Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Dan Eisenberg Finds No Association Between Years of Caregiving And Aging in the Philippines

Posted: 2/4/2019 (CSDE Research)

Caring for chronically disabled family members is a stressful experience. In turn, psychosocial stress is linked to premature aging. CSDE Affiliate and Associate Professor of Anthropology, Dan Eisenberg, recently published an article in Psychoneuroendocrinology in which he analyzes telomere length (TL), a biomarker of aging, as a possible mechanism linking psychosocial stress and accelerated aging in the Philippines.

TL was measured in blood samples from 1233 Filipino adults from Cebu, Philippines. Caregiving was measured as chronicity of care, or the sum total number of years an individual was the primary caregiver for any household member with a chronic illness or disability. Linear regression models were used to test for associations between chronicity of care and TL.

Chronicity of care was not associated with TL. Neither did authors find any evidence for caregiving varying in its effect on TL by caregiver sex, age, or relationship to the chronically ill/disabled.This result coupled with a recent study of a similarly sized cohort suggests that previous significant results linking caregiving and TL may be due to very particular types of caregiving populations or are possibly artifacts of small sample sizes

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