Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 121–126

Does Exposure to Stressors Predict Changes in Physiological Dysregulation?

  • Dana A. Glei
  • Noreen Goldman
  • Chih-Hsun Wu
  • Maxine Weinstein
Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-013-9485-7

Cite this article as:
Glei, D.A., Goldman, N., Wu, CH. et al. ann. behav. med. (2013) 46: 121. doi:10.1007/s12160-013-9485-7



The allostatic load framework implies that cumulative exposure to stressors results in multi-system physiological dysregulation.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of stress burden on subsequent changes (2000–2006) in physiological dysregulation.


Data came from a population-based cohort study in Taiwan (n = 521, aged 54+ in 2000, re-examined in 2006). Measures of stressful events and chronic strain were based on questions asked in 1996, 1999, and 2000. A measure of trauma was based on exposure to the 1999 earthquake. Dysregulation was based on 17 biomarkers (e.g., metabolic, inflammatory, neuroendocrine).


There were some small effects among men: chronic strain was associated with subsequent increases in dysregulation (standardized β = 0.08, 95 % CI = 0.01 to 0.20), particularly inflammation; life events were also associated with increased inflammation (β = 0.10, CI = 0.01 to 0.26). There were no significant effects in women.


We found weak evidence that stress burden is associated with changes in dysregulation.


StressorsPsychological stressLife challengesAllostatic loadPhysiological dysregulationBiological markers

Supplementary material

12160_2013_9485_MOESM1_ESM.doc (294 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 294 kb)

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dana A. Glei
    • 1
    • 4
  • Noreen Goldman
    • 2
  • Chih-Hsun Wu
    • 3
  • Maxine Weinstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Population and HealthGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Office of Population ResearchPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Population and Health Research Center, Bureau of Health PromotionDepartment of HealthTaipeiRepublic of China
  4. 4.Santa RosaUSA