A transdisciplinary perspective of chronic stress in relation to psychopathology throughout life span development

Dev Psychopathol. 2011 Aug;23(3):725-76. doi: 10.1017/S0954579411000289.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Life
  • Life Change Events
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*