Longitudinal Associations Between Discrimination, Neighborhood Social Cohesion, and Telomere Length: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Elleni M Hailu, MPH; Tené T Lewis, PhD; Belinda L Needham, PhD; Jue Lin, PhD; Teresa E Seeman, PhD; Mahasin S Mujahid, PhD

The Journals of Gerontology: Series A
July 20, 2021

Brief abstract: We aimed to examine if neighborhood social cohesion moderated longitudinal associations between baseline reports of discrimination and 10-year changes in leukocyte telomere length (LTL). Data are from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. We found that neighborhood social cohesion modified the effect of baseline reports of major experiences of discrimination on 10-year changes in LTL, independent of sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, and health conditions. Among those residing in neighborhoods with low social cohesion, experiencing major discrimination in ≥2 domains was associated with faster LTL attrition over 10 years, compared to reporting no discrimination. These findings help advance our understanding of the integral role that neighborhood environments play in attenuating the effect of discrimination on accelerated cell aging.

Featured Fellows

Elleni Hailu

Epidemiology, Public Health, UC Berkeley
Computational Social Science Fellow