The present study figured out the relationship between social network and osteoporosis among elderly women. Social network could be beneficial to ones health since it works as social capital providing several supports. On the other hand, social network can also be a source of social burden aggravating ones health. To examine the seemingly contradicting associations, Korean Urban Rural Elderly Study (KURE) data was analyzed. There were 1938 older women aged over 65, of whom 882 (45.5%) were diagnosed to have osteoporosis. The results showed that there is a U-shaped relationship between network size, the number of people in ones social network, and osteoporosis (P=0.03). Specifically, predicted probability of having osteoporosis decreases from 48 to 37% until network size 4. Beyond the ideal threshold, however, the predicted probability increased to 57% when subjects have more than six people in their social networks. Negative part of U-shaped influence was explained by poor intimacy. For those with friendly social network, increasing network size linearly reduced predicted probability of having osteoporosis from 47 to 30% (P=0.048). For those with unfriendly social network, on the other hand, curvilinear relationship was discovered (P=0.004). The probability decreased from 49 to 39% until network size 4, after which it dramatically increased to 74%. The results imply that maintaining favorable social network is beneficial for the elderly women to manage their bone mass, while too large network full of uncomfortable relationships could be even harmful.
14 May 2016 - 17 May 2016