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Parenting stress and DNA methylation among African Americans in the InterGEN Study

  • Michelle L. Wright (a1), Yunfeng Huang (a2), Qin Hui (a2), Kevin Newhall (a3), Cindy Crusto (a4), Yan V. Sun (a5) and Jacquelyn Y. Taylor (a6)...

Abstract

Introduction

General life stress has been associated with altered DNA methylation in individuals of African Ancestry, although the relationship between parenting stress and DNA methylation has not been described. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal parenting stress and DNA methylation among African Ancestry mother-child dyads.

Methods

We evaluated epigenome-wide DNA methylation relative to parenting stress in 74 mother-child dyads using linear mixed models.

Results

Significant variation in maternal DNA methylation at 95 CpG sites was associated with level of parenting stress. Notably, we identified a change in DNA methylation associated with poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1, which plays a key role in stress signaling. We did not identify any significant variation in child DNA methylation related to maternal parenting stress.

Conclusions

However, DNA methylation patterns observed in children mirrored patterns observed in their mothers. The results suggest that differential maternal DNA methylation is associated with higher levels of parenting stress.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-ncnd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: J. Y. Taylor, New York University, Rory Meyers College of Nursing, 433 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10010, USA. (Email: jt139@nyu.edu)

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