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Stress Health. 2016 Oct;32(4):313-319. doi: 10.1002/smi.2607. Epub 2014 Nov 13.

The Relationship Between Perceived Stress and Telomere Length: A Meta-analysis.

Author information

1
University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia. nschutte@une.edu.au.
2
University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes, and short telomere length is associated with poor health and mortality. This study reports a meta-analytic investigation of the relationship between perceived stress and telomere length, including results from eight studies with a total of 1143 participants. A meta-analytic effect size of r = -0.25, p < 0.001, indicated that higher levels of perceived stress were associated with shorter telomere length. Examination of the studies for moderators of effect size identified some significant moderators, such as a difference in effect sizes between samples comprised of only women and mixed-sex samples. These results are only suggestive as they are based on a small set of studies, and funnel plot analyses indicated a publication bias. A significant relationship between more perceived stress and shorter telomere length is consistent with theoretical frameworks positing that stress induces physiological changes that result in shortened telomeres.

KEYWORDS:

meta-analysis; perceived stress; telomere length

PMID:
25393133
DOI:
10.1002/smi.2607
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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