An article by Maia Szalavitz of Time Magazine highlights a new study which found that social rejection during the teen years can have adverse effects on the immune system and cause illness in later life. The study was published online September 7th in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
NARSAD Independent Investigator Grantee, Gregory E. Miller, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia, was one of the authors of the study. The research team followed 147 adolescent women at risk for developing a first episode of major depression for two and a half years. The teenagers were interviewed and had blood tests every 6 months for two and a half years to assess the effects of targeted rejection on the immune system.
The authors found that exposure to a recent targeted rejection life event, such as getting broken up with or being bullied or ostracized by one's peers, had lasting effects. In their conclusion, the authors wrote “these findings demonstrate that social rejection upregulates inflammatory gene expression in youth at risk for depression, particularly for those high in status. If sustained, this heightened inflammatory signaling could have implications for life-span health."
Read more about this research
Read Maia Szalavitz's article in Time