Citation Robertson T, Popham F & Benzeval M (2014) Socioeconomic position across the lifecourse & allostatic load: data from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 cohort study, BMC Public Health, 14 (1), Art. No.: 184.
Abstract BACKGROUND: We examined how socioeconomic position (SEP) across the lifecourse (three critical periods, social mobility and accumulated over time) is associated with allostatic load (a measure of cumulative physiological burden).
METHODS: Data are from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study, with respondents aged 35 (n = 740), 55 (n = 817) and 75 (n = 483). SEP measures representing childhood, the transition to adulthood and adulthood SEP were used. Allostatic load was produced by summing nine binary biomarker scores (1 = in the highest-risk quartile). Linear regressions were used for each of the lifecourse models; with model fits compared using partial F-tests.
RESULTS: For those aged 35 and 55, higher SEP was associated with lower allostatic load (no association in the 75-year-olds). The accumulation model (more time spent with higher SEP) had the best model fit in those aged 35 (b = -0.50, 95%CI = -0.68, -0.32, P = 0.002) and 55 (b = -0.31, 95%CI = -0.49, -0.12, P < 0.001). However, the relative contributions of each life-stage differed, with adulthood SEP less strongly associated with allostatic load.
CONCLUSIONS: Long-term, accumulated higher SEP has been shown to be associated with lower allostatic load (less physiological burden). However, the transition to adulthood may represent a particularly sensitive period for SEP to impact on allostatic load.
Keywords Epidemiology; Health inequalities; Physiology; Social and Lifecourse Epidemiology; epidemiology; health inequalities; physiology; social and lifecourse epidemiology