Allostatic load in an environmental riskscape: The role of stressors and gender

Christine A. Mair, Malcolm P. Cutchin, M. Kristen Peek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Stressors are theorized to be associated with higher allostatic load (AL), a concept of physiological wear measured as a composite of physical biomarkers. Risk of high AL may vary by gender and may be intensified in places with significant environmental risks, otherwise known as 'environmental riskscapes'. Yet, no study has examined the relationship between stressors, gender, and allostatic load in an environmental riskscape. Using primary data collected in a sample (N=1072) exposed to various environmental and social stressors, we find that long-term residence in Texas City (30 or more years), residential proximity to petrochemical plants, perceived poor neighborhood conditions, and daily hassles are associated with higher allostatic load components. Variation in AL differs by gender and the types of biomarkers examined. Gender moderates the effect of length of residence in Texas City on cardiovascular health risk. We discuss our findings in light of current research on stressors, gender, allostatic load, and double jeopardy within environmental riskscapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-987
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Place
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Allostatic load
  • Environmental riskscapes
  • Gender
  • Health disparities
  • Stressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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