Social Relationships and Health

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

The author discusses 3 variables that assess different aspects of social relationships-social support, social integration, and negative interaction. The author argues that all 3 are associated with health outcomes, that these variables each influence health through different mechanisms, and that associations between these variables and health are not spurious findings attributable to our personalities. This argument suggests a broader view of how to intervene in social networks to improve health. This includes facilitating both social integration and social support by creating and nurturing both close (strong) and peripheral (weak) ties within natural social networks and reducing opportunities for negative social interaction. Finally, the author emphasizes the necessity to understand more about who benefits most and least from social-connectedness interventions.


Published In

American Psychologist, 59, 8, 676-684.