Skip to main content

Social Ties, Health and Wellbeing: A Literature Review and Model

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Neuroscience and Social Science

Abstract

Humanity is facing an increasing burden of chronic disease and an ageing population that will lead to more years lived with disability. Dealing with these issues is difficult, especially if we consider the deterioration of social ties and the decline in social connectedness, which may also impact on health and wellbeing. However, research on the association between social ties and health outcomes has been characterized by conceptual difficulties, controversy and simplistic models. Here, we (1) review the literature on the associations between social ties and health outcomes, (2) identify various mechanisms through which these associations may arise and (3) propose a model on which future research activity could be based. We observe that social ties are an important contributor to health outcomes that may rival the effects of many traditional risk factors including smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity. A complex network of behavioural, psychological and physiological mechanisms drives the health of individuals, and sociostructural factors will either facilitate or impede desired health outcomes within community ecosystems. The GENIAL [genomics-environment-vagus nerve-social interaction-allostatic regulation-longevity] model is proposed, and important mediators and moderators are characterized along a pathway to wellbeing and longevity. A major regulatory role is given to the vagus nerve—indexed by heart rate variability—as it is responsible for a host of psychological and physiological processes that influence social ties, subsequent health and wellbeing. Future research needs to move beyond the disciplinary dilemma, initiate multidisciplinary exchange and facilitate new lines of interdisciplinary enquiry. We further argue that extending beyond the self by focusing on relationships with others and our connections to the environment will aid a much-needed transition to a more caring and understanding world.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 129.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  1. Cohen S. Social relationships and health. Am Psychol. 2004;59(8):676–84.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Berkman LF, Glass T, Brissette I, Seeman TE. From social integration to health: Durkheim in the new millennium. Soc Sci Med. 2000;51(6):843–57.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Diener E. Subjective well-being. Psychol Bull. 1984;95(3):542–75.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Seligman M. Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York: Simon and Schuster; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Ryff CD. Psychological well-being revisited: advances in the science and practice of eudaimonia. Psychother Psychosom. 2014;83(1):10–28.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Friedman HS, Kern ML. Personality, well-being, and health. Annu Rev Psychol. 2014;65(1):719–42.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Ford BQ, Shallcross AJ, Mauss IB, Floerke VA, Gruber J. Desperately seeking happiness: valuing happiness is associated with symptoms and diagnosis of depression. J Soc Clin Psychol. 2014;33(10):890–905.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. Mauss IB, Tamir M, Anderson CL, Savino NS. Can seeking happiness make people unhappy? Paradoxical effects of valuing happiness. Emotion. 2011;11(4):807–15.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  9. Forgas JP. Don’t worry, be sad! On the cognitive, motivational, and interpersonal benefits of negative mood. Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2013;22(3):225–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Kashdan T, Biswas-Diener R. The upside of your dark side: why being your whole self–not just your “good” self–drives success and fulfillment. New York: Plume Books; 2015. p. 1.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Kashdan T, Rottenberg J. Psychological flexibility as a fundamental aspect of health. Clin Psychol Rev. 2010;30(7):865–78.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  12. Fredrickson BL, Losada MF. Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. Am Psychol. 2005;60(7):678–86.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  13. Fredrickson BL. Updated thinking on positivity ratios. Am Psychol. 2013;68(9):814–22.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Brown NJL, Sokal AD, Friedman HL. The complex dynamics of wishful thinking: the critical positivity ratio. Am Psychol. 2013;68(9):801–13.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Brown NJL, Sokal AD, Friedman HL. The persistence of wishful thinking. Am Psychol. 2014;69(6):629–32.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Quinn C, Harris A, Kemp AH. The interdependence of subtype and severity: contributions of clinical and neuropsychological features to melancholia and non-melancholia in an outpatient sample. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2012;18(2):361–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Quinn CR, Harris A, Felmingham K, Boyce P, Kemp AH. The impact of depression heterogeneity on cognitive control in major depressive disorder. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2012;46(11):1079–88.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Robinson D. Aristotle’s psychology. New York: Columbia University Press; 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Ryan RM, Deci EL. On happiness and human potentials: a review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annu Rev Psychol. 2001;52(1):141–66.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Liu B, Floud S, Pirie K, Green J, Peto R, Beral V, et al. Does happiness itself directly affect mortality? The prospective UK million women study. Lancet. 2016;387(10021):874–81.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  21. Ryff CD, Singer BH, Dienberg Love G. Positive health: connecting well-being with biology. Philos Trans R Soc B. 2004;359(1449):1383–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Fredrickson BL, Grewen KM, Coffey KA, Algoe SB, Firestine AM, Arevalo JMG, et al. A functional genomic perspective on human well-being. