A network approach to the analysis of psychosocial risk factors and their association with health

J Health Psychol. 2020 Sep;25(10-11):1587-1600. doi: 10.1177/1359105318765624. Epub 2018 Apr 2.


We modeled early psychosocial risks as a network of interconnected variables to study their associations with later depressive symptoms and cardiometabolic outcomes. The participants were a nationally representative sample of 2580 men and women aged 3-18 years in 1980. Their parents reported the psychosocial risks in 1980, including the following: (1) child-specific life events, (2) parental health behavior, (3) parental socioeconomic status, and (4) parental psychological problems. Adulthood depressive symptoms and cardiometabolic outcomes were measured in 2007-2012. The most central risks (most number of connections to other risks) were socioeconomic risks that also predicted health outcomes more consistently than others.

Keywords: causality; epidemiology; health risks; network; psychosocial.