News and Announcements

How did Hurricane Katrina affect short & long-term happiness of survivors?

marycwaters2aFormer Harvard Pop Center Bell Fellow Rocio Calvo Vilches, PhD Pop Center faculty member Mary Waters, PhD,  and Pop Center Yerby Fellow Mariana Arcaya, ScD, co-authored a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies titled Happily Ever After? Pre-and-Post Disaster Determinants of Happiness Among Survivors of Hurricane Katrina. The study, which compared survivors’ happiness levels pre-disaster to one and four years post-disaster, has received international media attention on,,, and in this Boston College blog.


Job stress that impacts family life linked to increased cardiometabolic risk

Berkman_Lisa_croppedA WFHN study of nursing home employees found that job stress that impacts family life (work-to-family conflict) is linked to increased cardiometabolic risk, whereas being married and having younger children at home was protective against this increased risk. Lisa Berkman is lead author on study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, which also found that family conflict that impacted work life (family-to-work conflict) was associated with getting less sleep.

Single motherhood before age 50 linked to poorer health later in life

Berkman_Lisa_croppedHarvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, is lead author on a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health that found that single motherhood before the age of 50 was associated with poorer health in later life. The association was stronger in England, the US, Denmark, and Sweden than in some of the other countries, such as those in Southern Europe, suggesting that social supports (e.g., a strong family network) may play an important role. Co-authors include Harvard Pop Center faculty members Maria Glymour, PhD, and Mauricio Avendano, PhD, and former Pop Center Fellow Erika Sabbath, ScD. The study is receiving international media attention including this article in The Telegraph and this spot on the Today Show on NBC. It is also the subject of this news brief from the Harvard. T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Long-term depression may double stroke risk in adults over 50

KubzanskyHarvard Pop Center faculty members Laura Kubzansky, PhD,  Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, and M. Maria Glymour, ScD, are co-authors on a ground-breaking study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that indicates that even when depressive symptoms have subsided, the higher risk of stroke still remains, particularly for women. Learn more in this Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health news brief, in this spot on NPR, and in this article.

Lisa Berkman on link between maternity leave & mental health featured in Harvard Chan School’s The Big 3

big-3-Berkman-homepage_pngThe Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s news feature The Big 3 asks Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, three questions about a recent paper that found that women who received more generous maternity leave benefits with their first born child experienced better mental health that extended in older age. Other co-authors of the study, published in Social Science & Medicine, include Pop Center faculty member and former Bell Fellow Mauricio Avendano, PhD, along with Giacomo Pasini, PhD, who was a visiting scientist at the Harvard Pop Center during the month of January.

Scaling up male circumcision in Sub-Saharan Africa could prevent more than 1 million HIV infections

Till BärnighausenHarvard Pop Center faculty members Till Bärnighausen, ScD, MD, PhD, and David Bloom, PhD, are co-authors of a new paper written for the 2015 Copenhagen Consensus that touts scaling up male circumcision to include 90% of Sub-Saharan males who are not HIV infected as a way to cost-effectively and dramatically reduce HIV infections. The findings of the paper, which also include expanding anti-retroviral treatment (ART), are featured in a news story on the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website.

Frequenting bars associated with increased sexual & HIV risk, & HSV-2 infection among South African young women

Rosenberg_MollyHarvard Pop Center Bell Fellow Molly Rosenberg, PhD, and Pop Center faculty member Kathleen Kahn, PhD, are co-authors of a study published in PLoS One that found that for young South African women, there was an association between visiting bars, especially when alcohol was consumed, and having more sexual partners, unprotected sex, transactional sex, and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) infection.  The study suggests that sexual health interventions targeted at bars might be an effective way to reach adolescents at high risk for sexually transmitted infections like HIV and HSV-2.