Life-course accumulation of neighborhood disadvantage and allostatic load: empirical integration of three social determinants of health frameworks

Am J Public Health. 2014 May;104(5):904-10. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301707. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


Objectives: We examined if the accumulation of neighborhood disadvantages from adolescence to mid-adulthood were related to allostatic load, a measure of cumulative biological risk, in mid-adulthood, and explored whether this association was similar in women and men.

Methods: Data were from the participants in the Northern Swedish Cohort (analytical n = 818) at ages 16, 21, 30, and 43 years in 1981, 1986, 1995, and 2008. Personal living conditions were self-reported at each wave. At age 43 years, 12 biological markers were measured to operationalize allostatic load. Registered data for all residents in the cohort participants' neighborhoods at each wave were used to construct a cumulative measure of neighborhood disadvantage. Associations were examined in ordinary least-squares regression models.

Results: We found that cumulative neighborhood disadvantage between ages 16 and 43 years was related to higher allostatic load at age 43 years after adjusting for personal living conditions in the total sample (B = 0.11; P = .004) and in men (B = 0.16; P = .004), but not in women (B = 0.07; P = .248).

Conclusions: Our findings suggested that neighborhood disadvantage acted cumulatively over the life course on biological wear and tear, and exemplified the gains of integrating social determinants of health frameworks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Determinants of Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers