A Longitudinal Investigation of Psychosocial Mediators of Allostatic Load in a Multi-Ethnic Sample of Midlife Women: Findings from the Study of Women's Health across the Nation

Dawn Upchurch, University of California, Los Angeles

The focus of this research was to assess racial and SES differences in level and change in allostatic load over a 8 year time period and to test predictive pathways psychosocial variables. Longitudinal data obtained from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation were used. Confirmatory factor analysis and latent growth curve models were employed. Higher discrimination and hostility were predictive of higher AL level (p<.05). Higher perceived stress was predictive of faster rate of increase of AL (p<.05). Racial and SES differentials were present, with African American race, lower income, and lower education predictive of higher AL level (p<.001 for each). The results identified several significant pathways through which race and SES indirectly predict level and change of AL over time. This was one of the first studies to investigate longitudinally AL and results supported AL as a cumulative phenomenon, affected by multiple psychosocial and demographic factors.

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Presented in Session 174: Aging, Biodemography and Biomarkers