Race-Ethnicity, Poverty, Urban Stressors, and Telomere Length in a Detroit Community-based Sample.

Journal Article

Residents of distressed urban areas suffer early aging-related disease and excess mortality. Using a community-based participatory research approach in a collaboration between social researchers and cellular biologists, we collected a unique data set of 239 black, white, or Mexican adults from a stratified, multistage probability sample of three Detroit neighborhoods. We drew venous blood and measured telomere length (TL), an indicator of stress-mediated biological aging, linking respondents' TL to their community survey responses. We regressed TL on socioeconomic, psychosocial, neighborhood, and behavioral stressors, hypothesizing and finding an interaction between poverty and racial-ethnic group. Poor whites had shorter TL than nonpoor whites; poor and nonpoor blacks had equivalent TL; and poor Mexicans had longer TL than nonpoor Mexicans. Findings suggest unobserved heterogeneity bias is an important threat to the validity of estimates of TL differences by race-ethnicity. They point to health impacts of social identity as contingent, the products of structurally rooted biopsychosocial processes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Geronimus, AT; Pearson, JA; Linnenbringer, E; Schulz, AJ; Reyes, AG; Epel, ES; Lin, J; Blackburn, EH

Published Date

  • June 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 56 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 199 - 224

PubMed ID

  • 25930147

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2150-6000

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1465

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0022146515582100

Language

  • eng