Scientific Support for Interpersonal Relationships
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Friends not only increase your capacity for pleasure but enhance your ability to heal.
Did you know that the more friends you have, the less likely you are to catch a cold?
That's what Dr. Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University has found. Not only that, but if you do come down with a cold, the duration and severity of symptoms will be less if you have lots of social contacts.
Conversely, social isolation is devastating to good health. Friends not only increase your capacity for pleasure but will enhance your ability to heal.
In a landmark study reported in the prestigious medical journal, Lancet, Dr. David Speigel at Stanford University found that women with breast cancer who participate in psychosocial support groups live significantly longer than breast cancer patients who do not.
This finding parallels one reported by investigators at UCLA who discovered that a structured group intervention reduced both mortality and cancer recurrence for the participants.
Sometimes the benefits of a factor are best revealed when examining what happens when it is absent. This is certainly true of social support. Dr. James House reviewed an extensive body of literature in the 1980s that studied a total of 10,000 women.
The conclusion was that social isolation will increase your risk of dying from all causes. In the Alameda County study the risk was 2.8 times greater.