Objective: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with mental and physical health risks that, through biological and psychosocial pathways, likely span generations. Within an individual, telomere length (TL), an established marker of cellular stress and aging, is associated with both ACE exposure and psychopathology, providing the basis for an emerging literature suggesting that TL is a biomarker of the health risks linked to early-life adversity both within and across generations. The authors tested the effect of maternal ACEs on both the trajectory of infant TL and infant social-emotional problems at 18 months of age.
Methods: Pregnant women were recruited, and maternal scores on the Adverse Childhood Experience questionnaire were obtained, along with demographic and prenatal stress measures. Postnatal visits with 155 mother-infant dyads occurred when infants were 4, 12, and 18 months of age. At each visit, infant buccal swabs were collected for TL measurement, and mothers completed measures of maternal depression. Mothers also completed the Child Behavior Checklist at the 18-month visit. Mixed-effects modeling was used to test how maternal ACEs influenced infant TL trajectory. Linear regression was used to test the association between maternal ACEs and infant internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Finally, the interaction between telomere attrition from 4 to 18 months and maternal ACEs was examined as a predictor of infant scores on the Child Behavior Checklist.
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The participant will discover how behavioral problems can manifest as a result of the interaction between maternal early-life adversity and infant telomere length.
This program is designed for all psychiatrists in clinical practice, residents in Graduate Medical Education programs, medical students interested in psychiatry, and other physicians who wish to advance their current knowledge of clinical medicine.
Estimated Time to Complete
Duration: 1 hour
Begin Date: January 1, 2020
End Date: December 31, 2021
How to Earn Credit
In order to earn CME credit, subscribers should read through the material presented in the article. After reading the article, complete the quiz and submit your evaluation and study hours (up to 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™). A score of 60% or higher is required to receive credit.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The APA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Faculty and Planner Disclosures
Title: Adverse Childhood Experiences: Implications for Offspring Telomere Length and Psychopathology
Authors: Kyle C. Esteves, M.P.H., Christopher W. Jones, Ph.D., Mark Wade, Ph.D., Keegan Callerame, B.S., Alicia K. Smith, Ph.D., Katherine P. Theall, Ph.D., Stacy S. Drury, M.D., Ph.D.
Affiliations: The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans (K.C.E., S.S.D.); the Department of Neuroscience, Tulane Brain Institute, Tulane University, New Orleans (C.W.J., S.S.D.); the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, University of Toronto (M.W.); the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans (K.C.); the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory University, Atlanta (A.K.S.); and the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans (K.P.T.).
Disclosures: The authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests.
Discussion of unapproved or investigational use of products*: No.
*APA policy requires disclosure by CME authors of unapproved or investigational use of products discussed in CME programs. Off-label use of medications by individual physicians is permitted and common. Decisions about off-label use can be guided by scientific literature and clinical experience.
Ned H. Kalin, M.D. (Editor-in-Chief, AJP); Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D. (Deputy Editor, AJP); Michael D. Roy (Editorial Director, AJP); Michael A. Pogachar (Online Content Manager, Journals). Dr. Kalin has served as a consultant to the Board of Scientific Advisors, the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium, and the Skyland Trail Advisory Board and as Councilor, Society of Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Rodriguez has served as a consultant to Allergan, Blackthorn, Epiodyne, and Rugen. Mr. Roy and Mr. Pogachar report no financial relationships with commercial interests.
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