutrition Transition Program

Barry M. Popkin

This program involves a set of research projects studying the rapid increases in inactivity and obesity, and the associated rise in noncommunicable diseases, that have occurred along with other rapid social and economic changes in the developing world.

Nutrition-related NCD (noncommunicable disease) Prevention Training in China

Barry M. Popkin

This grant focuses on capacity building related to large-scale program and policy analysis in the nutrition-related noncommunicable disease (NR-NCD) area. The primary focus of this research training and related institutional development is on issues linked with dietary and physical activity patterns and preventing obesity and the related comorbidities.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Obesity and Metabolic Risk Disparities: Underlying Food Environment Factors

Penny Gordon-Larsen

This project uses longitudinal data to understand the effects of changes in food prices, and availability and access to away-from-home food eateries and food shopping options, on diet, and in turn, weight gain and metabolic risk factors.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

ONEdata - Obesity & Neighborhood Environment Database

Penny Gordon-Larsen

The Obesity and Neighborhood Environment database is a unique collection of variables derived using spatial analysis techniques within a large scale Geographic Information System (GIS) that links community-level data to individual Add Health respondent residential locations in both space and time. Community-level data include density and proximity to recreational facilities, land use patterning, population, economic, climate, and crime statistics, which are linked spatially and temporally to individual-level Add Health behavior and health outcome data.

Pathways to HIV Risk among Orphan School Dropouts in Kenya

Lisa D. Pearce

Specific aims of this study are: Aim 1: Identify and describe key contextual factors that either protect orphans from or put them at risk of dropping out of school; and Aim 2: Examine key contextual factors that either protect orphans from or increase their risk of HIV infection.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Pilot study of HIV self-testing as a partner selection strategy

Harsha Thirumurthy

The project explores whether high-risk individuals in Kenya can reduce their exposure to HIV/AIDS if provided with an innovative intervention (multiple HIV self-test kits and counseling) that enables them to more easily screen their sexual partners for HIV and make sexual behavior decisions accordingly.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Population Research Training

Carolyn Tucker Halpern

The NICHD-NRSA training grant develops CPC trainees' skills needed to carry out successful population-relevant research, primarily through collaboration with experienced faculty researchers on population-relevant research. The keystone of the training program is an individualized faculty mentor preceptor-trainee relationship.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Population, Land Use and Health Dynamics of Biomass Fuel Use in Sub-Saharan Africa

Pamela Jagger

This project tests the central hypothesis that meso and macro level variables including land use and land cover change, population dynamics, and variable rates of infrastructure and market development influence fuel and technology options, and in turn observed respiratory health, nutrition, and socioeconomic outcomes.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Preferences, Expectations, and the Prediction of Health and Economic Behavior

Harsha Thirumurthy

This project combines insights from economics and psychology and applies them to HIV/AIDS in ways that provide a better understanding of individuals’ health behaviors as well as their behavioral responses to reduced life expectancy.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study (PIN)

Anna Maria Siega-Riz

This study examines a range of potential risk factors for preterm birth, focusing primarily on psychosocial stress, physical activity, placental characteristics, infection, nutrition, health behaviors, socioeconomic characteristics, and other health, social, and contextual factors. Factors affecting weight retention in the postpartum period are also examined.

Racial Disparities in Cancer Outcomes: Quantifying Modifiable Mechanisms

Whitney Robinson

This project addresses cancer prevention and control by prioritizing efforts to reduce cancer disparities. Some racial and socioeconomic groups have higher rates of cancer incidence and mortality than others. However, the processes causing these disparities remain unclear. Standard epidemiologic methods describe cancer disparities but do not identify the causes of the disparities. To effectively intervene to reduce disparities, this project will identify mechanisms by which disparities arise.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE (RLMS-HSE)

Barry M. Popkin

The RLMS is a household-based longitudinal survey designed to measure the effects of Russian reforms on the economic well-being of households and individuals.

SES and Race-ethnic Disparities in Food Purchasing and Dietary Intake: 2000-2015

Barry M. Popkin

The primary goals of this project are to examine how various socioeconomic factors (including the Great Recession and price changes) affect short-term and long-term food purchases and dietary outcomes across and within critical race/ethnic and SES subpopulations.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Social-Eco Hotspots in Burkina Faso

Colin West

Anthropology can benefit from the use of remotely senses spatial data to fill in gaps in ecological data. This study compares regional trends in rainfall and vegetation over a 20-year period in semi-arid northern Burkina Faso to investigate linkages between human land use change and land degradation at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Soil Degradation and Household Well-being in Rural Uganda

Clark Gray

This project investigates relationships between soil degradation and household well-being in rural Uganda by combining approaches from population geography, agricultural economics and soil science.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Southern Immigrant Academic Adaptation Study (SIAA)

Krista M. Perreira

Population-based study of the daily acculturation experiences and academic adaptation of Latino youth in a new receiving community.

Spatial Health Research Group

Michael E. Emch

The Spatial Health Research Group focuses on exploring spatio-temporal patterns of disease, primarily infectious diseases of the developing world.

Spatio-temporal Patterns of Drug Resistant Malaria in Democratic Republic of Congo

Michael E. Emch

The goal of this project is to measure the movement of genetic markers (gene flow) to understand the factors which prevent malaria transmission (barriers) or promote it (corridors).

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Systems Science Evaluation of Mexico's Sugar-Sweetened Beverage and Food (SSBF) Tax

Barry M. Popkin

This project’s goal is to evaluate the Mexican taxes on surgar-sweetened beverages , junk food, and snacks and understand how they change food prices and food purchase patterns.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

TeenWeb: Using the Web to Survey and Inform Urban Adolescents about Health

Carolyn Tucker Halpern

TeenWeb examines the ability of the Web to collect information from adolescents and teach them about reproductive health issues, in urban secondary schools in Nairobi, Kenya, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Maternal Life Course Origins of Infant Health

Kathleen Mullan Harris

This research project is one of the first to explore the pre-conception life course period and identify pre-conception risk factors from women’s early life experiences. Findings from this research will be important for reducing preterm and low birth weight disparities by targeting pre-conception risk factors, long before conception and gestation leading to preterm births.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

The Use of HIV Self-tests to Promote Partner and Couples Testing: A Randomized Trial

Harsha Thirumurthy

This study explores whether the provision of oral HIV self-testing can facilitate HIV testing with sexual partners in a safe and effective manner.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:

Transfer Project

Sudhanshu (Ashu) Handa

The Transfer Project is an innovative research and learning initiative which supports improved knowledge and practice on social transfers in Africa.

Current CPC Grants and Contracts:


49 projects found

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