Demographic and Developmental Patterns in Telomere Length Across Adolescence

Lauren Gaydosh1, Colter Mitchell2, Daniel Notterman3, Kalsea Koss4, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn5, Brandon Wagner6, Lisa Schneper, Sara Mclanahan3
1Vanderbilt University, 2University of Michigan, 3Princeton University, 4University of Georgia, 5Teachers College, Columbia University, 6Texas Tech University

Telomeres are often used in studies of adults as biomarkers of cellular aging. However, we know little about how telomeres change over time, particularly over the course of the important developmental period of adolescence. We use data on telomere length collected at two points in time spanning adolescence (Year 9 and 15) from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal patterns in telomere length and adolescent development.