Childhood poverty and adult allostatic load: Predictors of long-term health outcomes


Troxel, Natalie R. & Hastings, Paul D. (2014). Childhood poverty and adult allostatic load: Predictors of long-term health outcomes. 2014 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Allostatic load is a measure of wear and tear on the body caused by constant adaptation to stress and represents the loss of the body's adaptability. The strain of prolonged exposure to stress can over-tax the body's selfregulatory abilities and lock physiological systems into an unhealthy state, leaving children vulnerable to many chronic health problems which may persist into adulthood. In this study, we hypothesize that adult allostatic load will be positively predicted by childhood and adolescent socioeconomic distress. Using structural equation modeling, we examine the associations between Wave 1 parent-, child-, and census-reported socioeconomic variables (e.g., family income, local unemployment) and Wave 4 biomarkers (e.g., glucose, blood pressure). Covariates (e.g., respondent age) and moderators (e.g., gender) will be included. Preliminary analyses using regression modeling have shown that neighborhood affluence, neighborhood safety, and family resources measured at Wave 1 accounted for 4.5% of the variance in allostatic load measured at Wave 4. Having a lower level of neighborhood affluence at Wave 1 was the single strongest predictor of adult allostatic load. These results indicate that poverty experienced during childhood and adolescence has a significant effect on indicators of compromised physical health in adulthood.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2014 Add Health Users Conference


Troxel, Natalie R.
Hastings, Paul D.

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID