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University of Stirling



Origins of heath inequalities: The case for allostatic load (Commentary)

Robertson T (2016) Origins of heath inequalities: The case for allostatic load (Commentary).

allostatic load; health; measurement; life course; embodiment; biomarkers

In an opening paper Cyrille Delpierre, Cristina Barbosa-Solis, Jerome Torrisani, Muriel Darnaudery, Melanie Bartley, David Blane and Michelle Kelly-Irving explore the concept of Allostatic Load as a way of examining health inequalities. The impact of the environment on our biological systems is summarised by the concept of embodiment. The biological embedding of social conditions could therefore be a relevant mechanism to partly explain the social gradient in health. A key issue is how to measure the ‘physiological reality’, the biological expression of embodiment at individual and population levels. Allostatic load (AL) has been proposed as a measure of the overall cost of adapting to the environment, and may be a relevant tool or concept for measuring the way we have embodied our environment. The points they raise are then debated in commentaries by Linn Getz and Margret Olafia Tomasdottir, Tony Robertson and Per Gustafson. These commentaries are followed by a response from the authors of the opening paper.

Longitudinal and Life Course Studies: Volume 7, Issue 1

Author(s)Robertson, Tony
Publication date01/01/2016
PublisherSociety for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies
Publisher URL
Item discussedDelpierre C, Barboza-Solis C, Torrisani J, Darnaudery M, Bartley M, Blane D, Kelly-Irving M (2016) Allostatic load as a measure of social embodiment: conceptual and empirical considerations. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 7 (1), pp. 80-85.
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