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Biol Psychol. 2019 Jul;145:142-149. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2019.03.013. Epub 2019 Apr 20.

Cold parenting is associated with cellular aging in offspring: A retrospective study.

Author information

1
Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle and Disease Prevention, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, United States. Electronic address: rknutsen@llu.edu.
2
Department of Basic Science, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, United States.
3
Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle and Disease Prevention, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, United States; Adventist Health Study-2, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, United States.
4
Adventist Health Study-2, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, United States.
5
Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle and Disease Prevention, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Early life stress is a known risk factor for diseases and premature death. We tested whether parenting style impacts telomere length (TL), a cellular aging biomarker.

METHODS:

Information on parents' style of parenting was obtained from 199 participants in the Adventist Health Study-1 (AHS-1) who 27+ years later also enrolled in the AHS-2 where blood was collected for relative TL (rTL) assessment.

RESULTS:

Subjects describing their mothers' parenting style as cold had on average 25% smaller rTL compared to subjects not reporting a cold mother (1.89 vs 2.53). This association was greatest among those with less education, and those who stayed overweight/obese or put on weight during follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results support previous findings that early life stress may have health implications by promoting cellular aging, and expands these stressors to include cold parenting during an individuals' formative years. Higher education and normal weight seem to provide some resilience.

KEYWORDS:

Adventist Health Study; Cohort study; Cold parenting; Early life stress; Epigenetics; Telomeres

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