The Rosetto Effect
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Social support is probably one of the least focused on areas of health, and yet it has one of the most powerful influences.
It can come in the form of a spouse, a close-knit family, a network of friends, a church, and other group affiliations.
Even a connection to animals can have a powerful positive effect on one’s well-being.
The link between social support and health is very strong. "So many studies have supported this powerful link that it has been given a name – the Rosetto effect."6
The name comes from a study that spanned 50 years in the little town of Rosetto, Pennsylvania. Researchers discovered that the incidence of coronary heart disease in Rosetto at the beginning of the period was about half that of the two neighboring towns, despite the same risk factors in all three locations.
What was the difference? Researchers discovered that Rosetto was settled by a tightly knit group of religious immigrants from Southern Italy. During the first 30 years of the study, they were characterized by a high level of social connectedness: extensive intermarriage, strong family ties, and a supportive, nurturing community.
The researchers hypothesized that this high level of social connectedness might buffer residents from heart disease and early death. This was shown to be true when, in the 1960s and 1970s, the cohesiveness of the community began to weaken and the heart disease rates in Rosetto climbed to the same levels as those in the other two communities.7
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