There is no doubt childhood adversity impacts adult health. Persistent changes in the cell-mediated immune function (one of the ways our body fights infections) is seen as one of the pathways linking childhood adversity and adult health.
But do different types of childhood adversity have different effect on the cell-mediated immune function and does timing of the occurrence matter?
The answer is yes.
Those persons who have been first physically abused before age of 3-5 and/or sexually abused more than 10 times, have elevated Epstein-Bar Virus antibodies later in life (Slopen, McLaughlin, Dunn, & Koenen, 2013). Thus, childhood adversity has a persistent influence on immune responses to latent infection in adulthood.