Man in handcuffs

Study Links Incarceration to Accelerated Aging in African Americans

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Mark Berg, director and senior research fellow in residence, and Ethan Rogers, assistant research scientist, both in the Crime and Justice Policy Research Program, determined in a study that African Americans who spend time in jail or prison exhibit signs of accelerated aging.

Berg and Rogers analyzed data from 410 African American adults who were surveyed over a number of years. Results showed that those who had been formerly incarcerated were nearly a year older biologically than their actual age. Those who experienced violence while incarcerated were biologically two years older.

The study, "Losing Years Doing Time: Incarceration Exposure and Accelerated Biological Aging Among African American Adults," was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, both as an article and a policy brief. Man-Kit Lei and Ronald Simons, from the University of Georgia, contributed to the study.

Listen to an interview on River to River with Berg and Rogers here.

Listen to a podcast in which Berg explains the study here.

Read about the study in IowaNow here.