Does Exposure to Stressors Predict Changes in Physiological Dysregulation?

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BackgroundThe allostatic load framework implies that cumulative exposure to stressors results in multi-system physiological dysregulation.PurposeThe purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of stress burden on subsequent changes (2000-2006) in physiological dysregulation.MethodsData 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).ResultsThere 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.ConclusionsWe found weak evidence that stress burden is associated with changes in dysregulation.

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