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2013;110(33):13684–9.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  23. Fredrickson BL, Grewen KM, Algoe SB, Firestine AM, Arevalo JMG, Ma J, et al. Psychological well-being and the human conserved transcriptional response to adversity. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(3):e0121839.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  24. Disabato DJ, Goodman FR, Kashdan TB, Short JL, Jarden A. Different types of well-being? A cross-cultural examination of hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Psychol Assess. 2016;28(5):471–82.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Kok BE, Coffey KA, Cohn MA, Catalino LI, Vacharkulksemsuk T, Algoe SB, et al. How positive emotions build physical health: perceived positive social connections account for the upward spiral between positive emotions and vagal tone. Psychol Sci. 2013;24(7):1123–32.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Coyne JC. Highly correlated hedonic and eudaimonic well-being thwart genomic analysis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(45):E4183.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  27. Brown N, Lomas T, Eiroá-Orosa FJ. The Routledge international handbook of critical positive psychology. London: Routledge; 2017.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Dubois CM, Beach SR, Kashdan TB, Nyer MB, Park ER, Celano CM, et al. Positive psychological attributes and cardiac outcomes: associations, mechanisms, and interventions. Psychosomatics. 2012;53(4):303–18.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Boehm JK, Kubzansky LD. The heart’s content: the association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health. Psychol Bull. 2012;138(4):655–91.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Kok BE, Fredrickson BL. Upward spirals of the heart: autonomic flexibility, as indexed by vagal tone, reciprocally and prospectively predicts positive emotions and social connectedness. Biol Psychol. 2010;85(3):432–6.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  31. Steptoe A, Deaton A, Stone AA. Subjective wellbeing, health, and ageing. Lancet. 2015;385(9968):640–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Kern ML, Porta Della SS, Friedman HS. Lifelong pathways to longevity: personality, relationships, flourishing, and health. J Pers. 2013;82(6):472–84.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Martin LR, Friedman HS, Tucker JS, Tomlinson-Keasey C, Criqui MH, Schwartz JE. A life course perspective on childhood cheerfulness and its relation to mortality risk. Personal Soc Psychol Bull. 2002;28(9):1155–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Shakya HB, Christakis NA. Association of facebook use with compromised well-being: a longitudinal study. Am J Epidemiol. 2017;185(3):203–11.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. McDool E, Powell P, Roberts J, Taylor K. Social media use and children’s wellbeing: IZA DP No. 10412. IZA Institute of Labor Economics; 2016.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Kross E, Verduyn P, Demiralp E, Park J, Lee DS, Lin N, et al. Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(8):e69841.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  37. Valtorta NK, Kanaan M, Gilbody S, Ronzi S, Hanratty B. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studies. Heart. 2016;102(13):1009–16.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  38. Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB. Social relationships and mortality risk: a meta-analytic review. PLoS Med. 2010;7(7):e1000316.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  39. Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Baker M, Harris T, Stephenson D. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015;10(2):227–37.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Yang YC, Boen C, Gerken K, Li T, Schorpp K, Harris KM. Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2016;113(3):578–83.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  41. Steptoe A, Shankar A, Demakakos P, Wardle J. Social isolation, loneliness, and all-cause mortality in older men and women. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2013;110(15):5797–801.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  42. Luo Y, Hawkley LC, Waite LJ, Cacioppo JT. Loneliness, health, and mortality in old age: a national longitudinal study. Soc Sci Med. 2012;74(6):907–14.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  43. Hodge AM, English DR, Giles GG, Flicker L. Social connectedness and predictors of successful ageing. Maturitas. 2013;75(4):361–6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Christakis NA, Fowler JH. The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(4):370–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Bandura A. Health promotion by social cognitive means. Health Educ Behav. 2004;31(2):143–64.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Umberson D, Crosnoe R, Reczek C. Social relationships and health behavior across the life course. Annu Rev Sociol. 2010;36(1):139–57.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  47. Friedman HS, Martin LR. The longevity project: surprising discoveries for health and long life from the landmark eight decade study. New York: Hudson Street Press; 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Maunder R, Hunter J. Love, fear, and health: how our attachments to others shape health and health care. Toronto: University of Toronto Press; 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Uchino BN, Bowen K, Carlisle M, Birmingham W. Psychological pathways linking social support to health outcomes: a visit with the “ghosts” of research past, present, and future. Soc Sci Med. 2012;74(7):949–57.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  50. Hernandez LM, Blazer DG. The impact of social and cultural environment on health. In: Hernandez LM, Blazer DG, editors. Genes, behavior and the social environment: moving beyond the nature/nurture debate. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2006.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Wilson SM. An ecologic framework to study and address environmental justice and community health issues. Environ Justice. 