Article

Social Isolation and Adult Mortality: The Role of Chronic Inflammation and Sex Differences

1Department of Sociology, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.72). 05/2013; 54(2). DOI: 10.1177/0022146513485244
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The health and survival benefits of social embeddedness have been widely documented across social species, but the underlying biophysiological mechanisms have not been elucidated in the general population. The authors assessed the process by which social isolation increases the risk for all-cause and chronic disease mortality through proinflammatory mechanisms. Using the 18-year mortality follow-up data (n = 6,729) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-2006) on Social Network Index and multiple markers of chronic inflammation, the authors conducted survival analyses and found evidence that supports the mediation role of chronic inflammation in the link between social isolation and mortality. A high-risk fibrinogen level and cumulative inflammation burden may be particularly important in this link. There are notable sex differences in the mortality effects of social isolation in that they are greater for men and can be attributed in part to their heightened inflammatory responses.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Michael Kozloski, May 11, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
129 Views
  • Source
    • "Emerging research also shows that social network characteristics are associated with measures of neural integrity (Yang et al., 2013). For example, neuroimaging studies demonstrate that people with larger and more diverse social networks have larger brain volumes and greater functional connectivity in emotional salience processing networks (Bickart et al., 2011, 2012), while larger social networks are indirectly associated with greater volume in the orbital prefrontal cortex, an area implicated in social cognition (Powell et al., 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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: journals.permissions@oup.com.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 01/2015; DOI:10.1093/scan/nsv001 · 5.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "The quality of personal and social relationships is clearly linked to chronic disease outcomes [117] including heart disease [118], stroke [119], some cancers [120], and allcause mortality [121]. The pathways for this are, as yet, unclear and psychological mediators have not been proven [122], but inflammatory processes have been associated with poor social relations [123] such as spousal ambivalence [124] and isolation [125] and can even stem back to maternal separation in childhood [126]. People who have supportive close relationships have lower levels of systemic inflammation compared to people who have unsatisfactory relationships [127]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The obesity epidemic and associated chronic diseases are often attributed to modern lifestyles. The term "lifestyle" however, ignores broader social, economic, and environmental determinants while inadvertently "blaming the victim." Seen more eclectically, lifestyle encompasses distal, medial, and proximal determinants. Hence any analysis of causality should include all these levels. The term "anthropogens," or "…man-made environments, their by-products and/or lifestyles encouraged by these, some of which may be detrimental to human health" provides a monocausal focus for chronic diseases similar to that which the germ theory afforded infectious diseases. Anthropogens have in common an ability to induce a form of chronic, low-level systemic inflammation ("metaflammation"). A review of anthropogens, based on inducers with a metaflammatory association, is conducted here, together with the evidence for each in connection with a number of chronic diseases. This suggests a broader view of lifestyle and a focus on determinants, rather than obesity and lifestyle per se as the specific causes of modern chronic disease. Under such an analysis, obesity is seen more as "a canary in a mineshaft" signaling problems in the broader environment, suggesting that population obesity management should be focused more upstream if chronic diseases are to be better managed.
    04/2014; 2014:731685. DOI:10.1155/2014/731685
  • Source
    • "Finally , the challenge appears even greater for those from lower - resource households , as the supports for lifestyle changes often are fewer while the changes required often are greater than they are for higher - resourced counterparts ( Lutfey & Freese , 2005 ) . Considerable research suggests various ways whereby social embeddedness impacts health via behavioral , psycho - social , and physiological mechanisms ( Berkman , Glass , Brissette , & Seeman , 2000 ; Thoits , 2011 ; Umberson & Montez , 2010 ; Yang , McClintock , Kozloski , & Li , 2013 ) . We suggest that social ties indirectly and directly impact health capability by adding meaning to everyday life , and extra motivation to be healthy . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While the “social determinants of health” view compels us to explore how social structures shape health outcomes, it often ignores the role individual agency plays. In contrast, approaches that focus on individual choice and personal responsibility for health often overlook the influence of social structures. Amartya Sen's “capabilities” framework and its derivative the “health capabilities” (HC) approach attempts to accommodate both points of view, acknowledging that individuals function under social conditions over which they have little control, while also acting as agents in their own health and well-being. This paper explores how economic, social, and cultural resources shape the health capability of people with diabetes, focusing specifically on dietary practices. Health capability and agency are central to dietary practices, while also being shaped by immediate and broader social conditions that can generate habits and a lifestyle that constrain dietary behaviors. From January 2011 to December 2012, we interviewed 45 people with diabetes from a primary care clinic in Ontario (Canada) to examine how their economic, social, and cultural resources combine to influence dietary practices relative to their condition. We classified respondents into low, medium, and high resource groups based on economic circumstances, and compared how economic resources, social relationships, health-related knowledge and values combine to enhance or weaken health capability and dietary management. Economic, social, and cultural resources conspired to undermine dietary management among most in the low resource group, whereas social influences significantly influenced diet among many in the medium group. High resource respondents appeared most motivated to maintain a healthy diet, and also had the social and cultural resources to enable them to do so. Understanding the influence of all three types of resources is critical for constructing ways to enhance health capability, chronic disease self-management, and health.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 02/2014; 102:58–68. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.11.033 · 2.56 Impact Factor
Show more