Risky family climates presage increased cellular aging in young adulthood

Gene H. Brody*, Tianyi Yu, Edith Chen, Michael Kobor, Steven R.H. Beach, Man Kit Lei, Ashley Barr, David Tse Shen Lin, Gregory E. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A scientific consensus is emerging that children reared in risky family climates are prone to chronic diseases and premature death later in life. Few prospective data, however, are available to inform the mechanisms of these relationships. In a prospective study involving 323 Black families, we sought to determine whether, and how, childhood risky family climates are linked to a potential risk factor for later-life disease: increases in cellular aging (indexed by epigenetic aging). As hypothesized, risky family climates were associated with greater outflows of the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine at ages 19 and 20 years; this, in turn, led to increases in cellular aging across ages 20–27 years. If sustained, these tendencies may place children from risky family climates on a trajectory toward the chronic diseases of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105256
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Catecholamine
  • Cellular aging
  • Risky family climate
  • Young adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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