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Health benefits of true friendship

by kugo

1) LESSENS STRESS:

The authors of this study examined how a person’s friends influence their well-being and health. Data revealed that having frequent contact with friends directly links to less stress and better health.

Another study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry evaluated whether social support can “mitigate the harmful effects of stress.” Researchers found that individuals with social support had lower cholesterol levels and higher immune functioning. Based on the findings, the authors concluded that social support could mitigate the harmful effects of stressful stimuli.

2) FRIENDSHIP ELONGATES LIFE:

This study assessed the link between social isolation, loneliness, and mortality. Based on an in-depth analysis of 6,500 people, researchers determined that socially isolated and lonely individuals had significantly higher mortality rates.

Another study followed breast cancer patients for 12.5 years to evaluate the impact of close personal relationships on their survival. Researchers found that “increased contact with friends post-diagnosis was associated with a lower risk of death.”

3) INCREASES HAPPINESS:

This study examined if, and how, having a supportive network of friends increases happiness. Researchers found that people with a supportive network are happier and that “social support plays a mediating role.” Another study revealed that “friendship quality predicted happiness above and beyond the influence of personality and number of friends.”

4) DECREASES DEPRESSION:

This study analyzed the strength of participants’ friendships as a predictor of change in their depressive symptoms. Results revealed that the strength of friendships “predicted decreases in depressive symptoms.” The authors of this impactful study evaluated the effect of social support on depression in individuals who survived childhood abuse. Researchers found that having friends who provide social support “protected against adult depression.”

5) LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE:

This ground-breaking study used longitudinal data spanning the course of years to evaluate the relationship between having friends and measures of health. The authors found that “a lack of social connections more than doubled the risk of high blood pressure.” Another study published in Psychology and Aging reveals that loneliness “is a unique predictor” of elevated blood pressure.

6) Improves Overall Health:

This study used longitudinal data to assess the association between social relationships with objective measures of health. Researchers found that a lack of friends increased inflammation to the same degree as physical inactivity. Additionally, the data revealed that “the effect of social isolation on hypertension exceeded that of clinical risk factors such as diabetes.” This research review examined the lives of over 300,000 individuals to analyze the link between social relationships and health. Researchers discovered that people with serious medical conditions who had stronger relationships had a 50 percent higher chance of survival. Having friends predicted survival more than twice as much as exercise did and at the same rate as quitting smoking. Indicating that strong friendships improve overall health.

7) FRIENDSHIP INCREASES CONFIDENCE:

recent research reveals that interacting with members of different social groups can increase self-confidence. Authors of this review of research discuss how and why intergroup contact promotes enhanced self-confidence among participants.

This groundbreaking study evaluated the effect of participating in a friend-making program on participants with severe mental illness (SMI). The program matched individuals with SMI with a community volunteer to participate in weekly one-on-one social activities together. Clients with SMI who participated in the friend-making program showed significant increases in self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.

8) DECREASES RISK OF OBESITY:

This study revealed that “overweight youth were twice as likely to have overweight friends.” This effect works both ways. An individual’s willingness to adopt healthy eating and exercise behaviors are highly related to the behaviors of their friends.

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