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Economic Pressure Across Generations: The Impact on HCC

Megan Carty, Olivia Diggs, and Tricia Neppl, Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University 2330 Palmer Building, 2222 Osborn Drive, Ames, Iowa 50011

Research indicates hair samples provide a non-invasive measurement of hair cortisol concentrations (HCC), which have been linked with excessive amounts of stress. Results are mixed regarding the association between economic adversity and HCC. Additionally, few studies examine intergenerational predictors of HCC. Thus, the current study examined the relation between Generation (G1) economic pressure during Generation 2 (G2) adolescence on G2 adult economic pressure and HCC. The current study also examined G2 gender differences. Sample: Questionnaire data was collected from a longitudinal White sample of adolescents and their biological parent(s) from the Family Transitions Project, a study merged from 2 prior projects: Iowa Youth and Families Project and Iowa Single Parents Project, which began in 1989 and 1991 respectively. During the 2018 data collection, G2s, aged 41, completed online questionnaires through Qualtrics survey software. From their responses, G2s were recruited to provide a hair sample for a pilot study involving the examination and measurement of HCC levels (n = 47). Measures: Economic pressure felt by G1 in 1991 and 1992 was measured by three indicators of financial strain: unmet material needs, can’t make ends meet, and painful cutbacks. G2s responded to the same set of questions collected in 2018. G2s also provided 3 cm of hair from the posterior vortex region of the head for HCC extraction (pg/mg). Results: Correlations were obtained in SPSS. The economic pressure felt by G1 correlated with G2’s economic pressure 27 years later. Higher levels of G1, but not G2, economic pressure were correlated with higher levels of G2 HCC. G2 males had higher levels of HCC than females. Conclusions: Results highlight the detrimental effect of early life economic stress across generations and lend support for hair cortisol to be used as a biomarker of chronic stress.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Megan Carty

Institution: Iowa State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Health & Human Development

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5135