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Characteristics of Social Networks and Mortality Risk: Evidence From Two Prospective Cohort Studies

Kauppi, M; Kawachi, I; Batty, GD; Oksanen, T; Elovainio, M; Pentti, J; Aalto, V; ... Kivimäki, M; + view all (2018) Characteristics of Social Networks and Mortality Risk: Evidence From Two Prospective Cohort Studies. American Journal Of Epidemiology , 187 (4) pp. 746-753. 10.1093/aje/kwx301. Green open access

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Abstract

The size of social network is linked to health and longevity, but it is unclear whether the number of strong or weak social ties is most influential for health. We examined social network characteristics as predictors of mortality in the Finnish Public Sector (n = 7,617) and the Health and Social Support (n = 20,816) studies. Social network characteristics were surveyed at baseline in 1998. Information about mortality was obtained from the national death registry. During a mean follow-up of 16 years participants with a small social network (≤10 members) were more likely to die than those with a large social network (≥21 members) (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.23, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.46). Mortality risk was increased among participants with small number of both strong (≤2 members) and weak ties (≤5 members) (hazard ratio = 1.55, 95% confidence interval: 1.26, 1.79), and among those with large number of strong ties and small number of weak ties (hazard ratio = 1.28, 95% confidence interval: 1.08, 1.52), but not among those with small number of strong ties and large number of weak ties (HR = 1.04, 95%CI: 0.87, 1.25). These findings suggest that in terms of mortality risk the number of weak ties may be an important component of social networks.

Type: Article
Title: Characteristics of Social Networks and Mortality Risk: Evidence From Two Prospective Cohort Studies
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwx301
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwx301
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cohort study, interpersonal relations, longitudinal studies, mortality, social networks
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025112
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