Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Relationships improve your odds of survival by 50 percent, research finds

Date:
July 28, 2010
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
In a new study, researchers report that social connections -- friends, family, neighbors or colleagues -- improve our odds of survival by 50 percent.

A new Brigham Young University study adds our social relationships to the "short list" of factors that predict a person's odds of living or dying.

In the journal PLoS Medicine, BYU professors Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Timothy Smith report that social connections -- friends, family, neighbors or colleagues -- improve our odds of survival by 50 percent. Here is how low social interaction compares to more well-known risk factors:

  • Equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day
  • Equivalent to being an alcoholic
  • More harmful than not exercising
  • Twice as harmful as obesity

"The idea that a lack of social relationships is a risk factor for death is still not widely recognized by health organizations and the public," write the PLoS Medicine editors in a summary of the BYU study and why it was done.

The researchers analyzed data from 148 previously published longitudinal studies that measured frequency of human interaction and tracked health outcomes for a period of seven and a half years on average. Because information on relationship quality was unavailable, the 50 percent increased odds of survival may underestimate the benefit of healthy relationships.

"The data simply show whether they were integrated in a social network," Holt-Lunstad said. "That means the effects of negative relationships are lumped in there with the positive ones. They are all averaged together."

Holt-Lunstad said there are many pathways through which friends and family influence health for the better, ranging from a calming touch to finding meaning in life.

"When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks," Holt-Lunstad said.

In examining the data, Smith took a careful look at whether the results were driven primarily by people helping each other prolong their golden years.

"This effect is not isolated to older adults," Smith said. "Relationships provide a level of protection across all ages."

Smith said that modern conveniences and technology can lead some people to think that social networks aren't necessary.

"We take relationships for granted as humans -- we're like fish that don't notice the water," Smith said. "That constant interaction is not only beneficial psychologically but directly to our physical health."

Brad Layton worked on the study as an undergrad at BYU and appears as a co-author on the new study. Layton's involvement in this project helped him secure a spot as a Ph.D. candidate in the highly ranked epidemiology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB. Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Medicine, 2010; 7 (7): e1000316 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "Relationships improve your odds of survival by 50 percent, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100727174909.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2010, July 28). Relationships improve your odds of survival by 50 percent, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100727174909.htm
Brigham Young University. "Relationships improve your odds of survival by 50 percent, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100727174909.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins