Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Aug;26(6):859-65. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Early life stress and inflammatory mechanisms of fatigue in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.

Author information

Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Fatigue is highly prevalent and causes serious disruption in quality of life. Although cross-sectional studies suggest childhood adversity is associated with adulthood fatigue, longitudinal evidence of this relationship and its specific biological mechanisms have not been established. This longitudinal study examined the association between early life stress and adulthood fatigue and tested whether this association was mediated by low-grade systemic inflammation as indexed by circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). In the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a population-based longitudinal study conducted in 4 US cities, early life stress was retrospectively assessed in 2716 African-American and white adults using the Risky Families Questionnaire at Year 15 examination (2000-2001, ages 33-45 years). Fatigue as indexed by a loss of subjective vitality using the Vitality Subscale of the 12-item Short Form Health Survey was assessed at both Years 15 and 20. While CRP was measured at both Years 15 and 20, IL-6 was measured only at Year 20. Early life stress assessed at Year 15 was associated with adulthood fatigue at Year 20 after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, body-mass index, medication use, medical comorbidity, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, current stress, pain, sleep disturbance as well as Year 15 fatigue (adjusted beta 0.047, P=0.007). However, neither CRP nor IL-6 was a significant mediator of this association. In summary, early life stress assessed in adulthood was associated with fatigue 5 years later, but this association was not mediated by low-grade systemic inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication types

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center