House 1998 - "Social Relationships and Health"

House, Landis, Umberson
"Social Relationships and Health"
July 29, 1988; v241 n4865, pp 540-545
Relevance: Medium

This is essentially a review of the primary studies relating social connections to health. Because the article is now 7 years old it fails to mention any of Kawachi's studies, which are arguably some of the most compelling pieces of evidence for believing that there is a link. Still, while the article is largely confined to summarizing the findings of studies that we are familiar with (Alameda County, CA; Evans County, GA; Tecumseh, MI; Gothenberg, Sweden; eastern Finland, etc), it does make at least two  interesting points that are worth attending to.

"Social relationships, or the relative lack thereof, constitute a major risk factor for health--rivaling the effects of well-established health risk factors such as cigarette smoking, blood pressure, blood lipids, obesity, and physical activity."

"In Tecumseh, Evans County, and eastern Finland, mortality is clearly elevated among the most socially isolated, but declines only modestly, if at all, between moderate and high levels of social integration."


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