Social Sciences and Behavioral Research

Health related research isn’t limited to biomedical or clinical research. Research that informs and improves health outcomes also includes inquiries into the areas of behavior and social sciences. These research fields help us understand how behavior and society affect health and can help fight disease.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), behavioral refers to what people do, as well as what drives them to do things, and it involves psychological processes like emotion.  The social sciences explore how individuals interact with each other: in small groups, families, and communities, as well as within populations and in society.

Social psychologists have identified loneliness as a risk factor in a number of conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, diminished immunity, and diminished impulse control. Interventions that change the way lonely individuals interpret social interactions show the most promise in reducing loneliness. Source

Health economists are collaborating with biomedical researchers and regulators to develop a comprehensive database of drug trials and patient outcomes. This will be a publicly available tool to analyze drug innovation and evaluate policy efforts aimed at the innovation ecosystem. The ultimate goal is to improve health and reduce health care costs by helping to make the R&D ecosystem more efficient. Source

Behavioral researchers have found that intensive counseling can help to induce clinically meaningful weight loss in obese populations. Source

Behavioral & social sciences research advocacy topics:

  • Securing robust federal funding
  • Combating targeted attacks on specific research grants
  • Promoting public health and prevention
  • Increasing the visibility and utilization of the social and behavioral sciences
  • Encouraging interdisciplinary cooperation

Policy Contacts

Director of Policy and Advocacy
571-482-2726
 
If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana