A scoping systematic review of social stressors and various measures of telomere length across the life course
Calvo, Esteban [Univ Mayor, Fac Humanidades, Soc & Hlth Res Ctr, Santiago, Chile]
Reid, Shaina N.
Staudinger, Ursula M.
Numerous studies examine the relationship between social stressors and telomere length (TL). Beyond considering methods and major findings, this scoping systematic review takes a novel approach as it groups studies according to the types of social stressor considered and by age groups. Following PRISMA guidelines, we searched PubMed, Web of Science, Embase, and Scopus. We included all English-language human subject research articles that modeled any measure of TL as a dependent variable and exposure to a social stressor as an independent variable. For the sample of 105 articles, we summarized methods and findings by type of social stressor (socioeconomic stressors, stressful life events, work-related stressors, and neighborhood stressors) and by age of the study population (infants/children, middle-aged adults, older adults, and mixed samples of middle-aged and older adults). We found more variation in TL measurement methodology in studies of infants/children and older adults than in studies focusing on middle-aged adults. The most consistent finding was a relationship between early-life stressors and shorter TL. Work and neighborhood stressors, and older populations, are currently understudied. Across all stressors, limited evidence suggests that the stress-TL relationship may be moderated by characteristics such as age, sex, and race/ethnicity. We conclude with specific suggestions for future research.
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