Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Allostatis, Allostatic Load, and Stress
Bruce McEwen & Teresa Seeman
There is a need to develop a biological framework in which to conceptualize and measure the cumulative impact of social status, income, education, working and living environments, lifestyle, health-related behaviors, and stressful life experiences on physical and mental health and the progression of a number of diseases. Such a framework would aid social scientists in studying important questions, such as how socioeconomic status (SES) gets “under the skin” and affects health. This has been a major effort within the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health. One of the main challenges has been to expand beyond the limitations and ambiguities imposed by the terms stress and homeostasis . This entry discusses the physiology of the response to stress in terms of a new formulation involving two concepts, namely, allostasis and allostatic overload . We believe that these two terms allow for a more restricted and precise definition of ...