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Annu Rev Public Health. 2020 Jan 3. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040119-094239. [Epub ahead of print]

Psychosocial Stressors and Telomere Length: A Current Review of the Science.

Author information

1
Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA; email: krentscher@ucla.edu, JCarroll@mednet.ucla.edu.
2
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106, USA; email: cmsm@umich.edu.

Abstract

A growing literature suggests that exposure to adverse social conditions may accelerate biological aging, offering one mechanism through which adversity may increase risk for age-related disease. As one of the most extensively studied biological markers of aging, telomere length (TL) provides a valuable tool to understand potential influences of social adversity on the aging process. Indeed, a sizeable literature now links a wide range of stressors to TL across the life span. The aim of this article is to review and evaluate this extant literature with a focus on studies that investigate psychosocial stress exposures and experiences in early life and adulthood. We conclude by outlining potential biological and behavioral mechanisms through which psychosocial stress may influence TL, and we discuss directions for future research in this area. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Public Health, Volume 41 is April 1, 2020. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.

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