Violence and trauma in childhood accelerate puberty

Monday, August 3, 2020 - 09:10 in Psychology & Sociology

Experiencing adversity early in life has a direct effect on a person’s mental and physical health as they grow, and certain kinds of trauma can affect the pace of aging, according to new Harvard research. In addition to being risk factors for anxiety, depression, and stress, early life experiences like poverty, neglect, and violence are powerful predictors of physical health outcomes like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and even early mortality, said Katie McLaughlin, associate professor of psychology and senior author of “Biological Aging in Childhood and Adolescence Following Experiences of Threat and Deprivation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” in a new paper in the Aug. 3 Psychological Bulletin. In their research, McLaughlin and three colleagues investigated two different forms of childhood adversity and their connection to alterations in the pace of biological aging, including the onset of puberty, the rate of cellular aging, and the maturation of regions in the brain underlying...

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