Sex-Specific Association Between Childhood Adversity and Accelerated Biological Aging.

TitleSex-Specific Association Between Childhood Adversity and Accelerated Biological Aging.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsYu, J, Pu, F, Yang, G, Hao, M, Zhang, H, Zhang, J, Cao, X, Zhu, L, Wan, Y, Wang, X, Liu, Z
JournalAdvanced Science (Weinheim, badden-Wurttemburg, Germany)
ISSN Number2198-3844
KeywordsAging, Childhood adversity, lifestyle, mental disorder, sex difference, Telomere length

Is childhood adversity associated with biological aging, and if so, does sex modify the association, and do lifestyle and mental health mediate the association? A lifespan analysis is conducted using data on 142 872 participants from the UK Biobank to address these questions. Childhood adversity is assessed through the online mental health questionnaire (2016), including physical neglect, physical abuse, emotional neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and a cumulative score. Biological aging is indicated by telomere length (TL) measured from leukocyte DNA using qPCR, and the shorter TL indicates accelerated biological aging; a lifestyle score is constructed using body mass index, physical activity, drinking, smoking, and diet; mental disorder is assessed using depression, anxiety, and insomnia at the baseline survey. The results reveal a sex-specific association such that childhood adversity is associated with shorter TL in women after adjusting for covariates including polygenic risk score for TL, but not in men. Unhealthy lifestyle and mental disorder partially mediate the association in women. The proportions of indirect effects are largest for sexual and physical abuse. These findings highlight the importance of behavioral and psychological interventions in promoting healthy aging among women who experienced childhood adversity, particularly sexual and physical abuse.

Citation Key13960
PubMed ID38704685
Grant List72374180 / / National Natural Science Foundation of China /
2020E10004 / / Key Laboratory of Intelligent Preventive Medicine of Zhejiang Province /