Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes, and short telomere length is associated with poor health and mortality. This study reports a meta-analytic investigation of the relationship between perceived stress and telomere length, including results from eight studies with a total of 1143 participants. A meta-analytic effect size of r = -0.25, p 𰀼 0.001, indicated that higher levels of perceived stress were associated with shorter telomere length. Examination of the studies for moderators of effect size identified some significant moderators, such as a difference in effect sizes between samples comprised of only women and mixed-sex samples. These results are only suggestive as they are based on a small set of studies, and funnel plot analyses indicated a publication bias. A significant relationship between more perceived stress and shorter telomere length is consistent with theoretical frameworks positing that stress induces physiological changes that result in shortened telomeres. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.