The Negative Health Influence of Loneliness: The Importance of Friendship

     In studying women’s health issues and meeting women in my work, it’s clear that loneliness is not only not fun, but it’s actually unhealthy. Researchers have recently asked if people who are alone are at greater risk of dying, and studies are showing that they are—if they feel lonely.

     Recent studies are confirming the negative health indicators associated with loneliness. One study found that drug use among young people was higher among those who said they were lonely. Older lonely people tended to have higher blood pressure and poorer sleep quality and were found to be more tense and anxious. Another study found that college freshmen with small social networks and who claimed to be lonely had weaker immune responses to flu vaccinations and higher levels of stress hormones in their blood.

     “People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol—a stress hormone,” says Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University. Why is this? “We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes. Therefore, people with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace, which is related to better health.”

     Loneliness can be painful, but you can take steps to begin to widen your social horizons and feel connected to others in no time. Not only will you feel better emotionally, but you’ll be able to enjoy the positive health advantages that good friendship brings. 

Tina Turbin

Posted in Children's Author, Children's Health, Friends, Research, women
Tagged , , , , , , ,

17 Responses to The Negative Health Influence of Loneliness: The Importance of Friendship

  1. Rachel says:

    Well, here we are again with yet more scientific proof that friendship is good for us!

  2. Georgette says:

    Loneliness can feel so bad emotionally, that it doesn’t surprise me that it can have such an effect on people’s health!

  3. Patricia says:

    Ha! I MUST get out of the house more!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Ha this is kind of a more depressing look at the health benefits of friendship;) Makes you feel bad thinking about all those lonely people out there!

  5. Robyn says:

    Well, I’m often alone, but never lonely. I don’t think aloneness or not having too many friends necessarily means loneliness. Loneliness is a bad emotion; aloneness can be empowering.

  6. Carrie says:

    Awww I’m not surprised by this at all. Being lonely sucks!

  7. Amanda Thompson says:

    Thanks for sharing all of these simple blog posts on health. It doesn’t seem that hard after all to take care of yourself–get some sleep, spend time with friends, and boost your mood. Sounds like taking care of your body is actually pretty easy after all.

  8. Doug says:

    Hey Tina it looks like I’ll be the first guy to comment on this post…just wanted to say my kids love Danny the Dragon and are looking forward to the next book in the series. The Danny iPad app is their favorite. You have some great messages in your blogs. My kids like me to read them your blogs and they have been learning a lot of positive messages about friendship thanks! Doug

  9. Tilly says:

    Getting your kids out there and socializing is soooo important. I notice that there are some kids who are the “loner” type, but I always taught my own children to invite them to play and be polite to them. You may really be helping out some children markedly by handling their loneliness like this.

  10. Montana says:

    Thank you for this. I can really see now how important it is to have friends around to be a friend to others.

  11. Delia says:

    Thanks Tina I am a huge fan of your blogs!

  12. Denise Chappell says:

    SUCH a fascinating study.Thanks so much for sharing this interesting research. I look forward to more! XOXO DC

  13. Tiffanie says:

    I’m not surprised by this at all after reading about the benefits of friendship on your other blog (tinaturbin.com/blog for all of you guys who aren’t familiar with it–check it out!). I guess human beings are truly meant to be social creatures!

  14. Nina says:

    Oh boy, loneliness certainly feels bad. That’s enough of a reason to avoid it, but now with your health at stake, we MUST avoid it!

  15. Rachael says:

    Yikes, poor sleep, higher blood pressure, doesn’t sound good at all! Being alone is different from being lonely however. It’s a state of mind. Maybe just being unhappy leads to poor health. Who knows?

  16. Amanda Thompson says:

    I was just reading about this on your other site, http://tinaturbin.com, and I’m so glad you’re sharing it with your Danny fans. I think it’s so important for children to learn how to socialize from a young age. I was pretty unhappy as a kid, and now I realize it’s because I had no friends!

  17. Madison says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I believe, if I’m not mistaken, that I’ve seen this on your other blog, http://tinaturbin.com.

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