A series of recent studies has revealed that friendships may improve physical as well as emotional health at any stage of life.
Medical News Today (MNT), in their recent article, reports on the following findings:
- A 2011 article in Developmental Psychology showed that children aged 10–12 had lower cortisol levels during stressful events when they were accompanied by a friend, as opposed to any other person in their lives.
- A recent study from the University of California–Berkeley showed that male rats "bonded" with one another rather than fighting to combat stressful situations. (MNT)
- A 2010 study of adult women in the Journal of Circulation found that those with more friendships had "healthier blood pressure levels" than those with fewer friendships, and another found that women with more friends were "50% less likely to die" from coronary artery disease than those with fewer friendships as well. (MNT)
- Kaiser Permanente and a study from the Alzheimer's Association International Conference found lowered risk of dementia and slower cognitive decline from Alzheimer's in patients with more friends.
- A meta-analysis of 148 studies showed that people with more friends were "50% more likely to survive" over a given time period than those who were socially isolated.
- Several studies found direct links between one's own health and the healthiness or unhealthiness of friends, showing that, with healthy friends, the chances for physical health were greater (although the converse was also true).