Effects of Social Bonds on Long Term Health

Effects of Social Bonds on HealthA mountain of research has demonstrated that diet and exercise play key roles in determining our long-term health. At the same time, recent studies also suggest that strong relationships can make us healthier, while social isolation can have an opposite effect.
Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study analyzed data from four surveys which included Americans ranging from adolescents to seniors. Ultimately, they found a strong correlation between poor social connections and systemic inflammation, high body mass index, high blood pressure and unhealthy waist circumference – all key factors in determining a person’s risk for cancer, stroke and heart disease.
How it Impacts the Body
A defining characteristic of human society, social relationships are a fundamental need just like food, water and exercise. While they don’t know the exact reasons why poor social connections lead to greater health risks, experts believe it probably has something to do with increased inflammation owed to anxiety. Poor or inadequate social relationships also increase the risk of alcohol abuse, drug abuse and overeating.
Important at Every Age
Past research has shown that social interaction plays a critical role for seniors, who tend to live longer when they maintain strong relationships. In fact, statistics indicate social isolation is more of a threat to these people than diabetes and high blood pressure. This recent study also suggests that strong social bonds are just as critical for young people, since social links appear to reduce health risks in each stage of life.
What You Can Do
It’s not always easy for people to form lasting social bonds. That said, parents should encourage their children to build strong social skills and broad social relationships by interacting with others as much as possible. Older adults can maintain more active social lives by joining clubs, doing volunteer work or by participating in church activities.
When to Seek Help
For some people, anxiety can stand in the way of building new relationships. If you are having trouble overcoming psychological barriers that make it hard for you to improve your social situation, talk to your doctor. These days, there are a number of medications that can ease depression and anxiety. Your doctor can also help you find a therapist or counselor who can help you learn effective strategies at overcoming social anxiety.

Health News + Events

What to Expect With COVID-19 & Back-to-School Protocols

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, it turned life upside down for more than 50 million school-age children across the country. In fact, according to Ed  Read More

TikTok Health Hacks: Safe or Sham?

No matter your preferred social media channel, you’ve likely seen viral health hacks for everything from congestion to snoring to weight loss. We turned to our team of certified  Read More

How to Treat a Dog Bite

Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but even the friendliest of creatures can sometimes get spooked or display aggressive behavior. Bites can even happen when giving an excit  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.6
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Somers, NY