Abstract

The allostatic load framework postulates that an important pathway connecting the social environment with health involves biological responses to stressful stimuli and the subsequent dysregulation of interrelated physiological systems. We formulate a new measure for cumulative physiological dysregulation using a grade of membership model estimated with biodemographic data from a national sample of older Taiwanese persons. We investigate associations between the measure and physical, psychological, and cognitive function. The results provide insights into the relationships between a set of biological profiles and various health outcomes, identify limitations of earlier approaches, and underscore next steps in the development of improved formulations of physiological dysregulation.

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