Facebook Friends Improve Longevity
There’s no doubt: having friends is good for our health, happiness, and well-being. As early as the 1970s, research showed that having close friends could help you live longer. One such study showed people without strong social relationships were 2.8 times more likely to die prematurely. Another analysis showed that social connections can improve survival by as much as 50 percent. Now, it seems, online friends may provide similar benefits.
According to a new study, Facebook can improve longevity when it is used to maintain and improve real-life relationships. For the study, researchers monitored the online activity of people born between 1945 and 1989 for six months. They found that Facebook users are 12 percent less likely to die in a given year than those who do not use the social networking site. Those with the most Facebook friends lived longer than those with fewer connections, as did those who were moderately active on the site.
Social networking—online or in person—has a number of health benefits. Connecting with others can help reduce feelings of loneliness and improve stress levels. Strong relationships also can help lower the risk for illness, according to researchers.
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