Reports and Publications

The reports and research resources listed are those where OBSSR led, provided financial and/or staff support to develop or are key government reports related to behavioral and social sciences, including reports from workshops and reports or special issues commissioned by OBSSR.

Trans-NIH Research Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences: National Institutes of Health Council of Councils Working Group Report
May 21, 2021 | This report to the NIH Director and Council of Councils is a follow up to 2004’s Research Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences. Although bBSSR support has strengthened in recent years, critical areas of need remain, as well as emerging and promising new areas that the NIH should consider accelerating. Continued improvements in the diversity of the bBSSR workforce are needed, and the NIH can ensure that its various workforce diversity efforts not only include bBSSR, but also draw upon lessons learned from the BSSR workforce. bBSSR has extensive scientific approach and infrastructure needs that the NIH should consider addressing to advance the field.

A Communicator’s Tip Sheet for COVID-19 Vaccination
December 2020 | This is “A Communicator’s Tip Sheet for COVID-19 Vaccination.” It highlights some recommended do’s and don’ts for COVID-19 vaccination communication.

COVID-19 Vaccination* Communication: Applying Behavioral and Social Science to Address Vaccine Hesitancy and Foster Vaccine Confidence
December 2020 | This report, which was developed in consultation with leading experts in social and behavioral sciences and public health, outlines evidence-informed communication strategies in support of national COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts across federal agencies and their state and local partners. The report builds on four foundational principles (coordinated and consistent messaging, building trust, consideration of health literacy, and prioritizing equity) to offer concrete recommendations for targeted and tailored communication. The recommendations are based on three intersecting considerations: What is being communicated, Who is the target of the message, and How the message is communicated.

NIH-Funded CBPR: Self-Reported Community Partner and Investigator Perspectives
April 2019 | This evaluation of NIH's CBPR portfolio recounts the progress of 489 projects funded between 2004-2013 including perspectives from PIs and community partners from those projects who were willing to participate in survey research.

The Selection of Comparators for Randomized Controlled Trials of Health-Related Behavioral Interventions: Recommendations of an NIH Expert Panel
February 2019 | This paper presents recommended process for arriving at different comparator choices by adopting the Pragmatic Model for Comparator Selection in Health-Related Behavioral Trials. Process is represented in a decisional flow chart accounting for the acceptability, feasibility, formidability, relevance, stringency and uniformity of the choice. Purpose and phase of the trial are contextually considered to account for the primary objective of the trial; significant barriers to or limitations in implementation; and optimization of the comparator.

Contributions of Social and Behavioral Research in Addressing the Opioid Crisis (Full Summary)
March 2018 | Introduces a summary report that focuses on specifying key actionable social and behavioral science findings that can be brought to bear immediately to address the opioid crisis, and identifying critical short-term (as well as potential mid-term and longer-term) research priorities that have the potential to improve the opioid crisis response.

Graduate Training in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
September 2017 | Proceedings of a workshop supported by the National Science Foundation and the NIH on how to update graduate training in the social and behavioral sciences.

Self-Regulation of Appetite—It's Complicated
March 2017 | This special issue reviews evidence regarding known mechanisms affecting appetitive behavior and suggests targets for novel interventions to help control weight status. Multiple systems are considered: biologic, psychologic, neural, environmental and policy mechanisms and influences. Effects of mechanisms and their interactions are discussed to identify pathways and targets to impact eating behavior and inform interventions.

Special issue on eHealth and mHealth: Challenges and future directions for assessment, treatment, and dissemination
December 2015 | This special issue is intended to promote a discussion of eHealth and mHealth and its connection with health psychology.

The Cultural Framework for Health: An integrative approach for research and program design and evaluation
November 2015 | Provides methods and tools for research project design that can illuminate project-salient cultural processes health-related behaviors and culturally-specific concepts of health and well-being. An accessible version of this document is being developed. For any immediate accessibility assistance requests please contact

Educational Attainment and Adult Health: Contextualizing Causality
February 2015 | Special Issue in Social Science & Medicine, sponsored in part by OBSSR, highlighting some of the leading questions explaining the connection between education and health.

Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2
January 2015 | Phase 2 of this IOM report identified a parsimonious panel of social and behavioral measures for use in electronic health records (EHRs) that is comprehensive, interoperable, and efficient. These "psychosocial vital signs" include four measures that are already widely collected (race/ethnicity, tobacco use, alcohol use, and residential address) and eight additional measures (education, financial resource strain, stress, depression, physical activity, social isolation, intimate partner violence, and neighborhood median household income). The committee concluded that the health benefits of addressing these determinants outweigh the added burden to providers, patients, and health care systems in including these psychosocial vital signs in EHRs.

