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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2014 Aug;68(8):720-7. doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-203675. Epub 2014 May 8.

Stressful social relations and mortality: a prospective cohort study.

Author information

1
Section of Social Medicine, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
2
Section of Social Medicine, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
3
Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Denmark Section of Health Services Research, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few studies have examined the relationship between stressful social relations in private life and all-cause mortality.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the association between stressful social relations (with partner, children, other family, friends and neighbours, respectively) and all-cause mortality in a large population-based study of middle-aged men and women. Further, to investigate the possible modification of this association by labour force participation and gender.

METHODS:

We used baseline data (2000) from The Danish Longitudinal Study on Work, Unemployment and Health, including 9875 men and women aged 36-52 years, linked to the Danish Cause of Death Registry for information on all-cause mortality until 31 December 2011. Associations between stressful social relations with partner, children, other family, friends and neighbours, respectively, and all-cause mortality were examined using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age, gender, cohabitation status, occupational social class, hospitalisation with chronic disorder 1980-baseline, depressive symptoms and perceived emotional support. Modification by gender and labour force participation was investigated by an additive hazards model.

RESULTS:

Frequent worries/demands from partner or children were associated with 50-100% increased mortality risk. Frequent conflicts with any type of social relation were associated with 2-3 times increased mortality risk. Interaction between labour force participation and worries/demands (462 additional cases per 100,000 person-years, p=0.05) and conflicts with partner (830 additional cases per 100,000 person-years, p<0.01) was suggested. Being male and experiencing frequent worries/demands from partner produced 135 extra cases per 100,000 person-years, p=0.05 due to interaction.

CONCLUSIONS:

Stressful social relations are associated with increased mortality risk among middle-aged men and women for a variety of different social roles. Those outside the labour force and men seem especially vulnerable to exposure.

KEYWORDS:

Cohort studies; MORTALITY; SOCIAL EPIDEMIOLOGY

PMID:
24811775
DOI:
10.1136/jech-2013-203675
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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