Examining Between-Group Differences in Social Network Density and High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein in Older Adults: Implications for the Hispanic Mortality Paradox

Melissa Flores, Riley M. O'Neill, Savannah M. Boyd, Bert N. Uchino, John M. Ruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective Hispanic/Latino(x) and African American/Black older adults experience disproportionate cardiometabolic disease burdens when compared with their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Sources of resilience such as social networks have been found to mitigate the risk of this disease and its end points like high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). However, little is known about the social network infrastructure among these groups. Moreover, existing work has largely ignored the degree to which members of one's network are connected to one another (network density), which may be important for navigating structural barriers within interdependent groups. The objective of this study was to understand the association between network density and 5-year hs-CRP (blood spot) and whether this association was moderated by race-ethnicity. Methods A subsample of Hispanic/Latino(x), African American/Black, and non-Hispanic White older adults (N = 1431) from the National Social Life Health and Aging Project was used. Multivariable regression was used to estimate the association between network density and its interaction with race-ethnicity, with hs-CRP 5 years later. Results Although no main effect of network density on 5-year hs-CRP was found, results revealed a significant network density by race-ethnicity interaction (Wald χ2(2, 1242) = 3.31, p =.037). Simple slopes analyses revealed that Hispanic/Latino(x) older adults with high network density had significantly lower hs-CRP levels when compared with their same-ethnic counterparts with low network density (b = -0.73, standard error = 0.31, 95% confidence interval = -1.33 to -0.13, p =.018). Conclusions Results demonstrate population-level differences in social network structure and differential associations of this infrastructure with health. Implications for the Hispanic Mortality Paradox are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Volume85
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African American
  • Hispanic
  • Hispanic Mortality Paradox
  • high-sensitivity C-reactive protein
  • network density
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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