Research – Social Connectedness 2017-01-13T13:39:18+00:00

Research – Social Connectedness

Gillian Sandstrom and Elizabeth Dunn from the University of British Columbia in Canada recruited 53 adults for a study. For each participant, they counted the number of strong and weak social interactions per day and used questionnaires to measure their well-being. They concluded that social connections influence both happiness and the sense that we are part of a larger community. Even interactions with people they didn’t know well gave participants a sense of being part of the community and were beneficial.

Read the research:
Social Interactions and Well-Being: The Surprising Power of Weak Ties

 

(If you have any problems following links in our research, then please copy and paste the text from our footnote* into your browser top bar)

James House et al. from the University of Michigan looked at data from many different sources to examine the effects of social relationships on health. They concluded that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

Read the research:
Social Relationships and Health

Cheryl Carmichael et al. from the University of Rochester, New York State, reviewed three decades worth of data. They found that when we’re in our 20s, having a large number of social connections is important to our well-being. But when we’re in our 30s and older, it’s the quality rather than the quantity of relationships that becomes most important.

Read a summary here:
In your 20s it’s quantity, in your 30s it’s quality

Further Interesting Research

Ethan Kross et al. conducted fMRI scans to examine the brain activity of people who recently experienced an unwanted break-up. The results of their brain scans showed similarities in the brain activity with emotional pain and physical pain.

Read the paper:
Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain

Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary looked at data from many existing studies and concluded not only has low social connection been generally associated with declines in physical and psychological health, but it also can lead to antisocial behaviour that leads to further isolation, making the problem worse. Loneliness represents one of the leading reasons people seek psychological counselling.

Read the paper:
The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation

Richard Lee, Matther Draper, and Sujin Lee recruited 184 college students and used well-tested psychological questionnaires to determine interpersonal behaviours and their levels of personal distress. They concluded that people who feel more connected to others have lower rates of anxiety and depression.

Read the research:
Social connectedness, dysfunctional interpersonal behaviors, and psychological distress: Testing a mediator model

Traolach Brugha et al. conducted a survey of British adults, looking at the number of close relatives and friends participants had. They concluded that people who only had 3 or less close relatives or friends were more likely to suffer mental health issues.

Read the paper:
Primary group size, social support, gender and future mental health status

Bert Uchine, John Cacioppo and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser conducted a review of 81 studies, and concluded that social support was reliably related to beneficial health effects on aspects of the cardiovascular and immune systems. They identified that family support and people who provided emotional support were particularly important.

Read the paper:
The Relationship Between Social Support and Physiological Processes

Virginia Morrow conducted research in two schools in relatively deprived areas of south-east England, talking to over 100 children aged 12-15 years old, with a significant proportion from minority ethnic groups. Amongst other findings, she concluded that small-scale, interpersonal networks based on friendship and family were crucial to a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Read the paper:
Networks and neighbourhoods: children’s and young people’s perspectives

Natalya Maisel and Shelley Gable looked at the important role that intimate relationships play in human life, examining research on positive processes in relationships, such as positive emotional expressions, intimacy, and the benefits of sharing positive events.

Read the paper:
For richer…in good times…and in health: positive processes in relationships

Footnote*

(If you have any problems following links in our research, then please copy and paste the text below relating to the article you wish to see into your browser top bar)

Gillian Sandstrom and Elizabeth Dunn
Social Interactions and Well-Being: The Surprising Power of Weak Ties
https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0074024

James House et al.
Social Relationships and Health
http://psych415.class.uic.edu/Readings/House,%20Social%20relationships-Health,%20Science,%201988.pdf

Cheryl Carmichael et al.
In your 20s it’s quantity, in your 30s it’s quality
http://www.medicaldaily.com/popular-20-married-30-well-being-midlife-depends-how-you-socialized-past-344568

Ethan Kross et al.
Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain
http://www.pnas.org/content/108/15/6270.full

Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary
The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation
http://persweb.wabash.edu/facstaff/hortonr/articles%20for%20class/baumeister%20and%20leary.pdf

Richard Lee, Matther Draper, and Sujin Lee
Social connectedness, dysfunctional interpersonal behaviors, and psychological distress: Testing a mediator model
http://depts.washington.edu/uwcssc/sites/default/files/Social%20Connectedness%20Scale-Revised%20%28SCS-R%29.pdf

Traolach Brugha et al.
Primary group size, social support, gender and future mental health status
http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/247/

Bert Uchine, John Cacioppo and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser
The Relationship Between Social Support and Physiological Processes
http://pni.osumc.edu/KG%20Publications%20%28pdf%29/100.pdf

Virginia Morrow
Networks and neighbourhoods: children’s and young people’s perspectives
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255554678_Networks_and_Neighbourhoods_Children’s_and_Young_People’s_Perspectives

Natalya Maisel and Shelley Gable
For richer…in good times…and in health: positive processes in relationships
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6IyqCNBD6oIC&pg=PA455&lpg=PA455&source=bl&ots=ILI4QH0grC&sig=ifzS9UT9TZZ2YpWj658uszjr3Jc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6-8iyzIjMAhVHChoKHSioC0sQ6AEIIjAB#v=onepage&q&f=false