2009;2(1):15–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Tay L, Tan K, Diener E, Gonzalez E. Social relations, health behaviors, and health outcomes: a survey and synthesis. Appl Psychol Health Well Being. 2012;5(1):28–78.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  53. Uchino BN. Social support and health: a review of physiological processes potentially underlying links to disease outcomes. J Behav Med. 2006;29(4):377–87.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  54. Durkheim E. Suicide: a study in sociology. Glencoe: Free Press; 1897. p. 1–427.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Eriksson M. Social capital and health – implications for health promotion. Glob Health Action. 2011;4(1):5611.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  56. Bogg T, Roberts BW. Conscientiousness and health-related behaviors: a meta-analysis of the leading behavioral contributors to mortality. Psychol Bull. 2004;130(6):887–919.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  57. Steel P, Schmidt J, Shultz J. Refining the relationship between personality and subjective well-being. Psychol Bull. 2008;134(1):138–61.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  58. Jokela M, Batty GD, Nyberg ST, Virtanen M, Nabi H, Singh-Manoux A, et al. Personality and all-cause mortality: individual-participant meta-analysis of 3,947 deaths in 76,150 adults. Am J Epidemiol. 2013;178(5):667–75.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  59. Mikulincer M, Shaver PR. Attachment in adulthood: structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Publications; 2007.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Puig J, Englund MM, Simpson JA, Collins WA. Predicting adult physical illness from infant attachment: a prospective longitudinal study. Health Psychol. 2013;32(4):409–17.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  61. Bowlby J. Attachment and loss. 3. Loss. New York: Basic Books; 1980.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Bowlby J. Attachment and loss. 1. Attachment. New York: Basic Books; 1969.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Bowlby E. Attachment and Loss. 2. Separation: anger and anxiety. New York: Basic Books; 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Vrtička P. The social neuroscience of attachment. In: Ibáñez A, Sedeño L, García AM, editors. Neuroscience and social science. New York: Springer; 2017.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Niedenthal PM, Brauer M, Robin L, Innes-Ker ÅH. Adult attachment and the perception of facial expression of emotion. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002;82(3):419–33.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  66. Lazarus R, Folkman S. Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer; 1984.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Keller A, Litzelman K, Wisk LE, Maddox T, Cheng ER, Creswell PD, et al. Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychol. 2012;31(5):677–84.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  68. Sheinbaum T, Kwapil TR, Ballespí S, Mitjavila M, Chun CA, Silvia PJ, et al. Attachment style predicts affect, cognitive appraisals, and social functioning in daily life. Front Psychol. 2015;6:296.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  69. Lund R, Christensen U, Nilsson CJ, Kriegbaum M, Hulvej Rod N. Stressful social relations and mortality: a prospective cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2014;68(8):720–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  70. Russ TC, Stamatakis E, Hamer M, Starr JM, Kivimaki M, Batty GD. Association between psychological distress and mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 10 prospective cohort studies. BMJ. 2012;345:e4933.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  71. Penwell LM, Larkin KT. Social support and risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer: a qualitative review examining the role of inflammatory processes. Health Psychol Rev. 2010;4(1):42–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Cacioppo JT, Hawkley LC. Social isolation and health, with an emphasis on underlying mechanisms. Perspect Biol Med. 2003;46(3):S39–52.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  73. Sgoifo A, Koolhaas J, De Boer S, Musso E, Stilli D, Buwalda B, et al. Social stress, autonomic neural activation, and cardiac activity in rats. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1999;23(7):915–23.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  74. Sgoifo A, Carnevali L, Grippo AJ. The socially stressed heart. Insights from studies in rodents. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013;39:51–60.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  75. Costoli T, Bartolomucci A, Graiani G, Stilli D, Laviola G, Sgoifo A. Effects of chronic psychosocial stress on cardiac autonomic responsiveness and myocardial structure in mice. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2004;286(6):H2133–40.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  76. McEwen BS. Stress, adaptation, and disease: allostasis and allostatic load. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1998;840(1):33–44.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  77. Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Skoner DP, Rabin BS. Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold. JAMA. 1997;277:1940–4.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  78. Steptoe A, Dockray S, Wardle J. Positive affect and psychobiological processes relevant to health. J Pers. 2009;77(6):1747–76.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  79. Porges SW. Orienting in a defensive world: mammalian modifications of our evolutionary heritage. A polyvagal theory. Psychophysiology. 1995;32(4):301–18.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  80. Porges SW. The polyvagal theory: phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system. Int J Psychophysiol. 2001;42(2):123–46.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  81. Porges SW. Social engagement and attachment: a phylogenetic perspective. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003;1008:31–47.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  82. Porges SW. The polyvagal theory: neurophysiological foundations of emotions, attachment, communication, and self-regulation. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2011.

