Does Socialization Actually Improve Health?


Studies have found that seniors who increased their number of close friends or increased their attendance at social events, like religious services, had a reduced risk of death by a large margin. This indicates that group membership and personal interaction can increase the overall health of seniors.


The research supporting the connection between socialization and health was summarized in a recent article written by Clifford Singer, MD. Two of the notable research conclusions he included were:

  • The evidence that links social isolation in old age with poor health is strong enough that social activities should be considered as one method of helping to prevent heart disease (Valtorta et al., 2015)


  • One study involving 10 years of follow-up found that men (aged 42-77) with lower levels of socialization were at greater risk of mortality than those with more social connections. Furthermore, men who increased their number of close friends or increased attendance at religious services had a reduced risk of death. Men who made more friends over time showed a reduction of 29% in mortality risk per year (Eng et al., 2002).

These findings are very encouraging. If your loved one appears isolated or lonely, consider looking for activities in your area that they may enjoy. Any sort of productive social involvement may improve your loved one's mental and physical health.


Sources:

1. Singer, Clifford. "Health effects of social isolation and loneliness." Journal of Aging Life Care 28.1 (2018): 4-8.

2. Valtorta NK, Kanaan M, Gilbody S, Ronzi S and Hanratty B. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studies. BMJ Heart 2016:102:1009-1016

3. Eng PM, Rimm EB, Fitzmaurice G, Kawachi I. Social ties and changes in social ties in relation to subsequent total and causespecific mortality and coronary heart disease incidence in men. Am J Epidemiology 2002; 155:8:700-709