Allostatic Load and the Impact of Caregiving on the Health and Well-Being of Kenya Luo Grandparents
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Anthropology Honors Theses; 2010
Allostatic load refers to the physiological costs of chronic exposure to the neuroendocrine stress response. These chronic stressors can cause dysregulation of multiple physiological systems. If these stressors are prolonged, they might ultimately lead to deteriorations in health. Allostatic load is assessed through multiple variables. Here, I used AL to estimate associations of physiological components of stress response with multiple variables in a sample of Kenyan grandparents. By combining a series of known risk factors for chronic degenerative conditions (CDC) into an estimate of stress load, I determined how AL varied across this sample and associates with health, social, and physiological factors. From this sample it appears that AL is not strongly associated with multiple social, physiological, and health variables. Only the Framingham score used to determine cardiovascular risk appears significantly associated with AL. Such studies in cross-cultural settings, ultimately allow us to conceptualize the importance and variability of stress responses of humans on disease and survival, major goals of anthropology and human biology.
College of Arts and Sciences granted a $250 award for research funding.