Social mobility across the lifecourse and DNA methylation age acceleration in adults in the UK

Yanchun Bao, Tyler Gorrie-Stone, Eilis Hannon, Amanda M M Hughes, Alexandria Andrayas, Grant Neilson, Joe Burrage, Jonathon Mill, Leonard Schalkwyk, Meena Kumari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Disadvantaged socio-economic position (SEP) is associated with greater biological age, relative to chronological age, measured by DNA methylation (positive ‘age acceleration’, AA). Social mobility has been proposed to ameliorate health inequalities. This study aimed to understand the association of social mobility with positive AA. Diagonal reference modelling and ordinary least square regression techniques were applied to explore social mobility and four measures of age acceleration (first-generation: ‘Horvath’, ‘Hannum’ and second-generation: ‘Phenoage’, DunedinPoAm) in n = 3140 participants of the UK Household Longitudinal Study. Disadvantaged SEP in early life is associated with positive AA for three (Hannum, Phenoage and DunedinPoAm) of the four measures examined while the second generation biomarkers are associated with SEP in adulthood (p < 0.01). Social mobility was associated with AA measured with Hannum only such that compared to no mobility, upward mobility was associated with greater age independently of origin and destination SEP. Compared to continuously advantaged groups, downward mobility was associated with positive Phenoage (1.06y [− 0.03, 2.14]) and DunedinPoAm assessed AA (0.96y [0.24, 1.68]). For these two measures, upward mobility was associated with negative AA (Phenoage, − 0.65y [− 1.30, − 0.002]; DunedinPoAm, − 0.96y [− 1.47, − 0.46]) compared to continually disadvantaged groups. While we find some support for three models of lifecourse epidemiology with early life as a sensitive period, SEP across the lifecourse and social mobility for age acceleration measured with DNA methylation, our findings suggest that disadvantaged SEP across the lifecourse is most consistently associated with positive AA.
Original languageEnglish
Article number22284
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2022


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