    Google Scholar 

  83. Thayer J, Lane RD. Claude Bernard and the heart-brain connection: further elaboration of a model of neurovisceral integration. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2009;33(2):81–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  84. Thayer J, Hansen AL, Saus-Rose E, Johnsen BH. Heart rate variability, prefrontal neural function, and cognitive performance: the neurovisceral integration perspective on self-regulation, adaptation, and health. Ann Behav Med. 2009;37(2):141–53.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  85. Thayer J, Ahs F, Fredrikson M, Sollers Iii JJ, Wager TD. A meta-analysis of heart rate variability and neuroimaging studies: implications for heart rate variability as a marker of stress and health. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012;36(2):747–56.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  86. Smith R, Thayer J, Khalsa SS, Lane RD. The hierarchical basis of neurovisceral integration. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017;75:274–96.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  87. Mesulam MM. From sensation to cognition. Brain. 1998;121(Pt 6):1013–52.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  88. Vrtička P, Vuilleumier P. Neuroscience of human social interactions and adult attachment style. Front Hum Neurosci. 2012;6:212.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  89. Lieberman MD. Social cognitive neuroscience: a review of core processes. Annu Rev Psychol. 2007;58(1):259–89.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  90. Fonagy P, Luyten P, Strathearn L. Borderline personality disorder, mentalization, and the neurobiology of attachment. Infant Ment Health J. 2011;32(1):47–69.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  91. Diamond LM. Attachment style, current relationship security, and negative emotions: the mediating role of physiological regulation. J Soc Pers Relat. 2005;22(4):499–518.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  92. Chunchai T, Samniang B, Sripetchwandee J, Pintana H, Pongkan W, Kumfu S, et al. Vagus nerve stimulation exerts the neuroprotective effects in obese-insulin resistant rats, leading to the improvement of cognitive function. Sci Rep. 2016;6(1):26866.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  93. Samniang B, Shinlapawittayatorn K, Chunchai T, Pongkan W, Kumfu S, Chattipakorn SC, et al. Vagus nerve stimulation improves cardiac function by preventing mitochondrial dysfunction in obese-insulin resistant rats. Sci Rep. 2016;6(1):19749.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  94. Jarczok MN, Koenig J, Mauss D, Fischer JE, Thayer J. Lower heart rate variability predicts increased level of C-reactive protein 4 years later in healthy, nonsmoking adults. J Intern Med. 2014;276(6):667–71.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  95. Kemp AH, López SR, Passos VMA, Bittencourt MS, Dantas EM, Mill JG, et al. Insulin resistance and carotid intima-media thickness mediate the association between resting-state heart rate variability and executive function: a path modelling study. Biol Psychol. 2016;117:216–24.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  96. Meyer-Lindenberg A, Tost H. Neural mechanisms of social risk for psychiatric disorders. Nat Neurosci. 2012;15(5):663–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  97. Kumsta R, Heinrichs M. Oxytocin, stress and social behavior: neurogenetics of the human oxytocin system. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2013;23(1):11–6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  98. Kogan A, Saslow LR, Impett EA, Oveis C, Keltner D, Rodrigues Saturn S. Thin-slicing study of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene and the evaluation and expression of the prosocial disposition. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2011;108(48):19189–92.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  99. Bakermans-Kranenburg MJ, van Ijzendoorn MH. Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and serotonin transporter (5-HTT) genes associated with observed parenting. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2008;3(2):128–34.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  100. Rodrigues SM, Saslow LR, Garcia N, John OP, Keltner D. Oxytocin receptor genetic variation relates to empathy and stress reactivity in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2009;106(50):21437–41.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  101. Lucht MJ, Barnow S, Sonnenfeld C, Rosenberger A, Grabe HJ, Schroeder W, et al. Associations between the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and affect, loneliness and intelligence in normal subjects. Prog Neuro-Psychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2009;33(5):860–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  102. Kanthak MK, Chen FS, Kumsta R, Hill LK, Thayer J, Heinrichs M. Oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism modulates the effects of social support on heart rate variability. Biol Psychol. 2016;117:43–9.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  103. Pearce E, Wlodarski R, Machin A, Dunbar RIM. Variation in the β-endorphin, oxytocin, and dopamine receptor genes is associated with different dimensions of human sociality. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017;8:201700712.

