Social networks, host resistance, and mortality: a nine-year follow-up study of Alameda County residents

Am J Epidemiol. 1979 Feb;109(2):186-204. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a112674.


The relationship between social and community ties and mortality was assessed using the 1965 Human Population Laboratory survey of a random sample of 6928 adults in Alameda County, California and a subsequent nine-year mortality follow-up. The findings show that people who lacked social and community ties were more likely to die in the follow-up period than those with more extensive contacts. The age-adjusted relative risks for those most isolated when compared to those with the most social contacts were 2.3 for men and 2.8 for women. The association between social ties and mortality was found to be independent of self-reported physical health status at the time of the 1965 survey, year of death, socioeconomic status, and health practices such as smoking, alcoholic beverage consumption, obesity, physical activity, and utilization of preventive health services as well as a cumulative index of health practices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • California
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Obesity
  • Physical Exertion
  • Smoking
  • Social Isolation*
  • Socioeconomic Factors