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Approved research

Social and Environmental Adversity in Relation to All-Cause Mortality

Principal Investigator: Ms Cornelia van Duijn
Approved Research ID: 61054
Approval date: May 19th 2020

Lay summary

Environment and upbringing have been shown in recent years to have a large impact on health. Adverse experiences during childhood - such as abuse and deprivation - as well as adulthood stressful events and experiences - such as divorce, stress at work, discrimination, neighborhood pollution, poverty, and low education - have all been shown to have profound impacts on our health and longevity. Despite a growing recognition of the importance of stress and adversity to health, however, relatively little is still known about the biological pathways through which these experiences impact our health and longevity. Furthermore, relatively little is known about how all of these varied types of adversity relate to each other in the same population. To address this gap, we propose to conduct analyses investigating how all social and environmental adversity variables available in UK Biobank associate either separately or combined with mortality. We will then investigate whether any biological pathways explain these associations. Lastly, we will create genetic risk scores that will further help us understand whether individual differences in genetics has an impact on our susceptibility to stress, and to identify any high risk groups. Insight into the lifetime risk of these experiences and how they impact mortality and longevity will provide insight into novel public health or other interventions to improve health and longevity.