Low socio-economiceconomic position is associated with poor social networks and social
support: results from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study
Simone Weyers1§, Nico Dragano1, Susanne Möbus 2, Eva-Maria Beck 2 , Andreas
Stang 4, Stephan Möhlenkamp3 , Karl Heinz Jöckel 2 , Raimund Erbel3, Johannes Siegrist1
1 Department of Medical Sociology, University Duesseldorf, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Duesseldorf, Universitätsstrasse 1,
2 Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology,
4 Institute of Medical Epidemiology, Biometry and Informatics, Medical Faculty,Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg,
International Journal for Equity in Health – May 2008, 7:13
Background Social networks and social support are supposed to contribute to the development of unequal health within populations. However, little is known about their socio-economic distribution. In this study, we explore this distribution.
Methods This study analyses the association of two indicators of socio-economic position, education and income, with different measures of social networks and support. Cross-sectional data have been derived from the baseline examination of an epidemiological cohort study of 4.814 middle aged urban inhabitants in
Results Socially disadvantaged persons more often report poor social networks and social support. In multivariate analyses, based on education, odds ratios range from 1.0 (highest education) to 4.9 (lowest education) in a graded way. Findings based on income show similar effects, ranging from 1.0 to 2.5. There is one exception: no association of SEP with close ties living nearby and regularly seen was observed.
Conclusion Poor social networks and low social support are more frequent among socio-economically disadvantaged people. To some extent, this finding varies according to the indicator chosen to measure these social constructs.
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