Influence of the source of social support and size of social network on all-cause mortality

Becofsky, Katie M., Shook, Robin P., Sui, Xuemei, Wilcox, Sara, Lavie, Carl J. and Blair, Steven N. (2015) Influence of the source of social support and size of social network on all-cause mortality. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 90 7: 895-902. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.04.007

Author Becofsky, Katie M.
Shook, Robin P.
Sui, Xuemei
Wilcox, Sara
Lavie, Carl J.
Blair, Steven N.
Title Influence of the source of social support and size of social network on all-cause mortality
Journal name Mayo Clinic Proceedings   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1942-5546
Publication date 2015-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.04.007
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 90
Issue 7
Start page 895
End page 902
Total pages 8
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective:  To examine associations between relative, friend, and partner support, as well as size and source of weekly social network, and mortality risk in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study.

Patients and Methods:  In a mail-back survey completed between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1990, adult participants in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (N=12,709) answered questions on whether they received social support from relatives, friends, and spouse/partner (yes or no for each) and on the number of friends and relatives they had contact with at least once per week. Participants were followed until December 31, 2003, or until the date of death. Cox proportional hazards regression analyses evaluated the strength of the associations, controlling for covariates.

Results:  Participants (3220 [25%] women) averaged 53.0±11.3 years of age at baseline. During a median follow-up of 13.5 years, 1139 deaths occurred. Receiving social support from relatives reduced mortality risk by 19% (hazard ratio [HR], 0.81; 95% CI, 0.68-0.95). Receiving spousal/partner support also reduced mortality risk by 19% (HR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.66-0.99). Receiving social support from friends was not associated with mortality risk (HR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.75-1.09); however, participants reporting social contact with 6 or 7 friends on a weekly basis had a 24% lower mortality risk than did those in contact with 0 or 1 friend (HR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.58-0.98). Contact with 2 to 5 or 8 or more friends was not associated with mortality risk, nor was the number of weekly contacts with relatives.

Conclusion:  Receiving social support from one’s spouse/partner and relatives and maintaining weekly social interaction with 6 to 7 friends reduced mortality risk. Such data may inform interventions to improve long-term survival.
Keyword Social network
All-cause mortality
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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