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Jason DeCaro

Associate Professor



Education


PhD Emory, 2006

Bio


Jason DeCaro is a biocultural medical and psychological anthropologist and human biologist with interests in human developmental ecology and neuroanthropology. Dr. DeCaro has been honored as a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Fellow (2011-2014), and with the 2015 University of Alabama President’s Faculty Research Award for Arts & Sciences – Social Sciences. 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.

Research


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)?

Jason DeCaro from CIT Multimedia Services on Vimeo.

Major current research projects concern pathways among food insecurity, nutritional status, social status and differential well-being in the United States, Central America 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 currently active research projects 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, nutritional, and other biological markers. 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.

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

Selected publications are available for download at ResearchGate.

Teaching


Human biology; biological anthropology; neuroanthropology; evolutionary medicine; food and nutrition; social epidemiology.

Publications


2016 DeCaro JA. Anthropology. In Hopkins B, Geangu E, Linkenauger S, eds., Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press (in press).
2016 Lynn CD, Dominguez JT, DeCaro JA. Tattooing to “Toughen up”: Tattoo experience and secretory immunoglobulin A. American Journal of Human Biology, early view. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.
2016 DeCaro JA. Beyond catecholamines: Measuring autonomic responses to psychosocial context. American Journal of Human Biology 28(3):309-317. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.
2016 DeCaro JA, Manyama M, Wilson W. Household-level predictors of maternal mental health and systemic inflammation among infants in Mwanza, Tanzania. American Journal of Human Biology, early view. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.
2015 Hadley C, DeCaro JA. Does moderate iron deficiency protect against childhood illness? A test of the optimal iron hypothesis in Tanzania. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 157(4):675-679. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.
2015 Weaver LJ, Worthman CM, DeCaro JA, Madhu SV. The signs of stress: Embodiments of biosocial stress among type 2 diabetic women in New Delhi, India. Social Science & Medicine 131:122-130. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.
2014 DeCaro JA. Review of Syndemic Suffering: Social Distress, Depression, and Diabetes among Mexican Immigrant Women, by Emily Mendenhall. American Journal of Human Biology 26(4):575-576. Link to the review. Full text pdf available upon request.
2014 Hadley C, DeCaro JA. Testing hypothesized predictors of immune activation in Tanzanian infants and children: community, household, caretaker and child effects. American Journal of Human Biology 26(4):523-529. View the abstract. Full text pdf available upon request.
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.