The impact of neighborhood context on telomere length: A systematic review

Bruno Messina Coimbra, Carolina Muniz Carvalho, Mirjam van Zuiden, Rachel E. Williamson, Vanessa Kiyomi Ota, Andrea Feijó Mello, Sintia Iole Belangero, Miranda Olff, Marcelo Feijó Mello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A growing body of research demonstrates the association between neighborhood context and health. The underlying biological mechanisms of this association are not fully understood. We conducted a systematic review of studies that investigated the association between neighborhood context and telomere length (TL), a DNA-protein complex that shortens after cell division. Short TL is linked to age-related diseases and may be impacted by chronic stress. Nineteen eligible articles identified through PubMed and Scopus met inclusion criteria. Results demonstrated inconsistent support for the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and short TL. However, findings across several studies provide evidence for an inverse association between perceived neighborhood problems and TL, suggesting that TL may be an important factor in understanding health vulnerabilities associated specifically with negative perceptions of the neighborhood context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102746
JournalHealth and Place
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Aging
  • Health disparities
  • Neighborhood
  • Psychosocial stress
  • Social environment
  • Telomere


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