One ‘knows’: self-rated health and telomere length among ex-prisoners of war

Noga Tsur, Yafit Levin, Heba Abumock, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Ill-health and early mortality are amongst the most significant ramifications of trauma. Furthermore, trauma alters the subjective perception and experience of the body. The aim of this study is to examine the extent to which deteriorations in perceived health among traumatised individuals are associated with cellular health as manifested in telomere length. Methods: Specifically, 88 former prisoners of war (ex-POWs) evaluated their health (self-rated health; SRH) at 18 (T1), 35 (T2) and 42 (T3) years after the war, and were assessed for telomere length at T3. Health behaviour, BMI, morbidity and PTSD were also examined at T3. Results: The findings demonstrated that SRH was cross-sectionally correlated with telomere length. Furthermore, a significant sequential indirect effect was found, in which worse SRH in T1 was associated with shorter telomere length at T3, through worse SRH at T2 and at T3. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that long-term deteriorations in the subjective evaluations of health are implicated in actual cellular health among individuals exposed to trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1503-1518
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology and Health
Volume33
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Self-rated health
  • aging
  • telomeres
  • trauma
  • war captivity

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