Time with friends and family

People with strong social relationships live longer[1][13]. Connections and interactions with close others promote health through shaping daily health behavior choices[15][16]. Having close friends may promote brain health as we age[14]. Social contact is one of the most important drivers of subjective well-being[5][6][7][8]. A strong support system will help you manage stress[9]. Social support is associated with increased psychological well-being[12][10] and increased resilience during important life events[10]. In stressful times, social support helps people reduce psychological distress (e.g., anxiety or depression)[11]. People having strong relationships are half as likely to catch a common cold[2]. Lack of social connections can increase your chances of becoming sick through immune system dysregulation[3]. Loneliness can also increase levels of depression, pain, and fatigue[3]. Loneliness accelerates the rate of physiological decline[4]. Studies consistently show increased risk of death among persons with a low quantity, and sometimes low quality, of social relationships[8]. Experimental studies of humans and animals suggest that social isolation is a major risk factor for mortality from widely varying causes[8].


Rate your health contributing behaviour so we can help you improve.

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I do not agree with this statement. I somewhat agree. This may sometimes be representative. I agree with this statement. It describes my situation very well.
I have a close friend I can share intimate details with.
I have several friends or family members I meet monthly.
I take initiatives to stay in contact with friends and family.
I try to be a good listener, not judging.
I celebrate events.
I provide help and support in times of need.
From time to time I re-evaluate the role friends play in my life.
I meet people in person rather than just online.
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      Category: Social health

      Research
      • [1] Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB.(2010). Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. Public Library of Science: Medicine. 7(7): e1000316. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316 View
      • [2] Cohen, S.; Brissette, I.; Skoner, D. & Doyle, W. (2000), 'Social Integration and Health: The Case of the Common Cold.', Journal of Social Structure 1. View
      • [3] Jaremka, L.M., Fagundes, C.P., Glaser, R., Bennett, J.M., Malarkey, W.B., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (2012). Loneliness predicts pain, depression, and fatigue: Understanding the role of immune dysregulation. Psychoneuroendocrinology; pii: S0306-4530(12)00403-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.11.016. View
      • [4] Hawkley, L.C., Cacioppo, J.T. (2007). Aging and loneliness: Downhill quickly? Current Directions in Psychological Science; 16: 187–191. View
      • [5] Helliwell, J.F. and S. Wang (2011), “Trust and Well-being”, International Journal of Wellbeing. View
      • [6] Kahneman, D. and A.B. Krueger (2006), “Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 20(1), pp. 19-20. View
      • [7] Boarini, R., M. Comola, C. Smith, R. Manchin and F. De Keulenaer (2012), What Makes for a Better Life? The determinants of subjective well-being in OECD countries: Evidence from the GallupWorld Poll, STD/DOC(2012)3, OECD. View
      • [8] House, J. S., Landis, K. R., & Umberson, D. (1988, July 29). Social relationships and health. Science, 241, 540–545. View
      • [9] American Psychological Association. (n.d). Stress tip sheet. View
      • [10] Cobb, S. "Social support as a moderator of life stress". Psychosomatic Medicine 98: 300–314. doi:10.1097/00006842-197609000-00003.
      • [11] Taylor, S.E. (2011). "Social support: A Review". In M.S. Friedman. The Handbook of Health Psychology. New York,NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 189–214.
      • [12] Cohen, S., & Willis, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310-357.
      • [13] Effect of social networks on 10 year survival in very old Australians: the Australian longitudinal study of aging J. Epidemiol. Community Health July 1, 2005 59: 574-579 View
      • [14] The 4 best ways to maintain your brain - Harvard Health Publications. View
      • [15] Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., & Newton, T. L. (2001). Marriage and health: His and hers. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 472–503. doi:10.1037/0033-2909 .127.4.472
      • [16] Umberson, D., Crosnoe, R., & Reczek, C. (2010). Social relationships and health behavior across the life course. Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 139–157. doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-120011
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