James S. House Cynthia Robbins University of Michigan
The study of psychosocial stress and health and the study of aging over the life course are both inherently interdisciplinary, concerned with the interplay of social, psychological, and biological phenomena in determining human behavior and functioning. Research in both fields has progressed from an initial focus on biological and physiological factors to increasing concern with psychological and social elements. This more recent emphasis is necessary and welcome, but there is also a danger that psychosocial researchers will fail to take biological and physiological factors sufficiently into account, just as biological and physiological studies often neglect the psychosocial dimensions of stress and aging. Thus, there is great need for interdisciplinary research that simultaneously considers social, psychological, and biological factors. Such research would be fostered by greater interchange between, and by integration of theory and research in, the areas of stress and aging.
This paper uses a paradigm for stress and health research to analyze the development of health and wellbeing across the life course. Conversely, it examines how age and life-course stage relate to the variables and causal relationships that are central to the study of stress and health. We seek, however, to move beyond recognizing the potential value of bringing into conjunction stress research and____________________