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Happy Social Networks Impact Personal Happiness (Interview with Dr. Andrew Steptoe, PhD, University College London)
Happy Social Networks Impact Personal Happiness (Interview with Dr. Andrew Steptoe, PhD, University College London)

(December 5, 2008 - Insidermedicine) Being part of a happy social network increases your own chances of being happy, according to research published in the British Medical Journal.

According to a Time Magazine article, the following increase happiness:

•    Religion. However, it's unknown whether faith or community involvement is the reason for this.

•    Friends and good family ties. Researchers suggest that it is important to work on social skills, close interpersonal ties and social support.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California at San Diego used information from the Framingham Heart Study to see how happiness spreads through social networks. The nearly 5,000 participants they studied were considered to be happy based on their agreement with questions from a depression rating scale.

Having a happy live-in partner increased one’s likelihood of being happy by 8%, having a happy sibling living nearby increased it by 14%, and having happy neighbors increased it by 34%. Having happy work colleagues did not have an impact on happiness. Happiness affected those separated within social networks by as much as three degrees.

We had a chance to speak with Dr. Andrew Steptoe who wrote an editorial on this study and offered some further insight.

Today’s research suggests that the well being of our social networks have an important impact on our own happiness.

For Insidermedicine in Depth, I'm Dr. Susan Sharma.

 
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