People with healthy relationships tend to be healthier and to live longer.
Experts suggest that this is because people in healthy relationships have more support when things go bad. For instance, there is always someone to help them during a crisis, take them to a doctor, help them quit a bad habit or simply calm them down when things get stressful.
Social support does not always yield positive results though. In the case of teens and younger adults, they experience peer pressure. Peer pressure is another form of social support.
However, instead of causing positive effects in the person, peer pressure can work against a person’s health by forcing oneself to do something against his/her will or pressuring him/her into a bad habit.
Survey and research results on social support
Through surveys and interview, when researchers measured and ruled out social supports, there were still longevity benefits to having good relationships.
Some of the researchers suggest that this benefit is caused by chemical changes in the body that happens when a person is socially healthy. In the same way that antioxidants help fight free radicals and prevent damage, our bodies produce chemicals when we are in relationships that protect our health.
On the other hand, it has been found that bad relationships can decrease immunity and have negative effects on health and longevity.
In a survey involving 9,000 men and women in the British civil service, the participants were given surveys about their relationships and the number and type of negative factors or facets in their close relationships. They were also closely monitored for health problems.
The results showed that people who have negative facets in their close relationships had a 34% increase in the risk of heart problems. Experts however, are still figuring out how exactly this thing works.
The good news is that there is evidence supporting the theory that good relationships promote health and longevity.