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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Dec;74:251-257. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.09.006. Epub 2016 Sep 15.

Hostility and telomere shortening among U.S. military veterans: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study.

Author information

1
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Clinical Neurosciences Division, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. Electronic address: laura.watkins@yale.edu.
2
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Clinical Neurosciences Division, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.

Abstract

Chronic disorders of aging are critical concerns for the U.S. veteran population, which is, on average, two decades older than the non-veteran population. Characterization of risk factors that may accelerate biological aging is important in identifying targets for prevention and intervention. In the current study, we analyzed data from a contemporary, and nationally representative sample of U.S. veterans to evaluate the relationship between a broad range of sociodemographic, military, and clinical variables, and peripheral telomere length, which is an indicator of biological age and linked to risk for aging-related disorders and mortality. Data from 468U.S. military veterans who participated in the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study were analyzed. Telomere length was assessed from cells isolated from saliva using quantitative polymerase chain reaction methods. A multivariable binary logistic regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the relations between hostility and telomere length, while controlling for sociodemographic, military, and clinical variables. Greater scores on a measure of hostility were independently associated with telomere shortening, even after adjustment for a broad range of other variables (odds ratio [OR]=1.58, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.15-2.18). Secondary analyses revealed that this association was driven by difficulties controlling anger (OR=1.72, 95%CI=1.14-2.61), which reflect the external manifestation of hostility, rather than aggressive urges or impulses. Hostility, particularly difficulties controlling anger, is associated with peripheral telomere shortening in U.S. military veterans. Prevention and treatment efforts designed to reduce hostility may help mitigate risk for accelerated cellular aging in this growing segment of the U.S.

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KEYWORDS:

Aging; Anger; Hostility; Telomere length; Veterans

PMID:
27689898
DOI:
10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.09.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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