Social & Behavioral Sciences

Premature births cost health plans $6 billion annually

September 21, 2017

A new study estimates employer-sponsored health plans spent at least $6 billion extra on infants born prematurely in 2013 and a substantial portion of that sum was spent on infants with major birth defects. Birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies and are a leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. More than […]


Black, white or multicultural: Constructing race in two countries

September 18, 2017

A new study demonstrates the strong influence ancestry plays in Americans’ interpretation of whether someone is black, white or multiracial, highlighting differences in the way race is socially constructed in the U.S. compared to other parts of the world. The three-phase study, led by Jacqueline M. Chen of the University of Utah and published in […]


A magic formula to predict attraction is more elusive than ever

August 30, 2017

Dating websites often claim attraction between two people can be predicted from the right combination of traits and preferences, but a new study casts doubt on that assertion. The study, which used speed dating data, found a computer could predict who is desirable and how much someone would desire others — who’s hot and who’s […]


Nature imagery calms prisoners

August 28, 2017

Sweeping shots of majestic landscapes. Glaciers, forests and waterfalls.  Research published today shows that these images, shown to people deprived of access to nature, can reduce tension, help defuse anger and make some of the harshest environments, like a solitary confinement cellblock in a maximum-security prison, a little easier to bear. The study, published in […]


Should I stay or go?

August 17, 2017

Now a new study offers insights into what people are deliberating about and what makes the decision so difficult, which could help therapists working with couples and stimulate further research into the decision-making process. The study, led by U psychology professor Samantha Joel, was published in Social Psychology and Personality Science. Co-authors were Geoff MacDonald […]


Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients, new study finds

July 25, 2017

Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. After participating in a single, 15-minute session of one of these mind-body therapies, patients reported an immediate decrease in pain levels similar to what one might expect from an […]


Case grows for link between happiness and health

July 18, 2017

Scientists are still exploring and debating when happiness most affects health, but there is no doubt it can do so. In the most comprehensive review to date of studies on subjective well-being, a team of researchers conclude there is a connection between happiness and health in some instances — from better wound healing and immune […]


The surprising trend in extramarital sex in America

July 5, 2017

America’s generation gap is surfacing in a surprising statistic: rates of extramarital sex. Older Americans are cheating on their spouses more than their younger counterparts, with 20 percent of married Americans over age 55 reporting they’ve engaged in extramarital sex. Just 14 percent of those under age 55 say they’ve cheated, according to Nicholas H. […]


Finding what’s right with children who grow up in high-stress environments

July 4, 2017

A new research article proposes that more attention be given to what’s right with children who grow up in high-stress environments so their unique strengths and abilities can be used to more effectively tailor education, jobs and interventions to fit them. Stress-adapted children and youth possess traits — such as heightened vigilance, attention shifting and […]


U launches new Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health

May 31, 2017

The University of Utah has launched a new center dedicated to providing a transformative influence on health care by unifying research on mindfulness and other integrative behavioral health interventions. Eric Garland, associate dean for research at the U’s College of Social Work, will serve as director of the new Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health […]