a1 University of Montreal
a2 McGill University
a3 Charles University
a4 Ryerson University
a5 University of Sherbrooke
a6 Rockefeller University
The allostatic load (AL) model represents an interdisciplinary approach to comprehensively conceptualize and quantify chronic stress in relation to pathologies throughout the life cycle. This article first reviews the AL model, followed by interactions among early adversity, genetics, environmental toxins, as well as distinctions among sex, gender, and sex hormones as integral antecedents of AL. We next explore perspectives on severe mental illness, dementia, and caregiving as unique human models of AL that merit future investigations in the field of developmental psychopathology. A complimenting transdisciplinary perspective is applied throughout, whereby we argue that the AL model goes beyond traditional stress–disease theories toward the advancement of person-centered research and practice that promote not only physical health but also mental health.
(Online publication July 15 2011)
c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Robert-Paul Juster, 7401 Hochelaga, McGill University, Louis Riel Pavilion, Unit 226, Room RI-2678, Montreal, QC H1N 3M5, Canada; E-mail: [email protected].
We thank Catherine Juster for proofreading this manuscript and Ilse Langerak for her review of stress and divorce. This article is supported by a doctoral scholarship (to R.-P.J.) from the Aging Institute of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and to a Senior Investigator Chair from the Canadian Institute of Gender and Health (to S.L.).