4.3 Review

Neighborhood Socioeconomic Deprivation and Allostatic Load: A Scoping Review


DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15061092


socioeconomic factors; cumulative biological risk; health disparities; neighborhood effects; allostatic load; neighborhood disadvantage; poverty; context; biomarkers; residence characteristics


  1. FEDER through the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Internationalization
  2. Foundation for Science and Technology-FCT (Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education) under the Unidade de Investigacao em Epidemiologia-Instituto de Saude Publica da Universidade do Porto (EPIUnit) [POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006862, UID/DTP/04750/2013, PD/BD/128009/2016, PD/BD/128082/2016, SFRH/BPD/97015/2013]
  3. European Community's Horizon 2020 programme [633666]
  4. Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia [PD/BD/128009/2016, PD/BD/128082/2016] Funding Source: FCT

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Residing in socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods may pose substantial physiological stress, which can then lead to higher allostatic load (AL), a marker of biological wear and tear that precedes disease. The aim of the present study was to map the current evidence about the relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation and AL. A scoping review approach was chosen to provide an overview of the type, quantity, and extent of research available. The review was conducted using three bibliographic databases (PubMed, SCOPUS, and Web of Science) and a standardized protocol. Fourteen studies were identified. Studies were predominantly from the USA, cross-sectional, focused on adults, and involved different races and ethnic groups. A wide range of measures of AL were identified: the mode of the number of biomarkers per study was eight but with large variability (range: 6-24). Most studies (n = 12) reported a significant association between neighborhood deprivation and AL. Behaviors and environmental stressors seem to mediate this relationship and associations appear more pronounced among Blacks, men, and individuals with poor social support. Such conclusions have important public health implications as they enforce the idea that neighborhood environment should be improved to prevent physiological dysregulation and consequent chronic diseases.


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