A Message from Dr. Elissa Epel on The Telomere Effect

Find further exclusive content on the Telomere Effect and more on Dr. Epel's personal website.



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Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and I spent several years to bring the full story of telomere science to the public. Our book, The Telomere Effect goes from the basic cell biology to daily life to societal factors that are linked to telomere maintenance.

Now that we have written a book about telomeres, most of the long answers to common questions are there. But there are two problems –not everyone has time to read a book for a better understanding of telomeres, and there is a constant flow of new studies. We hope this page promotes some clarity in this field.

Dr. Elissa Epel, AME Co-Director

University of California, San Francisco / Co-author The Telomere Effect



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The Telomere Effect:

We are happy to share with you helpful selections from The Telomere Effect.  This book explains how our cells age in a way that is easy to understand, and how to slow our aging.  It gives us insight into how our aging works and has helpful tips.




Learn More about Your Personality 

Some personality traits are associated with bigger stress responses. Determine whether aspects of your personality may affect how you respond when stressful events come your way.

Take these brief questionnaires to learn more about your own: 



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Your Personality Traits & Stress Response

To determine whether aspects of your personality could affect how you respond when stressful events come your way, we share assessments of stress response style, hostility, conscientiousness, and purpose in life. Many of the personality assessments shared here are ones Dr. Epel created that are similar to the non-public original versions. The Telomere Effect book has more original research assessments than shared here, such as rumination, and optimism/pessimism (because many research scales are not for use on a website).

Whatever you learn about your personality, celebrate it. Personality is the spice of life, and knowledge about it is power. There is no right or wrong way to be. The point is to know yourself and be aware of your tendencies, not to change your personality. In fact, personality cannot change easily. It tends to be stable. Both genetics and life experiences have shaped our temperament. 

Telomere Testing 

If you want to know your telomere length, we share a list of companies that offer this service. Get informed on what you should know before and after getting your telomeres tested. 

Learn More 




  • Eckhardt, Christopher, Bradley Norlander, and Jerry Deffenbacher. “The Assessment of Anger and Hostility: A Critical Review.” Aggression and Violent Behavior 9, no. 1 (January 2004): 17–43. doi:10.1016/S1359-1789(02)00116-7.
  • Brydon, L., et al., “Hostility and Cellular Aging in Men from the Whitehall II Cohort,” Biological Psychiatry 71, no. 9 (May 2012): 767–773, doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.08.020.


  • John, O. P., E.M. Donahue, and R. L. Kentle, R. L., The Big Five Inventory—Versions 4a and 54 (Berkeley: University of California, Berke- ley, Institute of Personality and Social Research, 1991). We thank Dr. Oliver John of UC Berkeley for permission to use this scale. John, O. P., and S. Srivastava, “The Big-Five Trait Taxonomy: History, Measure- ment, and Theoretical Perspectives,” in Handbook of Personality: Theory and Research, ed. L. A. Pervin and O. P. John, 2nd ed. (New York: Guil- ford Press, 1999): 102–138.
  • Sadahiro, R., et al., “Relationship Between Leukocyte Telomere Length and Personality Traits in Healthy Subjects,” European Psychiatry 30, no. 2 (February 2015): 291–295, doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2014.03.003, pmid: 24768472. 
  • Srivastava, S., et al., “Development of Personality in Early and Mid- dle Adulthood: Set Like Plaster or Persistent Change?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84, no. 5 (May 2003): 1041–1053, doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.5.1041.

Purpose in Life

  • Scheier, M. F., et al., “The Life Engagement Test: Assessing Purpose in Life,” Journal of Behavioral Medicine 29, no. 3 (June 2006): 291–298, doi:10.1007/s10865-005-9044-1.
  • Pearson, E. L., et al., “Normative Data and Longitudinal Invari- ance of the Life Engagement Test (LET) in a Community Sample of Older Adults,” Quality of Life Research 22, no. 2 (March 2013): 327–331, doi:10.1007/s11136-012-0146-2.