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Title: The Association Between Depression and Leukocyte Telomere Length: A Meta-Analysis
Contributor(s): Schutte, Nicola  (author)orcid ; Malouff, John M  (author)
Publication Date: 2015
DOI: 10.1002/da.22351
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Abstract: Background: Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes, and shorter leukocyte telomeres are associated with poor health. Depression may be associated with the shortening of leukocyte telomeres. The present study set out to consolidate the varying effect sizes found so far in studies of depression and telomere length and to identify moderators of the relationship between depression and telomere length. Methods: A meta-analytic investigation of the relationship between depression and leukocyte telomere length used information from 21,040 participants. Results: A significant effect size, r = -.12, P < .001, indicated that depression was associated with shorter telomere length. Several variables significantly moderated effect size. Concurrent associations (k = 25) between depression and telomere length were significantly stronger than longitudinal associations (k = 5). Studies that used the Southern blot (k = 3) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH; k = 2) assays to measure telomere length showed larger effect sizes than studies that used quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR; k = 25). Finally, study reports that indicated that the telomere assays were conducted blind to depression level of participants (k = 11) had significantly lower effect sizes than those of other studies (k = 19). Conclusions: The significant relationship between depression and shorter telomere length is consistent with a theoretical model positing that distress, such as experienced in depression, results in physiological changes leading to shortened telomeres.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Depression and Anxiety, 32(4), p. 229-238
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
Place of Publication: New York, United States of America
ISSN: 1520-6394
Field of Research (FOR): 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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