Developing “Allostatic Leaders”: A Psychobiosocial Perspective

  • Angela M. YarnellEmail author
  • Neil E. Grunberg
Part of the Annals of Theoretical Psychology book series (AOTP, volume 15)


Many leader types have been described and are useful. Because so many leader types have been identified, they may be interpreted as competing with each other rather than as complementary or alternative types that depend on individual leaders, the groups that are being led, or the situations in which leadership occurs. This chapter suggests that it is valuable to identify a leader type that can serve as an umbrella term and concept to capture principles relevant to all types of effective leadership. The identification of an overarching, effective leader type is based on a psychobiosocial perspective that draws from field theory in the social sciences and from the stress literature. Based on these literatures, the term “allostatic leader” is offered to describe an ideal leader who responds, adapts, learns, and changes with experience to become even more effective in subsequent situations. Consequently, a clear operational and holistic definition can best focus leader education and development programs to optimally grow effective leaders.


Allostatic leader Allostasis Field theory FourCe-PITO Leader Psychobiosocial Stress 



The opinions and assertions contained herein are the sole ones of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflection of the views of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, or Department of Defense. We especially thank Erin S. Barry for her valuable input preparing this chapter. We also thank Hannah G. Kleber for her suggestions and LTC Matthew Clark for his thoughtful review and edits.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Science and LeadershipUnited States Military AcademyWest PointUSA
  2. 2.Military and Emergency Medicine DepartmentUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Medical and Clinical Psychology DepartmentUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA

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