Previous findings have linked lower socioeconomic status (SES) with elevated morbidity and mortality. Leukocyte telomere length (LTL), which also has been associated with age-related disease morbidity and mortality, is a marker of aging at the cellular level, making it a valuable early biomarker of risk and an indicator of biological age. It is hypothesized that SES will be associated with LTL, indicating that SES influences disease risk by accelerating biological aging. In the present sample we test for associations of childhood SES and adult SES (i.e. education, income, home ownership) with LTL, and examine whether these associations vary by racial/ethnic group. Analyses on 963 subjects (18.7% White, 53% Hispanics, and 28.5% African American) from the stress ancillary study of the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis revealed a significant difference in LTL between home owners and renters in Hispanic and White participants (p<.05), but not amongst African Americans (p=.98). There were no linear associations of adult education or family income with LTL, however, there was an inverse association between father's education and LTL (p=.03). These findings suggest that for Whites and Hispanics renting vs. owning a home is associated with an older biological age; however we did not replicate previous findings linking education with LTL.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.