Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold. JAMA: the

Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 07/1997; 277(24):1940-4.
Source: PubMed


To examine the hypothesis that diverse ties to friends, family, work, and community are associated with increased host resistance to infection.
After reporting the extent of participation in 12 types of social ties (eg, spouse, parent, friend, workmate, member of social group), subjects were given nasal drops containing 1 of 2 rhinoviruses and monitored for the development of a common cold.
A total of 276 healthy volunteers, aged 18 to 55 years, neither seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus nor pregnant.
Colds (illness in the presence of a verified infection), mucus production, mucociliary clearance function, and amount of viral replication.
In response to both viruses, those with more types of social ties were less susceptible to common colds, produced less mucus, were more effective in ciliary clearance of their nasal passages, and shed less virus. These relationships were unaltered by statistical controls for prechallenge virus-specific antibody, virus type, age, sex, season, body mass index, education, and race. Susceptibility to colds decreased in a dose-response manner with increased diversity of the social network. There was an adjusted relative risk of 4.2 comparing persons with fewest (1 to 3) to those with most (6 or more) types of social ties. Although smoking, poor sleep quality, alcohol abstinence, low dietary intake of vitamin C, elevated catecholamine levels, and being introverted were all associated with greater susceptibility to colds, they could only partially account for the relation between social network diversity and incidence of colds.
More diverse social networks were associated with greater resistance to upper respiratory illness.

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    • "(ii) Size: assesses the number of people with whom the respondent has regular contact (i.e. at least once every 2 weeks). To calculate network size, we computed the number of people with whom the respondent has regular contact within each of the 12 social roles, and then summed across the 12 roles (Cohen et al., 1997). "
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    ABSTRACT: Diverse aspects of physical, affective, and cognitive health relate to social integration, reflecting engagement in social activities and identification with diverse roles within a social network. However, the mechanisms by which social integration interacts with the brain are unclear. In healthy adults (N=155) we tested the links between social integration and measures of white matter microstructure using diffusion tensor imaging. Across the brain, there was a predominantly positive association between a measure of white matter integrity, fractional anisotropy (FA), and social network diversity. This association was particularly strong in a region near the anterior corpus callosum and driven by a negative association with the radial component of the diffusion signal. This callosal region contained projections between bilateral prefrontal cortices, as well as cingulum and corticostriatal pathways. FA within this region was weakly associated with circulating levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6, but IL-6 did not mediate the social network and FA relationship. Finally, variation in FA indirectly mediated the relationship between social network diversity and intrinsic functional connectivity of medial corticostriatal pathways. These findings suggest that social integration relates to myelin integrity in humans, which may help explain the diverse aspects of health affected by social networks. © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email:
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 01/2015; 10(9). DOI:10.1093/scan/nsv001 · 7.37 Impact Factor
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    • "In this report, we focus on cognitive outcomes, detailed below. Because of our interest in testing hypotheses about moderation of effects on cognition by existing social context and certain aspects of personality , we also note that we included a measure of social network size (Cohen et al., 1997), measures of core personality constructs (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness , and Conscientiousness; Goldberg, 1999), and measures of dispositions for cognitive motivation (Need for Cognition; Cacioppo , Petty, Feinstein, Jarvis, & Blair, 1996) and Mindfulness (Bodner & Langer, 2001). Cognitive measures represented five fluid abilities. "
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    Psychology and Aging 11/2014; 29(4). DOI:10.1037/a0038244 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    • "Social integration was assessed using questions adapted from the Social Network Index [10]. Participants indicated how many individuals they saw or talked to in the past week. "
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