The Adaptive Calibration Model of stress responsivity: An empirical test in the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey study
The adaptive calibration model (ACM) is a theory of developmental programing focusing on calibration of stress response systems and associated life history strategies to local environmental conditions. In this article, we tested some key predictions of the ACM in a longitudinal study of Dutch adolescent males (11-16 years old; N = 351). Measures of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and adrenocortical activation, reactivity to, and recovery from social-evaluative stress validated the four-pattern taxonomy of the ACM via latent profile analysis, though with some deviations from expected patterns. The physiological profiles generally showed predicted associations with antecedent measures of familial and ecological conditions and life stress; as expected, high- and low-responsivity patterns were found under both low-stress and high-stress family conditions. The four patterns were also differentially associated with aggressive/rule-breaking behavior and withdrawn/depressed behavior. This study provides measured support for key predictions of the ACM and highlights important empirical issues and methodological challenges for future research.