The Speedometer of Life: Stress, Health and Aging

David M. Almeida, Jennifer R. Piazza, Robert S. Stawski, Laura C. Klein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

70 Scopus citations


This chapter describes the links between stress, health, and aging; to identify stress processes that lead to changes in key psychological and physiological indicators; and to examine the associations between biological indicators, health, and well-being. These links are based on life-span developmental theory of stress and health that highlights variations and differences within and between individuals as they develop in multidimensional sociohistorical contexts. This chapter provides a broad framework for incorporating the role of stress into the study of health and aging by describing the concepts and measurement of stress processes, life-span and life course perspectives on stressors and their consequences, biomarkers that provide a link between stressors and health, and merging research documenting the effects of stress on cognitive health. There are multiple dimensions of stressors ranging from major life events to chronic stressors to daily hassles. Adult developmental researchers have examined how stressors affect health by assessing intra-individual change in exposure and reactivity to these types of stressors. Research has also begun to document individual and group differences in changes in these stress processes. Much of the psychological literature on stress and aging has assessed affective reactivity, but emerging work has begun to incorporate biological as well as cognitive outcomes of stress processes. These are all important advances in understanding how stress may speed not only biological aging but also cognitive aging. © 2011

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of the Psychology of Aging
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780123808820
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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