A Child’s Loss of a Father Can Be Observed at the Cellular Level
[Source: Medical X-Press]
The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link between father loss and child well-being.
In a study published July 18 in the journal Pediatrics, a team of researchers, including those from Princeton University, report that the loss of a father has a significant adverse effect on telomeres, the protective nucleoprotein end caps of chromosomes. At 9 years of age, children who had lost their father had significantly shorter telomeres—14 percent shorter on average—than children who had not. Death had the largest association, and the effects were greater for boys than girls.
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