Family Chaos and Adolescent Inflammatory Profiles: The Moderating Role of Socioeconomic Status

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To test whether family chaos influences adolescents’ inflammatory profiles and whether adolescents from low socioeconomic status (SES) environments are at higher risk for experiencing adverse inflammatory profiles from living in chaotic family environments.


A total of 244 families with an adolescent aged 13 to 16 years participated. Parents completed measures of family SES and family chaos. Both systemic inflammation and stimulated proinflammatory cytokine production in response to bacterial challenge were assessed in adolescents.


Our results suggest that SES moderates the detrimental effect of family chaos on systemic inflammation and interleukin-6 (B = −0.010, standard error [SE] = 0.004, p = .026), but not C-reactive protein (B = 0.009, SE = 0.006, p = .11), and on stimulated proinflammatory cytokine production (B = −0.098, SE = 0.044, p = .026) in adolescents, such that a chaotic family environment is positively associated with greater systemic inflammation and greater stimulated proinflammatory cytokine production in adolescents as family SES declines.


These findings indicate that living in chaotic family environments places youth who may be vulnerable based on socioeconomic factors at a potentially higher risk for inflammation-related diseases.

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