Psychological and social resources relate to biomarkers of allostasis in newly admitted nursing home residents

Suzanne Meeks, Kimberly Van Haitsma, Benjamin T. Mast, Steven Arnold, Joel E. Streim, Sandra Sephton, Patrick J. Smith, Morton Kleban, Michael Rovine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives: This paper presents preliminary baseline data from a prospective study of nursing home adaptation that attempts to capture the complexity of residents' adaptive resources by examining psychological, social, and biological variables from a longitudinal conceptual framework. Our emphasis was on validating an index of allostasis.Method: In a sample of 26 long-term care patients, we measured 6 hormone and protein biomarkers to capture the concept of allostasis as an index of physiological resilience, related to other baseline resources, including frailty, hope and optimism, social support, and mental health history, collected via interview with the resident and collaterals. We also examined the performance of self-report measures reflecting psychosocial and well-being constructs, given the prevalence of cognitive impairment in nursing homes.Results: Our results supported both the psychometric stability of our self-report measures, and the preliminary validity of our index of allostasis. Each biomarker was associated with at least one other resilience resource, suggesting that our choice of biomarkers was appropriate. As a group, the biomarkers showed good correspondence with the majority of other resource variables, and our standardized summation score was also associated with physical, social, and psychological resilience resources, including those reflecting physical and mental health vulnerability as well as positive resources of social support, optimism, and hope.Conclusion: Although these results are based on a small sample, the effect sizes were large enough to confer some confidence in the value of pursuing further research relating biomarkers of allostasis to psychological and physical resources and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-99
Number of pages12
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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