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OBJECTIVES: Previous research has documented a consistent association between current socioeconomic status (SES) and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Early life is likely a critical period for CMV exposure and immune development, but less is known about early-life socioeconomic factors and CMV, particularly in older age populations. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we investigated the association between life course socioeconomic disadvantage and immune response to CMV among older adults. METHODS: Using ordered logit models, we estimated associations between several measures of socioeconomic disadvantage and the odds of being in a higher CMV Immunoglobulin G (IgG) response category in a sample of 8,168 respondents aged older than 50 years. RESULTS: We found a significant association between educational attainment and CMV IgG response. Those with less than a high school education had 2.00 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.67-2.40) times the odds of being in a higher CMV category compared to those with a college degree or greater. In addition, we also observed a significant association with parental education and CMV response. Individuals with parents having 8 years or less of schooling had 2.32 (95% CI: 2.00-2.70) times the odds of higher CMV response compared to those whose parents had greater than high school education. DISCUSSION: CMV IgG levels in older adults are associated with both early-life and adult SES. Life course socioeconomic disadvantage may contribute to disparities in immunological aging.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci

Publication Date





1195 - 1205


Immune aging, Life course studies, Persistent infections, Socioeconomic disadvantage, Aged, Cytomegalovirus, Cytomegalovirus Infections, Educational Status, Female, Health Status Disparities, Humans, Immune System, Immunoglobulin G, Male, Risk Factors, Social Class, Socioeconomic Factors