Latest OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter

The OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter featuring updates from OBSSR Director Jane M. Simoni, Ph.D., information about behavioral and social sciences in the news, events and announcements, findings from recently published research, funding announcements, and other updates. The latest newsletter is available below.

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May 31, 2024

Director's Voice Blog

Advancing Women’s Health Research and Innovation: A Conversation with Janine Clayton, Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH)

In March 2024, President Joe Biden signed an directing the most comprehensive set of executive actions ever to expand and improve women’s health. Its actions prioritize the integration of women’s health throughout the federal research portfolio and budget, galvanizing new research initiatives on various topics, including menopause and women’s midlife health. Dr. Simoni recently had the opportunity to connect with the Director of ORWH, Janine Clayton, M.D., FARVO, about the importance of behavioral and social sciences research to women’s health and how the Executive Order can help address how we will work together to close gaps and accelerate the advancement of women’s health research.

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Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Spotlights

Teenager laying on the couch scrolling on her phone.

Neural Sensitivity Influences Social Well-Being in Youth During COVID-19

Researchers have found that the strength of young people’s brain responses to social rewards influenced their feelings of social satisfaction and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, a period with limited in-person interactions. Adolescents aged 10 to 17 whose brains are highly sensitive to social rewards felt lonelier when they had fewer in-person and virtual interactions than those whose brains are less sensitive to social rewards. Additionally, highly sensitive youth felt lonelier when they increased their passive use of social media, meaning they were scrolling through social media without posting or commenting. This finding suggests that observing the social lives of others without participating can be particularly negative for this group. Conversely, less sensitive adolescents did not feel as lonely with more frequent passive use of social media, indicating that simply viewing others’ social activities might be beneficial for them.

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