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Michigan State University study reveals impact of friendships on overall health

Posted at 4:15 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 16:15:41-05

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A new study by Michigan State University reveals the impact of friends on healthy living.

“Friendships are one of the untapped resources people can draw on to pursue a happier and healthier life. They literally cost nothing and have health and well-being benefits,” said William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology at MSU and the study’s senior author.

The study was published in the Frontiers of Psychology and included 323,200 participants from 00 countries.

“We found that placing a value on friendship was good for people’s health and well-being regardless of where they lived. However, looking at friendships as an important part of life is more important in some cultures than it is in others,” Chopik explained.

Researches utilized the World Values Survey to pull data on friendships, health, economic and cultural variables.

They found that those invested in friendships enjoy good physical and psychological health, particularly those who are older and with less education.

“People who come from more privileged settings have a lot of resources that contribute to their health and happiness, but it looks like — for those who don’t have those resources — friendships might serve as a particularly important factor in their lives,” Chopik said.

The program was founded by Chopik and aims to examine friendships and study them so people can improve their lives.

“In today’s world there’s a general feeling that we’re in a ‘friendship crisis’ in which people are lonely and want friends but struggle to make them,” Chopik said. “We show here that they're beneficial for nearly everyone, everywhere. But why are they so hard to form and keep? That’s what we’re working on next.”