    Google Scholar 

  104. Dunbar RIM, Baron R, Frangou A, Pearce E, van Leeuwen EJC, Stow J, et al. Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold. Proc Biol Sci. 2012;279(1731):1161–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  105. Weinstein D, Launay J, Pearce E, Dunbar RIM, Stewart L. Group music performance causes elevated pain thresholds and social bonding in small and large groups of singers. Evol Hum Behav. 2016;37(2):152–8.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  106. Nummenmaa L, Tuominen L, Dunbar R, Hirvonen J, Manninen S, Arponen E, et al. Social touch modulates endogenous μ-opioid system activity in humans. NeuroImage. 2016;138:242–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  107. Weaver ICG, Cervoni N, Champagne FA, D’alessio AC, Sharma S, Seckl JR, et al. Epigenetic programming by maternal behavior. Nat Neurosci. 2004;7(8):847–54.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  108. King S, Dancause K, Turcotte-Tremblay A-M, Veru F, Laplante DP. Using natural disasters to study the effects of prenatal maternal stress on child health and development. Birth Defect Res C. 2013;96(4):273–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  109. Cao-Lei L, Massart R, Suderman MJ, Machnes Z, Elgbeili G, Laplante DP, et al. DNA methylation signatures triggered by prenatal maternal stress exposure to a natural disaster: project ice storm. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(9):e107653.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  110. Grizenko N, Fortier M-È, Gaudreau-Simard M, Jolicoeur C, Joober R. The effect of maternal stress during pregnancy on IQ and ADHD symptomatology. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015;24(2):92–9.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  111. Laplante DP, Brunet A, Schmitz N, Ciampi A, King S. Project ice storm: prenatal maternal stress affects cognitive and linguistic functioning in 5 1/2-year-old children. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2008;47(9):1063–72.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  112. Dancause KN, Laplante DP, Fraser S, Brunet A, Ciampi A, Schmitz N, et al. Prenatal exposure to a natural disaster increases risk for obesity in 5½-year-old children. Pediatr Res. 2012;71(1):126–31.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  113. Dancause KN, Veru F, Andersen RE, Laplante DP, King S. Prenatal stress due to a natural disaster predicts insulin secretion in adolescence. Early Hum Dev. 2013;89(9):773–6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  114. Kemp AH, Quintana DS. The relationship between mental and physical health: insights from the study of heart rate variability. Int J Psychophysiol. 2013;89(3):288–96.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  115. Thayer J, Yamamoto SS, Brosschot JF. The relationship of autonomic imbalance, heart rate variability and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Int J Cardiol. 2010;141(2):122–31.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  116. Brosschot JF, Verkuil B, Thayer J. Exposed to events that never happen: generalized unsafety, the default stress response, and prolonged autonomic activity. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017;74(Part B):287–96.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  117. Kemp AH. Heart rate variability, affective disorders and health. In: Baune BT, Tully PJ, editors. Cardiovascular diseases and depression. Cham: Springer; 2016. p. 167–85.

