Childhood social preference predicts lowered risk of insulin resistance in adolescence

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan D. Calkins, Professor (Creator)
Jessica Dollar, Research Scientist (Creator)
Meghan June Gangel (Creator)
Susan P. Keane, Professor (Creator)
Laurie Wideman, Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and Type II diabetes are increasingly common among young people in the United States. The quality of social relationships is a predictor of cardiometabolic health among adults, but has not been studied as a predictor of earlier insulin resistance. The purpose of this study was to test whether social preference (likeability) during childhood predicts insulin resistance and a measure of central adiposity during adolescence. Obesity also was examined as one mechanism through which this association occurs. Data came from a long-term longitudinal community study. At approximately age 7, 240 children were rated by their classmates on how liked and how disliked they were (difference score indexes social preference). Nine years later, at age 16, the same children visited the university laboratory where height, weight, and several measures of central adiposity (waist circumference, sagittal diameter, and waist-to-height ratio) were assessed by trained interviewers. Adolescents also provided fasted blood samples, from which HOMA-estimated insulin resistance was assessed. A path model yielded adequate to good fit indices, ?2 (3, N = 240) = 6.689, p = .08, CFI = .97, RMSEA = .07 [95% CI = .00, .14], sRMR = .03. Results indicated that greater social preference at age 7 was significantly associated with lower IR at age 16. These findings suggest that children who are less liked by their classmates are more likely to demonstrate increased risk of IR. Additionally, BMI at age 15 was positively associated with both IR and WC at age 16. A bootstrapping procedure (10,000 draws) indicated that a child’s likeability is associated with IR and WC through the association of likeability with later weight status. The quality of social relationships in childhood is important to consider when trying to understand the recent rise in adolescents’ cardiometabolic risk and when considering intervention strategies.

Additional Information

Journal of Psychoneuroendocrinology, 113
Language: English
Date: 2020
Insulin resistance, Peer preference, Obesity

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