Early Origins of Adult Physiological Dysregulation

Patricia Morton

Most research connecting child maltreatment to adult inflammation is non-representative, theoretically limited, and does not consider gender differences. Guided by biological embedding, this study investigated the relationships among child maltreatment, adult chronic inflammation, and gender using a national sample of 1,243 midlife and older adults. Child abuse and neglect variables were used to predict adult interluekin-6 levels. The moderating effect of gender was also examined. Findings revealed that, when controlling for adult covariates, childhood physical neglect predicts elevated interluekin-6. Although gender did not moderate the effect of physical neglect, inflammation levels were higher among women than men. In addition, women were more likely to experience sexual and emotional abuse during childhood. The present study adds to the emerging literature investigating the interplay between the social environment and biological markers of health, and the importance of gender as a social structure in predicting exposure to child abuse.


 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2