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Biological costs of economic transition: Stress levels during the transition from communism to capitalism in Poland


  • Lipowicz, Anna
  • Szklarska, Alicja
  • Mitas, Andrzej W.


At the end of the 1980s, Poland began the transformation from an essentially one-party communist system to a politically pluralistic democratic system. These political and economic changes had major social consequences, among others unemployment and a sharp decrease in real personal income. The aim of the study was to investigate the possible relationship between stress in adult men, measured by the Allostatic Load, and the socio-economic deterioration during the first part of the economic transition. The Allostatic Load included eleven markers assessing adverse nutritional intake, cardiovascular activity, inflammatory processes, and lung, hepatic and renal functions. The results indicate a significantly higher risk of metabolic dysregulation in men examined after 1990, compared to men from previous years. After adjustment for socioeconomic variables and lifestyle variables, men examined in 1991 had a 31% greater risk of higher Allostatic Load compared with men examined in 1985 (OR=1.31; p=0.0541), in 1992, this risk was 50% greater (OR=1.50; p<0.01), and in 1993, the risk was 66% greater (OR=1.66; p<0.05). The conclusion is drawn that significantly more stressogenic factors for men were those directly connected with the financial situation of their families, than a sudden but short increase of prices for goods and services.

Suggested Citation

  • Lipowicz, Anna & Szklarska, Alicja & Mitas, Andrzej W., 2016. "Biological costs of economic transition: Stress levels during the transition from communism to capitalism in Poland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 90-99.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:21:y:2016:i:c:p:90-99
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2015.12.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kalwij, Adriaan, 2018. "The effects of competition outcomes on health: Evidence from the lifespans of U.S. Olympic medalists," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 276-286.
    2. French, Declan & Vigne, Samuel, 2019. "The causes and consequences of household financial strain: A systematic review," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 150-156.
    3. Baten, Joerg, 2017. "Economics, human biology and inequality: A review of “puzzles” and recent contributions from a Deatonian perspective," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 3-8.
    4. Liczbińska, Grażyna & Czapla, Zbigniew & Piontek, Janusz & Malina, Robert M., 2018. "Age at menarche in Polish University students born before, during and after World War II: Economic effects," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 23-28.

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    Stress; GDP per Capita; Wages; Inflation; Unemployment;


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