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Brain Behav Immun. 2009 Jul;23(5):677-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2009.01.008. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

Parental education is related to C-reactive protein among female middle-aged community volunteers.

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Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


Growing evidence suggests that socioeconomic attributes of both childhood and adulthood confer risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In this study, we examine the association of both parental and individual educational attainment with C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory mediator relevant to cardiovascular pathophysiology, in a mid-life community sample. Subjects were 811 men and women (394 men/417 women; 87% European-American/13% African-American), 30-54 years of age. Plasma concentrations of CRP were determined from blood samples obtained at a single session following an overnight fast. Regression analyses adjusting for age and race showed both parental education and individual education to be associated inversely with CRP in women, but not men. The relationship of parental education with CRP in women persisted on multivariable adjustment for both lifestyle risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, sleep, exercise, body mass index) and individual SES. Independent of reported personal educational attainment, mid-life adult women whose parents achieved fewer years of educational attainment exhibit higher levels of circulating CRP than women with higher parental education. This association may help explain the increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular morbidity and mortality conferred by low childhood socioeconomic status.

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