IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social isolation, C-reactive protein, and coronary heart disease mortality among community-dwelling adults


  • Heffner, Kathi L.
  • Waring, Molly E.
  • Roberts, Mary B.
  • Eaton, Charles B.
  • Gramling, Robert


Social isolation confers increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) events and mortality. In two recent studies, low levels of social integration among older adults were related to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, suggesting a possible biological link between social isolation and CHD. The current study examined relationships among social isolation, CRP, and 15-year CHD death in a community sample of US adults aged 40 years and older without a prior history of myocardial infarction. A nested case-cohort study was conducted from a parent cohort of community-dwelling adults from the southeastern New England region of the United States (N = 2321) who were interviewed in 1989 and 1990. CRP levels were measured from stored sera provided by the nested case-cohort (n = 370), which included all cases of CHD death observed through 2005 (n = 48), and a random sample of non-cases. We found that the most socially isolated individuals had two-and-a-half times the odds of elevated CRP levels compared to the most socially integrated. In separate logistic regression models, both social isolation and CRP predicted later CHD death. The most socially isolated continued to have more than twice the odds of CHD death compared to the most socially integrated in a model adjusting for CRP and more traditional CHD risk factors. The current findings support social isolation as an independent risk factor of both high levels of CRP and CHD death in middle-aged adults without a prior history of myocardial infarction. Prospective study of inflammatory pathways related to social isolation and mortality are needed to fully delineate whether and how CRP or other inflammatory markers contribute to mechanisms linking social isolation to CVD health.

Suggested Citation

  • Heffner, Kathi L. & Waring, Molly E. & Roberts, Mary B. & Eaton, Charles B. & Gramling, Robert, 2011. "Social isolation, C-reactive protein, and coronary heart disease mortality among community-dwelling adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(9), pages 1482-1488, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:9:p:1482-1488

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berkman, Lisa F. & Glass, Thomas & Brissette, Ian & Seeman, Teresa E., 2000. "From social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 843-857, September.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1989:79:3:340-349_6 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Yang Claire & Schorpp, Kristen & Harris, Kathleen Mullan, 2014. "Social support, social strain and inflammation: Evidence from a national longitudinal study of U.S. adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 124-135.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:9:p:1482-1488. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.