Researchers evaluated the results of 148 studies and determined that adults with strong relationships may live an average of 4 years longer that those who do not.
The study published in PLoS Medicine examined results from almost 309,000 people on the effects relationships have on the lifespan. These individuals were followed for 7.5 years. It appears those over 18 years old with strong social relationships live up to an average of 3.7 years longer than those with weak relationships. This effect remained constant even when researchers adjusted for age, and health status.
It seems that the strong relationship has an effect similar to that of quitting smoking! It is suggested that relationships may reduce stress and increase immune system function.
It is possible that other factors may have influenced these findings such as the people who lived longer were healthier to begin with so they could be more active and maintain more social relationships. It is more difficult to evaluate social or emotional issues. As Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychology professor at the University of California states, ”you can never do an experiment where you isolate 100 people and then take 100 people and give them lots of friends.”
For now, though, get out there and spend time with your friends and family; it may lengthen your life!!