Social isolation and subclinical vascular pathways to cerebrovascular disease

Danielle M. Arcidiacono, Laura V. Machia, Wesley K. Lefferts, Douglas A. Wolf, Kevin S. Heffernan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Social isolation and lack of social support are risk factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease (CVD). This study explored the relationship between measures of social support and subclinical measures of CVD risk. 58 healthy adults ages 18 to 85 years participated in this study. The Berkman-Syme Social Network Inventory (SNI) was used to assess social isolation, with higher scores signifying less isolation. Social support was defined using the 12-Item Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL-12) with a higher score signifying higher social support. Subclinical CVD measures included carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), carotid beta-stiffness index, and middle cerebral artery (MCA) pulsatility index. Path analysis models for both the SNI and ISEL appraisal domain predicting cfPWV and cerebrovascular pulsatility fit the data well. Path analyses showed significant direct paths from the SNI (β = −.363, t = −2.91) and ISEL appraisal domain (β = −.264, t = −2.05) to cfPWV. From cfPWV, both models revealed significant direct paths to carotid stiffness (β = .488, t = 4.18) to carotid pulse pressure (β = .311, t = 2.45) to MCA pulsatility (β = .527, t = 4.64). Social isolation and appraisal of social support are related to unfavorably higher aortic stiffness, with subsequent detrimental effects on cerebrovascular hemodynamic pulsatility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-31
Number of pages18
JournalBiodemography and Social Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics


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