    Google Scholar 

  118. Kok BE, Fredrickson BL. Evidence for the upward spiral stands steady: a response to Heathers, Brown, Coyne, and Friedman (2015). Psychol Sci. 2015;26(7):1144–6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  119. Okbay A, Baselmans BML, De Neve J-E, Turley P, Nivard MG, Fontana MA, et al. Genetic variants associated with subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism identified through genome-wide analyses. Nat Genet. 2016;48(6):624–33.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  120. Cole SW, Hawkley LC, Arevalo JMG, Cacioppo JT. Transcript origin analysis identifies antigen-presenting cells as primary targets of socially regulated gene expression in leukocytes. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2011;108(7):3080–5.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  121. Brown NJL, MacDonald DA, Samanta MP, Friedman HL, Coyne JC. A critical reanalysis of the relationship between genomics and well-being. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2014;111(35):12705–9.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  122. Brown NJL, MacDonald DA, Samanta MP, Friedman HL, Coyne JC. More questions than answers: continued critical reanalysis of Fredrickson et al.’s studies of genomics and well-being. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(6):e0156415.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  123. Fredrickson BL. Selective data analysis in Brown et al.’s continued critical reanalysis. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(8):e0160565.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  124. Pavlov V, Tracey K. The vagus nerve and the inflammatory reflex-linking immunity and metabolism. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2012;8(12):743–54.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  125. Tracey KJ. Physiology and immunology of the cholinergic antiinflammatory pathway. J Clin Invest. 2007;117(2):289–96.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  126. Tracey KJ. The inflammatory reflex. Nature. 2002;420(6917):853–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  127. Kemp AH, Quintana DS, Kuhnert R-L, Griffiths K, Hickie IB, Guastella AJ. Oxytocin increases heart rate variability in humans at rest: implications for social approach-related motivation and capacity for social engagement. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(8):e44014.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  128. Norman GJ, Berntson GG, Cacioppo JT, Morris JS, Malarkey WB, Devries AC. Oxytocin increases autonomic cardiac control: moderation by loneliness. Biol Psychol. 2011;86(3):174–80.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  129. Jandackova VK, Britton A, Malik M, Steptoe A. Heart rate variability and depressive symptoms: a cross-lagged analysis over a 10-year period in the Whitehall II study. Psychol Med. 2016;46(10):2121–31.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  130. Kemp AH, Quintana DS, Gray MA, Felmingham KL, Brown K, Gatt JM. Impact of depression and antidepressant treatment on heart rate variability: a review and meta-analysis. Biol Psychiatry. 2010;67(11):1067–74.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  131. Kemp AH, Brunoni AR, Santos IS, Nunes MA, Dantas EM, Carvalho de Figueiredo R, et al. Effects of depression, anxiety, comorbidity, and antidepressants on resting-state heart rate and its variability: an ELSA-Brasil cohort baseline study. Am J Psychiatr. 2014;171(12):1328–34.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  132. Brunoni AR, Kemp AH, Dantas EM, Goulart AC, Nunes MA, Boggio PS, et al. Heart rate variability is a trait marker of major depressive disorder: evidence from the sertraline vs. electric current therapy to treat depression clinical study. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013;16(9):1937–49.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  133. Kemp AH, Quintana DS, Quinn CR, Hopkinson P, Harris AWF. Major depressive disorder with melancholia displays robust alterations in resting state heart rate and its variability: implications for future morbidity and mortality. Front Psychol. 2014;5:1387.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  134. Berthoud H-R. The vagus nerve, food intake and obesity. Regul Pept. 2008;149(1–3):15–25.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  135. Tracey KJ, Pavlov VA. The vagus nerve and the inflammatory reflex–linking immunity and metabolism. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2012;8(12):743–54.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  136. Follesa P, Biggio F, Gorini G, Caria S, Talani G, Dazzi L, et al. Vagus nerve stimulation increases norepinephrine concentration and the gene expression of BDNF and bFGF in the rat brain. Brain Res. 2007;1179:28–34.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  137. Biggio F, Gorini G, Utzeri C, Olla P, Marrosu F, Mocchetti I, et al. Chronic vagus nerve stimulation induces neuronal plasticity in the rat hippocampus. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009;12(9):1209.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  138. Gomez-Pinilla F. The influences of diet and exercise on mental health through hormesis. Ageing Res Rev. 2008;7(1):49–62.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  139. Groves DA, Brown VJ. Vagal nerve stimulation: a review of its applications and potential mechanisms that mediate its clinical effects. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2005;29(3):493–500.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  140. Vonck K, Raedt R, Naulaerts J, De Vogelaere F, Thiery E, Van Roost D, et al. Vagus nerve stimulation…25 years later! What do we know about the effects on cognition? Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014;45:63–71.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  141. Stilling RM, Dinan TG, Cryan JF. Microbial genes, brain & behaviour-epigenetic regulation of the gut-brain axis. Genes Brain Behav. 2013;13(1):69–86.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  142. Bravo JA, Forsythe P, Chew MV, Escaravage E, Savignac HM, Dinan TG, et al. Ingestion of lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011;108(38):16050–5.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  143. Carter JB, Banister EW, Blaber AP. Effect of endurance exercise on autonomic control of heart rate. Sports Med. 2003;33(1):33–46.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  144. Ling C, Rönn T. Epigenetic adaptation to regular exercise in humans. Drug Discov Today. 2014;19(7):1015–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  145. Thayer J, Sternberg E. Beyond heart rate variability: vagal regulation of allostatic systems. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006;1088(1):361–72.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  146. Huston JM, Tracey KJ. The pulse of inflammation: heart rate variability, the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway and implications for therapy. J Intern Med. 2010;269(1):45–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  147. Thayer J, Lane RD. The role of vagal function in the risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality. Biol Psychol. 2007;74(2):224–42.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  148. Thayer J, Loerbroks A, Sternberg EM. Inflammation and cardiorespiratory control: the role of the vagus nerve. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2011;178(3):387–94.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  149. Barberis SD, et al. A pluralist framework for the philosophy of social neuroscience. In: Ibáñez A, Sedeño L, García AM, editors. Neuroscience and social science. New York: Springer; 2017.

