What is it about?

Telomeres are protective caps at the end of chromosomes that maintain chromosomal integrity. Accelerated telomere loss in early childhood may influence physical and mental health outcomes across the lifespan. This study suggests that positive temperament characteristics may buffer telomere erosion across the first three years of life.

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Why is it important?

This study suggests that psychological characteristics, observable as early as infancy, may influence the rate of cellular aging in the first years of life. This information may enhance our understanding of the early origins of health and disease, contribute to our ability to identify at-risk individuals very early in childhood, and inform the development of new interventions that maximize health outcomes across the lifespan.


I hope that this article encourages readers to think about the large influence that psychological processes in very early childhood may have on lifelong health.

Michelle Bosquet Enlow
Boston Children's Hospital

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Associations among temperament characteristics and telomere length and attrition rate in early childhood., Developmental Psychology, September 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/dev0001635.
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