Better Health Through Close Friendships

Everybody knows that close friendships can be wonderful, and medical researchers are now coming up with tangible evidence that friendship can pay off in longer and healthier lives as well.

“Friendship has a bigger impact on our psychological well-being than family relationships,” says sociologist Rebecca Adams of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She was quoted in an article by Tara Parker-Pope in the New York Times.

Ms. Parker-Pope’s article was inspired by a book, “The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a 40-Year Friendship.” Author Jeffrey Zaslow documents how eleven childhood friends from Iowa continued to nurture and sustain each other, including two of them who recently learned they had breast cancer.

Researchers have found that friendship has an even greater effect on health than being married or having family members nearby. No one is quite sure what it is about friendship that sustains people, but perhaps what we all take heart from is the idea that “we’re all in this together.”

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