Are social older adults likely to be healthier?

30 May 2014

Older adults who have regular positive interactions with friends and family tend to be in better health, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Previous research has indicated that the influence of social relationships on mortality risk can be compared to smoking and alcohol consumption. 

Lynn M Martire, of The Pennsylvania State University, said of the study: "Close connections with others are likely to promote but can also sometimes detract from good health by shaping daily behavior that directly affects physical health. 

"In some cases, the behavior may have to do with physical activity and in others, it might be related to diet or managing a chronic disease, such as diabetes.”

One of the studies in the analysis found that negative social interactions were linked to a greater risk of hypertension among women and individuals aged between 51 and 64. 

Negative encounters such as excessive demands, criticism and disappointment were linked to hypertension in older people due to their psychological effects, such as depression and general unhappiness. 

Posted by Philip Briggs

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