Does Exposure to Stressors Predict Changes in Physiological Dysregulation?
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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.
KeywordsStressors Psychological stress Life challenges Allostatic load Physiological dysregulation Biological markers
Funding for the TLSA came from the Taiwan Department of Health, the Taiwan National Health Research Institute [grant number DD01-86IX-GR601S], and the Taiwan Provincial Government. SEBAS was funded by the Demography and Epidemiology Unit of the Behavioral and Social Research Program of the National Institute on Aging [grant numbers R01 AG16790, R01 AG16661]. The Bureau of Health Promotion (Department of Health, Taiwan) provided additional financial support for SEBAS 2000. This work also received support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [grant number R24HD047879]. We gratefully acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the staff at the Center for Population and Health Survey Research, Bureau of Health Promotion, Taiwan Department of Health, who were instrumental in the design and implementation of the SEBAS and supervised all aspects of the fieldwork and data processing.
Conflict of Interest
The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.
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