    Google Scholar 

  150. Fredrickson BL, Grewen KM. A functional genomic perspective on human well-being. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110:13684–9.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  151. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, McGuire L, Robles TF, Glaser R. Emotions, morbidity, and mortality: new perspectives from psychoneuroimmunology. Annu Rev Psychol. 2002;53(1):83–107.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  152. Stapelberg NJ, Neumann DL, Shum DHK, McConnell H, Hamilton-Craig I. A topographical map of the causal network of mechanisms underlying the relationship between major depressive disorder and coronary heart disease. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2011;45(5):351–69.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  153. Box G, Draper NR. Empirical model-building and response surfaces. New York: Wiley; 1987.

    Google Scholar 

  154. Twenge JM, Foster JD. Birth cohort increases in narcissistic personality traits among American college students, 1982–2009. Soc Psychol Personal Sci. 2010;1(1):99–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  155. Statistical bulletin: families and households in the UK; 2016. www.ons.gov.uk.

  156. Vespa J, Lewis JM, Kreider RM. America’s families and living arrangements: 2012 [Internet]. census.gov; 2013 [cited 2017 Apr 25]. https://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-570.pdf.

  157. Siegler V. Measuring national well-being-an analysis of social capital in the UK. Office of National Statistics; 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  158. Beutel ME, Klein EM, Brähler E, Reiner I, Jünger C, Michal M, et al. Loneliness in the general population: prevalence, determinants and relations to mental health. BMC Psychiatry. 2017;17(1):97.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  159. Lau J. Social intelligence and the next generation. London: National Service Citizen; 2016.

