Well-Being Directly Connected to Sense of Belonging

Family at a pondLaureen Lowe-Albrecht, writing for Colorado Health, is an expert on today’s senior health and wellness issues and uses her decade of corporate public relations experience and current physical therapy practice to write about health and wellness. In this article Lowe-Albrecht describes the healthful importance of belonging to a group.

According to Lowe-Albrecht, because research on social isolation has been linked time and time again to health and happiness, it continues to be investigated. Psychologist Ed Diener of the University of Illinois published results in 2011 that proved Abraham Maslow’s theory true, that the importance of belonging is one of the most necessary facets of our survival, after food, shelter, and immediate safety. Such a connection suggests that “after all is said and done, we need each other.”

Diener’s research concluded that even when many of our basic needs remain unfulfilled, social needs still remained more important. Lowe-Albrecht suggests that if you’re feeling isolated in any way, health conscious steps to take include strengthening ties with immediate family, joining or starting a self-help group, taking up a team sport, or becoming a volunteer. “Every person who makes up our social network is essential to our well-being.”

The following four studies were touched upon by Lowe-Albrecht to suggest that without a sense of belonging we really do tend to have more health issues.

1. Dr. Lisa Berkman, a Harvard epidemiologist, analyzed seven thousand men and women in 1965, discovering that those who had limited social connections were up to three times more likely to pass away within the nine year follow up period.

2. This 1986 Tecumseh Community Health Study in southeast Michigan found that men with stronger social connections had fewer cases of lung and heart disease, cancer and stroke incidence, “regardless of age, occupation, or health status.”

3. In a 1987 6-year investigation of participants between the ages of twenty-nine to seventy four, seventeen thousand people were studied in Sweden. Individuals that were socially isolated were four times more likely to have an increased mortality rate.

4. In 1993, elderly men and women from East Boston, New Haven, and rural Iowa were all found to have weak social connections and a higher mortality risk compared to those with four or more strong social ties.  

5. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association took 276 healthy participants and exposed each of them to a cold virus; the group that had six or more different social networks was found to be the most disease resistant.

 

Make sure to consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for all health related advice.

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