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Cardiometabolic risk and resilience: Are associations between childhood socioeconomic status and midlife cardiometabolic health buffered by supportive family relationships?

Natale, Brianna N (2022) Cardiometabolic risk and resilience: Are associations between childhood socioeconomic status and midlife cardiometabolic health buffered by supportive family relationships? Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Childhood socioeconomic disadvantage is associated with greater risk for chronic inflammation and cardiometabolic disease at midlife. In addition, supportive family relationships have been shown to reduce the risk that early adversity typically poses on later adult health. However, prior research has not yet tested the mediating role of inflammation in the relationship between childhood socioeconomic status (SES) and cardiometabolic risk, nor has the family buffering hypothesis been applied to an understanding of the inflammation and cardiometabolic risk that accompanies low childhood SES. The aim of the current study was to determine whether the association between childhood socioeconomic disadvantage and risk for cardiometabolic disease in adulthood is mediated by adult inflammation and buffered by cohesive family relationships in a sample of healthy midlife adults. Participants were 1,785 healthy adults aged 30-54 (Adult Health and Behavior studies I & II) who retrospectively reported on childhood SES and family relationships and underwent a physiological assessment, primarily investigating circulating levels of inflammatory markers and cardiometabolic health. Associations between childhood SES, childhood family relationship quality, adult inflammation, and adult cardiometabolic risk were investigated using structural equation modeling, in which cardiometabolic risk was modeled as a second-order latent variable with adiposity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and blood pressure as first-order components. As expected, individuals who reported socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds in childhood showed greater risk for cardiometabolic disease and higher circulating levels of CRP and to a lesser extent IL-6 (marginally significant) at midlife than individuals who reported higher childhood SES. Findings also indicated that the relationship between childhood SES and adult cardiometabolic risk was partially explained by systemic inflammation, in particular by circulating levels of CRP. However, contrary to expectations, no evidence was found for the buffering of these socioeconomic health disparities by cohesive family relationships during childhood. Collectively, the current findings suggest that SES in early life has pervasive, long-lasting associations with inflammatory and cardiometabolic health in adulthood. The current study is among the first to find evidence that socioeconomic disparities in cardiometabolic risk may relate, in part, to the impact of systemic inflammation at midlife. Future work would benefit from prospective investigation of these relationships.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Natale, Brianna Nbnn11@pitt.eduBNN11
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberMatthews, Karen
Committee MemberManuck, Stephen Bmanuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Committee CoChairShaw, Daniel Sdanielshaw@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee CoChairMarsland, Anna Lmarsland@pitt.eduMARSLAND
Date: 17 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 22 July 2020
Approval Date: 17 June 2022
Submission Date: 10 September 2020
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 77
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: socioeconomic disadvantage; family relationships; inflammation; cardiometabolic risk
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2022 15:51
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2023 05:15


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