Neighborhood features and physiological risk: An examination of allostatic load

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Abstract

Poor neighborhoods may represent a situation of chronic stress, and may therefore be associated with health-related correlates of stress. We examined whether lower neighborhood income would relate to higher allostatic load, or physiological well-being, through psychological, affective, and behavioral pathways. Using data from the Biomarker Project of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study and the 2000 Census, we demonstrated that people living in lower income neighborhoods have higher allostatic load net of individual income. Moreover, findings indicate that this relation is partially accounted for by anxious arousal symptoms, fast food consumption, smoking, and exercise habits.

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