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Berg and Rogers Publish Study on Neighborhood Factors Affecting Epigenetic Aging in Incarcerated People


Mark Berg, director, and Ethan Rogers, assistant research scientist and postdoctoral fellow, of the Crime and Justice Policy Research Program published a study examining incarceration exposure as a social determinant of health that potentially causes a stress response that accelerates physical deterioration. The study analyzes neighborhood stressors that intensify the health consequences of incarceration exposure.

The research tested whether two neighborhood context measures, socioeconomic disadvantage and perceived crime, moderate the association between incarceration exposure and accelerated epigenetic aging. The study sample included 408 African American young adults from the Family and Community health study.

The findings suggested that incarceration exposure and neighborhood disadvantage are independently associated with accelerated biological aging. Additionally, the impact of incarceration exposure on accelerated aging was found to be larger for those in neighborhoods with higher levels of perceived crime.

"Neighborhoods to which individuals return after incarceration have substantial impact on accelerated aging" "There is growing evidence that incarceration accelerates biological aging" "Do neighborhood stressors intensify the health costs of incarceration?" "Analyses from a sample of young African American adults revealed that perceived neighborhood crime amplifies the impact of incarceration on accelerated aging" "Neighborhood disadvantage was also associated with accelerated biological aging"

Berg and Rogers co-authored this study with Kendall Riley, Man-Kit Lei and Ronald L. Simons. The paper was published in the Social Science & Medicine journal.

Read the full study here.