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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001 May;935:42-9.

From molecules to mind. Stress, individual differences, and the social environment.

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Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The social and physical environments in which we live have an enormous impact on our physiology and behavior and influence the process of adaptation, or "allostasis." Genes, early development, adult experiences, life style, and stressful life experiences all contribute to the way the body adapts to a changing environment; and these factors all help to determine the cost to the body, or "allostatic load." Studies of these processes involve the disciplines of biology and psychology, but they are incomplete without the input from other fields, such as cultural anthropology, economics, epidemiology, political science, and sociology. These fields provide a description and analysis of the social and cultural institutions and economic forces that affect individual human health. Specific examples of shared concepts and terminology are given to illustrate progress towards consilience in the study of socioeconomic determinants of health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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