Socioeconomic Status, Stressful Life Events and Immune Function in Add Health

Jennifer B. Dowd, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)
Tia Palermo, Stony Brook University, State University of New York (SUNY)
Laura Chyu, Northwestern University
Emma Adam, Northwestern University
Thomas W. McDade, Northwestern University

Stress may be an important mediator of the association between social factors and health outcomes. Markers of immune function are useful tools to study the impact of stress on health due to the consistent association between stress and suppressed immunity. This study will utilize newly released data from Wave 4 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine the association between socioeconomic status (SES), exposure to stressful life events (SLE), and markers of immune function, specifically antibody levels of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). We will test both the potential mediating role of SLE for any SES-EBV association, as well as any moderating role of SES in the association between SES and EBV. Preliminary results indicate significant associations between higher SLE and higher EBV antibody levels, and an inverse association between education levels and EBV.

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Presented in Session 102: Stress and Health