Review of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Opportunities Innovations in Population Health Metrics
July 2014 | Meeting summary of thought leaders who were invited to specify research opportunities in the space between the Health and BSSR.

Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains in Electronic Health Records: Phase 1
June 2014 | OBSSR, partnering with other federal and nonfederal entities, requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM; now the National Academy of Medicine) identify domains and measures that capture the social determinants of health to inform the development of recommendations for Stage 3 meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). This Phase I report identifies specific domains to be considered by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), criteria for deciding which domains should be included, core social and behavioral domains to be included in all EHRs, and any domains that should be included for specific populations or settings defined by age, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, disease, or other characteristics.

Education and Health: New Frontiers (Meeting Summary)
June 2014 | Meeting summary of leading researchers to provide their professional opinions on future directions in the research literature connecting educational attainment and health.

New Methods for Advancing Research on Tobacco Dependence Using Ecological Momentary Assessments
May 2014 | This special issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research (NTR), sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes of Health, is devoted to the novel topic of collecting and analyzing data from ecological momentary assessment (EMA) studies to collect real-time tobacco use and dependence data in real-time settings. EMA methods have particular utility for understanding tobacco use because they enable microanalyses of use and can shed light on how behavior unfolds over time.

Advancing Scientific Inquiry by Blurring Research Boundaries
October 2013 | Introduction to a Special Issue of the American Journal of Public Health sponsored by OBSSR. Highlights research integrating public health, behavioral and social science, and genetics.

The History of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Lecture Series: 1995 - 2013
September 2013 | This report provides a summary of the OBSSR lecture series (1995-2013) which highlighted a range of disciplines, approaches, and disease areas in the behavioral and social sciences.

Qualitative Assessment of the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Portfolio - Interviews with Institute Staff and Personnel from Selected Professional Societies
August 2013 | Describes a follow up to an evaluation of the NIH BSSR portfolio for FY2007 -2011 by conducting qualitative interviews with NIH ICs and experts from outside the NIH on perspectives on the current state and future trends in BSSR.

The Arts and Aging: Building the Science
February 2013 | This report summarizes the proceedings, observations, and recommendations from the 2012 workshop on "Research Gaps and Opportunities for Exploring the Relationship of the Arts to Health and Well-Being in Older Adults."

U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health
2013 | OBSSR, NIA, and the Institute of Medicine commissioned this report to better understand the differences between high-income countries, particularly regarding mortality and slowing life expectancy among those age 50 in the United States. The report compared 16 "peer" countries from the late 1990s to 2008. The United States' health outcomes were attributed to nine domains in which it fared worse than the peer countries: adverse birth outcomes, injuries and homicides, adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, HIV and AIDS, drug-related mortality, obesity and diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and disability.

Outcome Evaluation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Pioneer Award (NDPA), FY 2004 - 2005
July 2011 | Describes a companion volume of case studies to an evaluation to assess whether the outcomes of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award program were consistent with its original goals and to evaluate the impact of the NDPA on NIH and its funding of high-risk research.

Best Practices for Mixed Methods Research in the Health Sciences
Mixed Methods Supplemental Material
November 2010 | Handbook on approach for the collection, analysis, and integration of both quantitative (e.g., RCT outcome) data and qualitative (e.g., observations, interviews) data to provide a more comprehensive understanding of a research problem than might be obtained through quantitative or qualitative research alone. A 2018 update with sample NIH-funded mixed methods projects and references is included.

Behavioral and Social Sciences in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education: A Workshop Summary
July 2010 | Report on a meeting sponsored by OBSSR on how to more actively include the behavioral and social sciences in STEM educational initiatives.

Behavioral and Social Sciences Training, Education, and Career Development in the Clinical & Translational Science Awards Program: A Workshop Summary
May 2010 | Report on workshop of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards/Behavioral and Social Sciences (CTSA/BSS) Liaison Program (LP), designed to promote the education and training of behavioral and social scientists within the CTSAs.

Strategic Plan for Basic Behavioral Research
July 2008 | This report to Congress builds on trans-agency gap and portfolio analyses and suggests opportunities for future NIH support.

Scientific Leadership Structure for Basic Behavioral Research
April 2008 | This report to Congress finds strong trans-agency support for basic behavioral research and suggests increased support from DPCPSI Offices to promote basic behavioral and social sciences across IC-specific missions.

Report of the Working Group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director on Research Opportunities in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences
December 2004 | This committee report provides sample emerging basic biopsychosocial topics that are likely to make important contributions to understanding and improving health outcomes.

NIH Plan for Social Work Research
May 2003 | This report, directed by Congress, is the NIH plan for social work research which identifies accomplishments and new research directions, enhancements in infrastructure and training, and opportunities for dissemination and community outreach.