Are the salutogenic effects of social supports modified by income? A test of an “added value hypothesis”. Health Psychol, 20, 155-165

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.
Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.59). 05/2001; 20(3):155-65. DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.20.3.155
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "Longitudinal studies reveal that among low SES adults, high levels of emotional support from social relationships predict decreases in cardiovascular risk and inflammatory activity over an 18 month period. These relationships were specific to low SES individuals, and not evident among those high in SES (Vitaliano et al., 2001). Similarly, among older adults, greater negative interactions in social relationships were associated with a greater risk of heart disease only among low SES, but not high SES, individuals (Krause, 2005). "
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    • "Other SES studies have produced different results. For example, one study found that those with lower incomes actually benefited more from support than those with higher incomes (as indexed by high-density lipoproteins and natural killer cell activity) (Vitaliano et al., 2001). However, half of that sample consisted of spousal caregivers whose caregiving duties likely made them more vulnerable to changes in both their income and social network. "
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    • "This supports earlier evidence that support may be especially important as a buffer for low-resource persons and communities [31]. From a policy perspective, this adds to the evidence that social ties exist even in the most disadvantaged urban communities, and are important resources to reinforce through programs and policies. "
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