Social Regulation of the Neural Threat Response Predicts Subsequent Markers of Physical Health

Lin, Jingrun, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Coan, James, PSYC, University of Virginia

Social support has been linked to a vast range of beneficial health outcomes. However, the specific nature of social support processes is not well characterized. Drawing on fMRI and health-related outcome data, this study aimed to understand how neural measures of “yielding” –the reduction of brain activity during social support – moderates the link between social support and health. We employed a longitudinal dataset where eighty-three participants around the age of 24 were exposed to the threat of shock when holding the hand of a partner. At around age 28 – 30, and then again at around age 30 – 32, participants returned for health visits where inflammatory activity and heart rate variability were recorded. Greater perceived social support was associated with lower inflammatory activity and greater heart rate variability, among individuals who had been more likely to yield to social support in the hypothalamus, dlPFC, and dACC years earlier.

MA (Master of Arts)
social support, fMRI, yielding, health
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