Man in handcuffs

Study Links Incarceration to Accelerated Aging in African Americans


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.

Read more about it in the Press-Citizen.