Childhood trauma can speed biological aging

Psychologists find violence and trauma in childhood accelerate puberty

BY Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite Harvard Staff Writer

DATE August 3, 2020

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.

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About S. R. Zelenz 119 Articles
S.R. Zelenz has worked in education for 20 years. Working with students from all walks of life, cultures, races, and social diversity, Zelenz’s research in Educational Leadership led to finding a better way to approach learning for students with trauma histories. Many were juvenile offenders, gang members, diagnosed with varying behavioral disorders, or had family histories of violence, murder, or narcissistic parenting. This research could not be effectively accomplished without further understanding: how epigenetic trauma inheritance may be impacting these students; how brain development from trauma may be impacting their behavioral and emotional development; as well as deep understanding of psychology and its varying classifications for behavioral and personality disorders. The goal is to find solutions for changing the conversation and making a real difference for these students. She has also worked with nonprofits of varying focus areas for the last 25 years. Her undergraduate degree in Arts Administration and Music prepared her for managing nonprofits of any size as well as procuring funding so that they can achieve their goals. Pairing her nonprofit background with her education background, she has been able to make a difference for over 200 nonprofits worldwide, written curriculum for schools across the globe, and assisted many arts organizations through performance and management.