The relationship between self-report and biomarkers of stress in low-income reproductive-age women.

Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
American journal of obstetrics and gynecology (Impact Factor: 3.97). 12/2010; 203(6):577.e1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.08.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is an association between self-reported and biologic measures of stress in low-income, reproductive-age women.
Between 1999 and 2005, randomly selected reproductive-age women from the 1998 welfare rolls in Chicago, IL, were interviewed yearly to assess psychosocial, socioeconomic, and health characteristics. The association of 2 stress-sensitive biomarkers (Epstein-Barr virus antibody titer (EBV) and C-reactive protein level) with self-reported stress was assessed.
Of the 206 women who were interviewed, 205 women (99%) agreed to provide a blood sample. There was no difference in mean EBV or C-reactive protein levels based on age, race, parity, employment, marital status, or education. Women who reported a higher degree of perceived stress or reported experiences of discrimination had significantly higher levels of EBV (P < .05).
Measures of self-reported psychosocial stress are associated with elevated levels EBV antibody in a low-income population of reproductive-age women.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth, are markedly higher among African-Americans versus Whites. Stress-induced immune dysregulation may contribute to these effects. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation provides a robust model for examining cellular immune competence. This study examined associations of EBV virus capsid antigen immunoglobulin G (VCA IgG) with gestational stage, race, and racial discrimination in women during pregnancy and postpartum. Fifty-six women (38 African-American, 18 White) were included. African-Americans and Whites did not differ in age, education, income, parity, or body mass index (ps⩾.51). During the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester and ∼5weeks postpartum, women completed measures of racial discrimination, perceived stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms and health behaviors. EBV VCA IgG antibody titers were measured via ELISA in serum collected at each visit. In the overall sample, EBV VCA IgG antibody titers were lower in the 3rd versus 1st trimester (p=.002). At every timepoint (1st, 2nd, 3rd trimester and postpartum), African-American women exhibited higher serum EBV VCA IgG antibody titers than Whites (ps<.001). This effect was most pronounced among African-Americans reporting greater racial discrimination [p=.03 (1st), .04 (2nd), .12 (3rd), .06 (postpartum)]. Associations of race and racial discrimination with EBV VCA IgG antibody titers were not accounted for by other measures of stress or health behaviors. Compared to Whites, African-American women showed higher EBV VCA IgG antibody titers, indicative of impaired cellular immune competence, across pregnancy and postpartum. This effect was particularly pronounced among African-American women reporting greater racial discrimination, supporting a role for chronic stress in this association. In women overall, EBV antibody titers declined during late as compared to early pregnancy. This may be due to pregnancy-related changes in cell-mediated immune function, humoral immune function, and/or antibody transfer to the fetus in late gestation. As a possible marker of stress-induced immune dysregulation during pregnancy, the role of EBV reactivation in racial disparities in perinatal health warrants further attention.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 08/2012; 26(8):1280-7. · 5.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Childhood adversity can have powerful effects on health over the life course. Persistent changes in cell-mediated immune function may be one pathway linking adverse childhood experiences with later disease risk. However, limited research has examined childhood adversity in relation to cell-mediated immune function, and in particular, immune response to latent viruses in adulthood. The present study investigated the association of two types of childhood adversity, socioeconomic disadvantage during adolescence and abuse prior to age 18, with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody titers in a large nationally representative sample of young adults aged 24-32 years. Data were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, Wave 4 (n=13,162). We examined the associations of three indicators of adolescent SES (parental education, household income, and occupational status) and frequency and timing of physical and sexual abuse with EBV antibodies, controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and presence of a smoker in the household during adolescence. Lower parental occupational status and some categories of lower education were associated with elevated EBV antibodies (p<.05), and individuals who reported sexual abuse that occurred more than 10 times had elevated EBV antibodies relative to individuals who were not sexually abused (p=0.03). Among individuals exposed to physical abuse, those who were first abused at age 3-5 years had heightened EBV antibodies relative to those first abused during adolescence (p=0.004). This study extends prior research linking early adversity and immune function, and provides initial evidence that childhood adversity has a persistent influence on immune responses to latent infection in adulthood.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 10/2012; · 5.61 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Financial stress is widely believed to cause health problems. However, policies seeking to relieve financial stress by limiting debt levels of poor households may directly worsen their economic well-being. We evaluate an alternative policy - increasing the repayment flexibility of debt contracts. A field experiment randomly assigned microfinance clients to a monthly or a traditional weekly installment schedule (N = 200). We used cell phones to gather survey data on income, expenditure, and financial stress every 48 hours over seven weeks. Clients repaying monthly were 51 percent less likely to report feeling "worried, tense, or anxious" about repaying, were 54 percent more likely to report feeling confident about repaying, and reported spending less time thinking about their loan compared to weekly clients. Monthly clients also reported higher business investment and income, suggesting that the flexibility encouraged them to invest their loans more profitably, which ultimately reduced financial stress.
    PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e45679. · 3.53 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Aug 18, 2014