Allostatic load and health in parents living under different social conditions

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2009
End date: 31/12/2011
Funding: 2250000 SEK


The aim is to investigate how the physical and social environment interacts with people’s behavior and biological systems and contributes to social and gender inequalities in health. The theoretical basis is the Allostatic Load Model by McEwen et al., which describes under what conditions bodily responses to stress are health promoting versus health damaging.

Parents in intact families and single mothers (300 individuals in all) living under different social conditions will be examined in their natural environment both on and off work. Measurements will involve physical (e.g., housing, recreation opportunities, traffic, noise, crowding, pollution, occupational hazards) and psychosocial conditions (e.g., occupation, education, income, role conflicts, safety, social support), life style (e.g., dietary and sleep habits, exercise, smoking, alcohol, medication, coping style), paid and unpaid workload, self-reported health (e.g., symptoms, general health, sick leave, perceived stress, psychological well-being) and a medical check-up including blood sampling (blood pressure, blood lipids, renal function, glucose metabolism etc.) and dental health. Stress hormones (urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline, salivary cortisol) will be measured repeatedly on and off work.

The research will be carried out at the Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS) with expertise in psychological, sociological, medical and public health areas, and with international collaborators.

The higher burden of illness associated with low socioeconomic status and female gender is of scientific, applied and political interest and importantce. By an integrated and theoretically based psychological, sociological, medical and public health approach, combining different forms of analyses (variable, index and cluster analysis), we expect to gain new important information relevant for prevention and intervention (e.g., health promotion).

Last updated on 2017-29-03 at 17:13