UCL in the News: Shy guys 'could face heart risk'
11 July 2007
A 30-year study by Chicago Northwestern University suggested shy or antisocial men were 50% more likely to die this way, compared with outgoing men.
Dr Eric Brunner [UCL Epidemiology & Public Health] said that similar work carried out by him and his colleagues suggested a connection between social status and poor health.
He said it was possible that feeling socially inferior - which could contribute to a shy personality - could introduce unhealthy changes in lifestyle and behaviour, or even disrupt the balance of the body's hormones.
"What we shouldn't say to people is that if you're shy, you're going to die of a heart attack.
"This research is interesting, and may be showing one of the pathways by which lower social status is connected to disease.
"It suggests that social anxiety is very important - one of the reasons that a hierarchy exists is because people feel that they participate to a greater or lesser extent in the activities of the society in which we live."