Perceived social support and chronic inflammation: The moderating role of self-esteem.

Objective: Social support is one of the strongest psychosocial predictors of physical health. However, is this the case for everyone? On the basis of recent research suggesting that self-esteem can moderate the psychological effects of social support, the present research investigated whether self-esteem would moderate the health benefits of social support. Method: A national sample of middle-aged adults (N = 949) completed self-report questionnaires on perceived social support, self-esteem, sociodemographic information, and health related behaviors. Two years later, they provided a blood sample that was analyzed for C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. Results: The effect of perceived social support on inflammation was moderated by self-esteem. Specifically, perceived social support predicted lower CRP for people with high self-esteem, whereas it was not significantly associated with CRP for those with low self-esteem. These results held even after controlling for sociodemographic information, health related behaviors, and medication usage. Conclusion: Self-esteem is a key variable that may modulate the link between social support and inflammation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)