A new U.S. study, which followed some 70,000 women over a period of 20 years, suggests that being well connected to your social circles—family, friends and other social groups—might help as a buffer against suicide. The study followed the women, all nurses aged 46 to 71 years old in 1992, until 2010 or when they died, and asked them questions about their “social integration”—how many friends they had, how often they talked with friends, whether they were married, their participation in social or religious groups—and ranked them according to social connectedness. There were 43 suicides among all participants during the period studied and researchers found that those who were in the “most socially connected” group were about 75 percent less likely than the least-connected to die by suicide. Dr Alexander Tsai, lead author of the study, argued that “participating in a broad range of social relationships—not just friends and relatives—but religious and social organizations can be good for your health,” adding that doctors could benefit from knowledge on their patients’ social connectedness.
Read the full story at Reuters.