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Jason DeCaro

Jason DeCaro (PhD Emory, 2006) is a biological anthropologist and biocultural medical anthropologist with interests in human developmental ecology and neuroanthropology. Dr. DeCaro also is a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Fellow (2011-2014). He studies the intersection of cultural models, everyday practices, and human physiology in the production of differential well-being across the lifecourse, especially but not exclusively focusing on children. Physiological responses can be used as a “lens” onto the impact of everyday experience. Biomarkers allow Anthropologists to consider the socialization of physiological aspects of arousal and the social contexts of physical health. Questions that motivate Dr. DeCaro include:

  • How do the routines and practices of everyday life within key developmental contexts (e.g., families) interact with culture and social structure to shift disease risk?
  • What are the mediators of stress in the daily lives of individuals?
  • What determines individual and group differences in the response to common challenges, whether normative (like entry into a new school year), chronic (like persistent childhood adversity), or traumatic (like a natural or man-made disaster)?

Major current research projects concern pathways between food insecurity and differential well-being in the United States and East Africa; the role of daily routines and cultural models in patterns of physical activity among older adults with osteoarthritis; and psychobiological moderation of school adjustment in children. More information about ongoing and recent research is available here.

Dr. DeCaro's Developmental Ecology and Human Biology Lab is a biological anthropology wet lab providing a center within the department for biocultural research involving immunological, endocrine, and other biological markers (to reach the lab, call (205) 348-7792).

He also microblogs on twitter and facebook, and posts occasional full-length pieces on our biocultural medical anthropology group blog, Biocultural Systematics.

Click here to see copies of the most recent syllabus for each of Dr. DeCaro's courses.

View Full CV Here

Contact Dr. DeCaro at: jdecaro@crimson.ua.edu
Office: 14 ten Hoor Hall
Lab Office: 311 Mary Harmon Bryant Hall
Phone: (205) 348-9061

Selected Publications

2012

Buzney CD, DeCaro JA. Explanatory models of female pubertal timing: Discordances between cultural models of maturation and the recollection and interpretation of personal developmental experiences. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 36(4):601-620. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.

2012

DeCaro JA, DeCaro E, and Ashley DH. Investigating the social ecology of daily experience using computerized structured diaries: physical activity among Mexican-American young adults. Field Methods 24(3):328-347. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.

2011

DeCaro JA, Worthman CM. Changing family routines at kindergarten entry predict biomarkers of parental stress. International Journal of Behavioral Development 35(5):441-448. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.

2010

DeCaro JA, DeCaro E, and Worthman CM. Sex differences in child nutritional and immunological status 5-9 years post contact in fringe highland Papua New Guinea. American Journal of Human Biology 22(5):657-666. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.

2008

DeCaro JA and Worthman CM. Culture and the socialization of child cardiovascular regulation at school entry in the US. American Journal of Human Biology 20(5):572-583. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.

2008

DeCaro JA and Worthman CM. Return to school accompanied by changing associations between family ecology and cortisol. Developmental Psychobiology 50(2):183-195. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.

2008

DeCaro JA. Methodological considerations in the use of salivary α-amylase as a stress marker in field research. American Journal of Human Biology 20(5):617-619. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.

2007

DeCaro JA and Worthman CM. Cultural models, parent behavior, and young child experience in working American families. Parenting: Science and Practice 7(2):177-203. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.