Did you know that limited face-to-face social interaction can double a person’s risk of depression?
By nature humans are social beings, and while online friendships can make us feel connected to others or as though we are part of a community, they do not fulfill our social needs.
When it comes to socialization, not all forms are created equal. Phone calls and online interactions are great, and definitely offer tremendous benefits when compared with no social interaction, however, they do not carry the same benefits as face-to-face communication.
An October 2015 study titled “Does Mode of Contact with Different Types of Social Relationships Predict Depression Among Older Adults? Evidence from a Nationally Representative Survey,” was published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
This was an extensive study that looked at the social interactions of over 11,000 adults aged 50 plus. They tracked their in-person encounters, phone calls and written interactions (both in pen and online). Two years later, the researchers examined each participant’s depressive symptoms, adjusting for various factors including health status, how close people lived to family, and pre-existing depression.
It was found that participants who met with family and friends face-to-face at least three times a week had the lowest level of depressive symptoms.
They then took a closer look and examined the difference in face-to-face interactions between friends and family members, which was very interesting.
For adults aged 50 to 69, face-to-face contact with friends had a greater impact on reducing the risk of depression. However, those 70 and older, benefited more from contact with their family.
This information is a great reminder of how important we are in each other’s lives. We all need to make the time to get out and see our friends and family. Especially because face-to-face socialization goes beyond depression, reducing stress and anxiety as well.
We all benefit from strong, healthy relationships. And if you aren’t sure where or how to get started, let Amintro help. A social community designed for those 50 plus looking to make new friends and increase their social circles, Amintro lets you connect with confidence online and then head out in the community to get the face-to-face interaction you need.
Start living a more socially engaged life, you will be happier and healthier for it!
By Christine Tompa