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Social interaction an important aspect of healthy aging

August 24, 2012

Happiness is a key component to healthy aging, and a recent study found that the secret to having a positive outlook later in life may be dependent on other people. Researchers found that having a large group of friends has a positive impact on psychological health and well-being, according to The Huffington Post.

The findings were drawn from data culled from the British National Child Development Study, which followed a group of 6,500 people born during the same week more than 50 years ago. The researchers were most interested in surveys the participants filled out later in life about topics ranging from their psychological health to interactions with family and friends.

Approximately four in 10 women said they had a group of at least six friends they saw regularly, and they were the happiest of the group. When it came to men, respondents appeared to place a greater emphasis on family interactions.

The findings build on previous research that tied friendship and relationships among older adults to better health. A 2010 study from Brigham Young University found a distinct correlation between social interaction and mortality. Specifically, the team found that adults with strong social relationships have 50 percent higher likelihood for survival.