    Google Scholar 

  160. Jackson J, Cochran SD. Loneliness and psychological distress. J Psychol. 1991;125(3):257–62.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  161. Cacioppo JT, Hughes ME, Waite LJ, Hawkley LC, Thisted RA. Loneliness as a specific risk factor for depressive symptoms: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Psychol Aging. 2006;21(1):140–51.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  162. Chesney E, Goodwin GM, Fazel S. Risks of all-cause and suicide mortality in mental disorders: a meta-review. World Psychiatry. 2014;13(2):153–60.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  163. Mental Health Foundation. The fundamental facts about mental illness. London: Mental Health Foundation; 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  164. Bloom DE, Cafiero E, Jané-Llopis E, Abrahams-Gessel S, Bloom LR, Fathima S, et al. The global economic burden of noncommunicable diseases. PGDA working papers. Program on the global demography of aging; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  165. OECD. Mental health and work: United Kingdom. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2014.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  166. Patel V, Maj M, Flisher AJ, De Silva MJ, Koschorke M, Prince M, et al. Reducing the treatment gap for mental disorders: a WPA survey. World Psychiatry. 2010;9(3):169–76.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  167. Wang PS, Berglund PA, Olfson M, Kessler RC. Delays in initial treatment contact after first onset of a mental disorder. Health Serv Res. 2004;39(2):393–416.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  168. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Quality of Health Care in America. Crossing the quality chasm: a new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  169. Nesse RM. Natural selection and the elusiveness of happiness. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B. 2004;359(1449):1333–47. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693419/pdf/15347525.pdf

    Article  Google Scholar 

  170. Gable SL, Haidt J. What (and why) is positive psychology? Rev Gen Psychol. 2005;9(2):103–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  171. Sheldon KM, King L. Why positive psychology is necessary. Am Psychol. 2001;56(3):216–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  172. Lyubomirsky S, Sheldon K, Schkade D. Pursuing happiness: the architecture of sustainable change. Rev Gen. 2005;9:111–31.

    Google Scholar 

  173. Parks AC, Biswas-Diener R. Positive interventions: past, present and future. In: Mindfulness, acceptance, and positive psychology. Oakland: Context Press; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  174. Bragg R, Leck C. Good practice in social prescribing for mental health: The role of nature-based interventions. Natural England Commissioned Reports; 2016.

    Google Scholar 

  175. Song C, Ikei H, Miyazaki Y. Physiological effects of nature therapy: a review of the research in Japan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016;13(8):781.

    Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  176. Murray CJ, Lopez AD. Global mortality, disability, and the contribution of risk factors: global burden of disease study. Lancet. 1997;349(9063):1436–42.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  177. Murray CJ, Lopez AD. Alternative projections of mortality and disability by cause 1990–2020: global burden of disease study. Lancet. 1997;349(9064):1498–504.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  178. Lopez AD, Project DCP. Global burden of disease and risk factors. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2006. p. 1.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  179. Whiteford HA, Degenhardt L, Rehm J, Baxter AJ, Ferrari AJ, Erskine HE, et al. Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: findings from the global burden of disease study 2010. Lancet. 2013;382(9904):1575–86.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  180. GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2013. Lancet. 2014;385(9963):117–71.

    PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  181. Vos T, Barber RM, Bell B, Bertozzi-Villa A. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2013. Lancet. 2015;386:743–800.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  182. GBD 2015 DALYs and HALE Collaborators. Global, regional, and national disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 315 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy (HALE), 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2015. Lancet. 2016;388(10053):1603–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  183. Shahady EJ. Barriers to care in chronic disease: how to bridge the treatment gap. Consultant. 2006;46:1149–52.

    Google Scholar 

  184. Eichstaedt JC, Schwartz HA, Kern ML, Park G, Labarthe DR, Merchant RM, et al. Psychological language on twitter predicts county-level heart disease mortality. Psychol Sci. 2015;26(2):159–69.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  185. Nelson B, McGorry PD, Wichers M, Wigman JTW, Hartmann JA. Moving from static to dynamic models of the onset of mental disorder. JAMA Psychiat. 2017;74(5):528–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  186. Wang H, Yu M, Ochani M, Amella CA, Tanovic M, Susarla S, et al. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha7 subunit is an essential regulator of inflammation. Nature. 2003;421(6921):384–8.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  187. Christakis NA, Fowler JH. Social contagion theory: examining dynamic social networks and human behavior. Stat Med. 2013;32(4):556–77.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Contributions to an early draft of this manuscript from several students (Ingrid Bjerknes Røyne and Jasmine Marie Rollings), enrolled in the taught Masters (MSc) programme in Psychology at Swansea University, are gratefully acknowledged. Constructive criticism from two anonymous reviewers was also particularly helpful in the development of the ideas presented herein.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrew Haddon Kemp .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Kemp, A.H., Arias, J.A., Fisher, Z. (2017). Social Ties, Health and Wellbeing: A Literature Review and Model. In: Ibáñez, A., Sedeño, L., García, A. (eds) Neuroscience and Social Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68421-5_17

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics