Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wide circle of friends key to mid-life wellbeing for both sexes

Date:
August 22, 2012
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
The midlife wellbeing of both men and women seems to depend on having a wide circle of friends whom they see regularly, finds new research.

The midlife wellbeing of both men and women seems to depend on having a wide circle of friends whom they see regularly, finds research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

A network of relatives is also important -- but only for men -- shows the study of more than 6500 Britons born in 1958.

The authors base their findings on information collected from the participants, all of whom were part of the National Child Development Study (NCDS), when they were aged 42, 45 and 50.

At the age of 42, participants completed a validated questionnaire (Malaise Inventory) to gauge their psychological wellbeing and provided details of their partnership and job status, as well as the age at which they left full time education.

Most had left school at the age of 16, had a partner and were in pretty good psychological health.

Their responses were used to predict the size and make-up of their friend and family networks by the age of 45, when they were asked to state how many friends and relatives they met up with once a month or more.

One in seven said they had no contacts with relatives outside their immediate household and around one in 10 said they had no friends. Four out of 10 men and around one in three women said they had more than six friends whom they saw regularly.

Employment had no bearing on the size of social networks, but education did.

Men who left full time education between the ages of 17 and 19 were 45% less likely to have a larger kinship network, while those staying on until 20 or beyond were 60% less likely to do so. The comparable figures for women were 17% and 60%, respectively.

Staying on in full time education after 16 also reduced the size of men's friendship network, but it increased women's -- by 38% if they left between 17 and 19, and by 74% if they left after the age of 20.

Having a partner was associated with a larger kinship network. Being single reduced that probability by 31% for men and by 26% for women. But it had no impact on friendship networks. When participants' psychological wellbeing was assessed at the age of 50, the results showed a significant association between the number of friends and psychological wellbeing, the impact of which was greater for women.

Compared with those with 10 or more regular contacts, smaller networks of friends at the age of 45 were associated with significantly lower levels of psychological wellbeing for both sexes.

These findings were consistent irrespective of whether they had a partner/job or had had a mental health issue in the past.

Psychological wellbeing was also influenced by the size of kinship networks, although to a lesser extent than friendship -- but only for men.

Psychological wellbeing was especially poor among those with no relatives or friends: among men this was 2.3 points lower if they had no relatives and 2.6 points lower if they had no friends compared with those with 10 or more regular social contacts.

For women, lack of friends had an even greater impact on wellbeing. This was 4 points lower if they had no friends. But a lack of relatives had no emotional impact.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Noriko Cable, Mel Bartley, Tarani Chandola, Amanda Sacker. Friends are equally important to men and women, but family matters more for men's well-being. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2012; DOI: 10.1136/jech-2012-201113

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Wide circle of friends key to mid-life wellbeing for both sexes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822222649.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2012, August 22). Wide circle of friends key to mid-life wellbeing for both sexes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822222649.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Wide circle of friends key to mid-life wellbeing for both sexes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120822222649.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) New numbers show a decade's worth of changes in the number of kids with disabilities. They suggest mental disabilities are up; physical ones are down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Newsy (Aug. 17, 2014) New Hampshire's governor declared a state of emergency after more than 40 overdoses of synthetic marijuana in one week throughout the state. 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