Late childhood peer group status linked to heightened adult
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Late childhood peer group status may be linked to a heightened risk of developing circulatory system disease—-conditions that affect the normal functioning of the heart and blood vessels—in later life, indicates research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

This prospective cohort study evaluated all individuals who were born in 1953 and resident in the greater metropolitan area of Stockholm in 1963. The analytical sample consisted of 5410 males and 5990 females. Peer status was sociometrically assessed in cohort members at age 13. The survey material was linked to inpatient care registers that contained information about circulatory diseases (n=1668) across ages 20–63.

-- Peer marginalisation at age 13 resulted in significantly higher risks of circulatory disease in adulthood among males and females alike.
-- A graded relationship between peer status and circulatory diseases was detected in females.
-- Among males there was a threshold effect, showing that only those in the lowest status position had significantly increased risks of circulatory disease.
-- The associations remained significant after adjusting for various conditions in childhood and adulthood.

Conclusively, This study shows that circulatory diseases in adulthood may be traceable to low peer status and marginalisation in childhood. It is suggested that peer status in late childhood may precede social integration in adolescence and adulthood, acting as a long-term stressor that contributes to circulatory disease through biological, behavioural and psychosocial pathways.