Social support may function as a resilience factor against the long-term cardiovascular risk associated with depression, a recent study found. Researchers assessed whether social support moderates the long-term risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) associated with this disorder. Data were drawn from the Americans’ Changing Lives study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of adults in the US. Participants (n=1,636) completed initial assessments of functional social support, body mass index, recent history of major depression, CHD, hypertension, and diabetes. They were reassessed for CHD 13 years later. Researchers found:
- Social support was found to moderate the relationship between depression and the occurrence of CHD 13 years later.
- Specifically, among individuals with low social support, depression was prospectively associated with CHD.
- In contrast, depression was not prospectively associated with CHD among individuals with high social support.
Liu RT, Hernandez EM, Trout ZM, Kleiman EM, Bozzay ML. Depression, social support, and long-term risk for coronary heart disease in a 13-year longitudinal epidemiological study. [Published online ahead of print February 5, 2017]. Psychiatry Res. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.02.010.