Kamiya, Yumiko, Whelan, Brendan, Timonen, Virpi and Kenny, Rose Anne, The differential impact of subjective and objective aspects of social engagement on cardiovascular risk factors, BMC Geriatrics, 10, 81, 2010
BMC Geriatrics 10 81
Background: This article provides new insights into the impact of social engagement on CVD risk factors in older
adults. We hypothesized that objective (social participation, social ties and marital status) and subjective (emotional
support) aspects of social engagement are independently associated with objective measures of cardiovascular risk.
Methods: Data from the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA) were analyzed. The effects of social
participation, social ties, marital status, and emotional support on hypertension, obesity, high sensitivity C-reactive
protein, and fibrinogen were estimated by logistic regression controlling for age, sex, education, physical function,
depression, cardiovascular disease, other chronic diseases, physical activity, and smoking.
Results: Social participation is a consistent predictor of low risk for four risk factors, even after controlling for a
wide range of covariates. Being married is associated with lower risk for hypertension. Social ties and emotional
support are not significantly associated with any of the cardiovascular risk factors.
Conclusion: Our analysis suggests that participation in social activities has a stronger association with CV risk
factors than marital status, social ties or emotional support. Different forms of social engagement may therefore
have different implications for the biological risk factors involved.
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