Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 287–292 | Cite as

Childhood Abuse and Inflammatory Responses to Daily Stressors

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



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 



The study was supported in part by NIH grants AG025732, UL1RR025755, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Core Grant CA16058, and a doctoral training award from the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.


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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

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