Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
Diverse social contacts are generally associated with better health. However, diverse contacts can increase exposure to infectious agents. This should increase risk for disease, particularly among those whose host resistance is otherwise compromised (e.g., stressed individuals). In this prospective study, healthy college students who completed questionnaires assessing social network diversity and stressful life events were subsequently interviewed weekly for 12 weeks to track incidence of upper respiratory infections (URIs). URI episodes were defined by a symptom criterion and by clinically verified self-reported illness. Stress and diversity of social contacts interacted; diversity was associated with more illnesses among those with more stressful life events and slightly fewer illnesses among those with fewer stressful life events. Associations remained after controlling for neuroticism.
Health Psychology, 21, 3, 294-298.