Cumulative risk exposure and child cellular aging in a Dutch low-risk community sample

Roseriet Beijers, Ilse ten Thije, Emma Bolhuis, Kieran J. O'Donnell, Marieke S. Tollenaar, Idan Shalev, Waylon J. Hastings, Julia L. MacIsaac, David T.S. Lin, Michael Meaney, Michael S. Kobor, Jay Belsky, Carolina de Weerth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


One of the proposed mechanisms linking childhood stressor exposure to negative mental and physical health outcomes in later life is cellular aging. In this prospective, longitudinal, and pre-registered study, we examined the association between a cumulative pattern of childhood risk exposure from age 6 to age 10 (i.e., poor maternal mental health, parental relationship problems, family/friend death, bullying victimization, poor quality friendships) and change in two biomarkers of cellular aging (i.e., telomere length, epigenetic age) from age 6 to age 10 in a Dutch low-risk community sample (n = 193). We further examined the moderating effect of cortisol reactivity at age 6. Ordinary Least Squares regression analyses revealed no significant main effects of childhood risk exposure on change in cellular aging, nor a moderation effect of child cortisol reactivity. Secondary findings showed a positive correlation between telomere length and cortisol reactivity at age 6, warranting further investigation. More research in similar communities is needed before drawing strong conclusions based on the null results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14205
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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