Skip to main content

Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children's telomere length

Author(s): Mitchell, Colter; Hobcraft, John; McLanahan, Sara; Siegel, Susan Rutherford; Berg, Arthur; et al

To refer to this page use:
Abstract: Disadvantaged social environments are associated with adverse health outcomes. This has been attributed, in part, to chronic stress. Telomere length (TL) has been used as a biomarker of chronic stress: TL is shorter in adults in a variety of contexts, including disadvantaged social standing and depression. We use data from 40, 9-y-old boys participating in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to extend this observation to African American children. We report that exposure to disadvantaged environments is associated with reduced TL by age 9 y. We document significant associations between low income, low maternal education, unstable family structure, and harsh parenting and TL. These effects were moderated by genetic variants in serotonergic and dopaminergic pathways. Consistent with the differential susceptibility hypothesis, subjects with the highest genetic sensitivity scores had the shortest TL when exposed to disadvantaged social environments and the longest TL when exposed to advantaged environments.
Publication Date: 22-Apr-2014
Electronic Publication Date: 7-Apr-2014
Citation: Mitchell, C, Hobcraft, J, McLanahan, SS, Siegel, SR, Berg, A, Brooks-Gunn, J, Garfinkel, I, Notterman, D. (2014). Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children's telomere length. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (16), 5944 - 5949. doi:10.1073/pnas.1404293111
DOI: doi:10.1073/pnas.1404293111
ISSN: 0027-8424
EISSN: 1091-6490
Pages: 5944 - 5949
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.