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J Aging Health. 2010 Sep;22(6):748-71. doi: 10.1177/0898264310367516. Epub 2010 May 28.

Stressors over the life course and neuroendocrine system dysregulation in Costa Rica.

Author information

  • 1National Health Research Institutes, Institute of Population Health Sciences, Division of Health Policy Research and Development, No. 35 Keyan Road, Zhunan, Miaoli County 350, Taiwan.

Erratum in

  • J Aging Health. 2011 Aug;23(5):883. Dow, William D [corrected to Dow, William H].



A key aspect of the increasingly popular allostatic load (AL) framework is that stressors experienced over the entire life course result in physiological dysregulation. Although core to AL theory, this idea has been little tested, and where it has been tested, the results have been mixed.


The study analyzes the Costa Rican Study on Longevity and Healthy Aging (CRELES), a new, cross-sectional, and nationally representative survey of older Costa Rican men and women (aged between 60 and 109 years). The survey period is between 2004 and 2006, and the survey has a sample size of 2,827 individuals. This article focuses on the relationship between a variety of stressors experienced over the life course and cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), epinephrine, and norepinephrine analyzed separately and in an index.


There are some links between certain stressors and worse cortisol levels, but overall, almost all of the stressors examined are not associated with riskier neuroendocrine biomarker profiles.


More work is needed, in order to establish the connection between stressors experienced over the life course and resting levels of the neuroendocrine markers.

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