SES, Stress, Biomarkers, and Taiwan

Omer Gersten, University of California, Berkeley
Tom Boyce, University of British Columbia
Paola Timiras, University of California, Berkeley

Both objective and, more recently, subjective measures of standing have been linked to poor health outcomes. It is unclear, however, through which precise physiological mechanisms such standing may influence health. One possible mechanism is that lower status is stressful and that stress experienced over the life course engenders dysregulated biomarker profiles (that are a risk factor for poor health). Using a nationally representative survey conducted in Taiwan, the investigation here tests whether lower subjective standing (both in terms of SES in Taiwan and standing in the community) is associated with riskier neuroendocrine biomarker profiles. With the exception of the biomarker DHEAS, we find that there is no evidence that reports of low standing are associated with riskier biomarker profiles. The finding here is congruent with mounting evidence in the literature that suggests the difficulty in linking indicators of a stressful life history to an impaired neuroendocrine system.

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Presented in Poster Session 5