Are the salutogenic effects of social supports modified by income? A test of an "added value hypothesis".
ABSTRACT Older adults (54 men, 113 women; M age = 69.5 years) were examined to test the hypothesis that social supports would be more salutogenic (health promoting) for persons with lower incomes than for persons with higher incomes. Interactions of income and social supports (mean of 3 emotional scales of the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List) at study entry predicted changes 15-18 months later in a cardiovascular composite (linear combination of high-density lipoproteins-mean arterial pressure; p < .05), and natural killer cell activity (p < .05). For both outcomes, emotional supports were salutogenic for persons with lower incomes (< or =$29,000/year), but not for persons with higher incomes (>$29,000/year). In contrast, interactions of the Tangible Support Scale with income did not occur. Persons with lower incomes may derive benefits from social supports that go beyond tangible assistance.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Peter P Vitaliano, Jun 26, 2015
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ABSTRACT: Some individuals, despite facing recurrent, severe adversities in life such as low socioeconomic status (SES), are nonetheless able to maintain good physical health. This article explores why these individuals deviate from the expected association of low SES with poor health, and outlines a "shift-and-persist" model to explain the psychobiological mechanisms involved. This model proposes that in the midst of adversity, some children find role models who teach them to trust others, better regulate their emotions, and focus on their futures. Over a lifetime, these low SES children develop an approach to life that prioritizes shifting oneself (accepting stress for what it is and adapting the self to it) in combination with persisting (enduring life with strength by holding on to meaning and optimism). This combination of shift-and-persist strategies mitigates sympathetic-nervous-system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical responses to the barrage of stressors that low SES individuals confront. This tendency vectors individuals off the trajectory to chronic disease by forestalling pathogenic sequelae of stress reactivity, like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and systemic inflammation. We outline evidence for the model, and argue that efforts to identify resilience-promoting processes are important in this economic climate, given limited resources for improving the financial circumstances of disadvantaged individuals.Perspectives on Psychological Science 03/2012; 7(2):135-158. DOI:10.1177/1745691612436694 · 4.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Both higher socioeconomic status (SES) and supportive personal relationships confer health benefits, including better immune function. This study assessed the joint impact of SES and social support on the expression of a latent herpesvirus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), in a group of highly stressed women. Two-hundred and twenty four women either awaiting further evaluation following an abnormal mammogram or newly diagnosed with breast cancer completed questionnaires and provided blood samples to assess EBV viral capsid antigen (VCA) IgG antibody titers. More highly educated women with more support from friends had lower EBV VCA antibody titers, reflecting a stronger cellular immune response to the latent virus; however, among less educated women, friend support was not associated with EBV antibody titers. As revealed in an ancillary analysis, more highly educated women with more friend support had lower systolic blood pressure (SBP); however, friend support was not associated with SBP among less educated women. Neither depression nor perceived stress mediated these associations. Neither cancer status nor cancer stage among those diagnosed with cancer was significantly related to these outcomes. Lower SES women may not reap the same immunological benefits from friend support when experiencing a stressful life event as their higher SES counterparts.Health Psychology 01/2012; 31(1):11-9. DOI:10.1037/a0025599 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The author reviews some of the social and behavioral factors acting on the brain that influence health, illness, and death. Supported with data from several areas of research, his proposal for understanding health and illness provides both the concepts and the mechanisms for studying and explaining mind-body relationships. The brain is the body's first line of defense against illness, and the mind is the emergent functioning of the brain. This mind-body approach incorporates ideas, belief systems, and hopes as well as biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy. Changing thoughts imply a changing brain and thus a changing biology and body. Belief systems provide a baseline for the functioning brain upon which other variables act and have their effects.American Psychologist 02/2004; 59(1):29-40. DOI:10.1037/0003-066X.59.1.29 · 6.87 Impact Factor