Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Kathleen A. Lawler

Committee Members

Warren Jones, Gary Klukken, Sandra Thomas


Homeostasis has been the central model in physiology and therapeutics in modern medicine. Allostasis, a new model, has been put forth as a replacement for homeostasis. According to the allostatic model, health is defined in terms of the ability to respond to demands. Thus, in contrast to the homeostatic model, the allostatic model views responsiveness in a positive light. The allostatic model was examined by observing the relationships between chronic hassles, cardiovascular responsiveness to an emotional interview and physical health symptomatology in a sample of 64 female undergraduates. As expected, chronic hassles scores were predictive of health symptomatology. In addition, cardiovascular responsivity variables were more strongly related to health symptomatology than cardiovascular baseline and recovery levels, providing general support for the allostatic model. Examination of the cross between chronic hassles and cardiovascular responsivity suggested that health may be more precisely viewed as appropriate responsivity for the environmental context, not just in terms of responsiveness per se.

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