No man is an island, and if he tries to be one, he may die sooner, according to a new BYU analysis.
Researchers have discovered that people with greater social relationships are 50 percent more likely to live longer than their socially reclusive counterparts.
In fact, a lack of friends is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic. It’s also twice as damaging as obesity and more harmful than not exercising, according to the study.
“We’re not in any way trying to downplay the seriousness of these other risk factors, (which) are very important,” said author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, associate professor of psychology at BYU. “Rather, we’re trying to make the point that we need to start taking our social relationships just as seriously as we take these other factors.”
The researchers combed through thousands of studies since 1900 to find 148 that dealt with their research questions. Those studies asked more than 300,000 subjects about relationships and then tracked their health outcomes for an average of 7.5 years.
This post rounds up previous posts on this subject.