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Data from: Social bonds do not mediate the relationship between early adversity and adult glucocorticoids in wild baboons

Citation

Rosenbaum, Stacy et al. (2020), Data from: Social bonds do not mediate the relationship between early adversity and adult glucocorticoids in wild baboons, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2280gb5pm

Abstract

In humans and other animals, harsh conditions in early life can have profound effects on adult physiology, including the stress response. This relationship may be mediated by a lack of supportive relationships in adulthood. That is, early life adversity may inhibit the formation of supportive social ties, and weak social support is itself often linked to dysregulated stress responses. Here we use prospective, longitudinal data from wild baboons in Kenya to test the links between early adversity, adult social bonds, and adult fecal glucocorticoid hormone concentrations (a measure of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation and the stress response). Using a novel causal inference framework, we found that experiencing one or more sources of early adversity led to a 9-14% increase in females’ glucocorticoid concentrations across adulthood. However, these effects were not mediated by weak social bonds: the direct effects of early adversity on adult glucocorticoid concentrations were 11 times stronger than the effects mediated by social bonds. This pattern occurred, in part, because the effect of social bonds on glucocorticoids was weak compared to the powerful effects of early adversity on glucocorticoid levels in adulthood. Hence, in female baboons, weak social bonds in adulthood are not enough to explain the effects of early adversity on glucocorticoid concentrations. Together, our results support the well-established notions that early adversity and weak social bonds both predict poor adult health. However, the magnitudes of these two effects differ considerably, and they may act independently of one another.

Usage Notes

Readme file in first worksheet of workbook

Funding

National Institutes of Health, Award: R01AG053330

National Institutes of Health, Award: R01AG053308

National Institutes of Health, Award: R01HD088558

National Institutes of Health, Award: P01AG031719

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS 1456832