Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 287–292

Childhood Abuse and Inflammatory Responses to Daily Stressors

  • Jean-Philippe Gouin
  • Ronald Glaser
  • William B. Malarkey
  • David Beversdorf
  • Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser
Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-012-9386-1

Cite this article as:
Gouin, JP., Glaser, R., Malarkey, W.B. et al. ann. behav. med. (2012) 44: 287. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9386-1



Childhood abuse leads to greater morbidity and mortality in adulthood. Dysregulated physiological stress responses may underlie the greater health risk among abused individuals.


This study evaluated the impact of childhood abuse on inflammatory responses to naturalistically occurring daily stressors.


In this cross-sectional study of 130 older adults, recent daily stressors and childhood abuse history were evaluated using the Daily Inventory of Stressful Events and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Blood samples provided data on circulating interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and C-reactive protein (CRP).


Childhood abuse history moderated IL-6 levels but not TNF-α and CRP responses to daily stressors. Individuals with a childhood abuse history who experienced multiple stressors in the past 24 h had IL-6 levels 2.35 times greater than those of participants who reported multiple daily stressors but no early abuse history.


Childhood abuse substantially enhances IL-6 responses to daily stressors in adulthood.


Childhood abuse Daily stress Chronic stress Inflammation Caregiving 

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Philippe Gouin
    • 1
  • Ronald Glaser
    • 2
  • William B. Malarkey
    • 3
  • David Beversdorf
    • 4
  • Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyConcordia UniversityMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Department of Molecular Virology, and Medical Genetics, Comprehensive Cancer CenterOhio State University College of MedicineColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Departments of Molecular Virology and Medical Genetics, and Internal MedicineOhio State University College of MedicineColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Department of Radiology, Neurology, and Psychology, The Thompson CenterUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  5. 5.Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Departments of Psychiatry and PsychologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations