Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social integration improves lung function in elderly

Date:
June 2, 2014
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Social integration impacts pulmonary function in the elderly, researchers have demonstrated for the first time. This study also rebuffs the popular notion that marriage is the only social role required for health benefits. In fact, different social relationships can be substituted for each other and every added social role improves health.

It is well established that being involved in more social roles, such as being married, having close friends, close family members, and belonging to social and religious groups, leads to better mental and physical health. However, why social integration -- the total number of social roles in which a person participates -- influences health and longevity has not been clear.

New research led by Carnegie Mellon University shows for the first time that social integration impacts pulmonary function in the elderly. Lung function, which decreases with age, is an important physiological quality that affects cardiovascular disease, asthma and other lung disorders. Published in the American Psychological Association's Health Psychology journal, this study also rebuffs the popular notion that marriage is the only social role required for health benefits. In fact, different social relationships can be substituted for each other and every added social role improves health.

"We knew that when older adults have friends and family and belong to groups, they have lower mortality rates and less disease and illness risk, but now we can start to understand why that happens," said Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "We also answer critical questions about the importance of marriage for health. It has been suggested that marriage -- and things that typically come with it such as kids and family -- is the only social role that matters. The bottom line is that marriage is not required for better health -- it is the total number of social roles that predicts improved health."

For the study, the research team analyzed data collected from 1,147 healthy adults between the ages of 70 and 79 who participated in the MacArthur Study of Successful Aging. The data included a measure of the participants' social roles and assessed their pulmonary function according to peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR).

They found that the more social roles people engaged in, the better their lung function. While analysis of specific social roles indicated that marriage was the strongest positive connection to lung function, greater numbers of roles also were associated with better lung function even in those who were not married. Being a relative or a friend were also individually linked to improved lung function, but more social roles also were associated with better lung function independent of being a relative or a friend.

"Older people need to get out because any sort of social interaction will improve their health," said Crista Crittenden, visiting assistant professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon in Qatar and the study's lead author. "I am really interested in how social and psychological factors influence lung health, and not only have we shown that more social roles, like being married or having friends, improve lung function, we found a link between more social roles and increased happiness and physical activity that could also help with lung function and overall health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Crista N. Crittenden, Sarah D. Pressman, Sheldon Cohen, Denise Janicki-Deverts, Bruce W. Smith, Teresa E. Seeman. Social integration and pulmonary function in the elderly.. Health Psychology, 2014; 33 (6): 535 DOI: 10.1037/hea0000029

Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Social integration improves lung function in elderly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602155903.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2014, June 2). Social integration improves lung function in elderly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602155903.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Social integration improves lung function in elderly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602155903.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins