Social integration in adolescence and physiological dysregulation in young adulthood


Gerken, Karen; Harris, Kathleen Mullan; & Yang, Yang Claire (2014). Social integration in adolescence and physiological dysregulation in young adulthood. 2014 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


A large literature has found that social ties, embeddedness in social networks, and engagement in social life improves physical health; whereas social isolation and lack of social connections is harmful for health. Most of this research, however, has focused on older and/or aging populations, with little attention to the early stage of the life course. We investigate how social integration and isolation in adolescence may have long lasting effects on physiological dysregulation in young adulthood, as indicated by objective biomarker measures of cardiovascular and immune functions including inflammation and blood pressure. We use longitudinal data from Add Health and measure social integration in the multiple contexts of adolescent life: family, peers, school and community contexts. Preliminary findings support our hypothesis that greater social integration and less social isolation in adolescence is associated with better health, or lower levels of CRP and blood pressure in young adulthood. We explore a number of mechanisms to explain this relationship, including connectedness across the life course, health behaviors and psychosocial resources.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2014 Add Health Users Conference


Gerken, Karen
Harris, Kathleen Mullan
Yang, Yang Claire

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID