Social Support, Social Strain and Chronic Inflammation: Evidence from a National Longitudinal Study of U.S. Adults

Yang Yang, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kristen M. Schorpp, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Social relationships have long been held to have powerful effects on health and survival, but it remains unclear what the underlying biophysiological mechanism is or whether such process differs by function and source of relationships. This study addresses gaps by examining how perceived social support and social strain from relationships with family, friends, and spouse at a prior point in time are associated with subsequent risks of chronic inflammation, as assessed by five markers (CRP, IL-6, fibrinogen, E-selectin, and ICAM-1) in a nationally representative longitudinal study of 647 adults from the Midlife Development in the United States (1995 – 2009). Results from ordinal logistic regression analysis show that (1) spouse support significantly reduced the inflammation burden; (2) family, friend, and total social strain significantly increased the inflammation burden; and (3) the negative effects of social strain were stronger than the positive effects of social support on inflammation.

  See paper

Presented in Session 102: Stress and Health