In social psychology the physical and mental well being is a major topic. Close relationships that are supportive and give a feeling of encouragement, affirmative and likeness are good for health. Jean Paul Sartre has said that “Hell is others” and all our relationships are filled with stress. Many times stress caused by family issues leads to numerous health problems. Many diseases like hypertension, coronary heart disease and immune system failure are caused by stress. (Robinson, 1999)Singer and Ryff in the year 2000 have talked about close relationships and its relationship with health. Lonely people tend to suffer with more health ailments as they experience stress. Research has shown that people who have close relationship with friends and family are less likely to die prematurely. (Ryff, 2000) The people who are relationship oriented, affectionate and outgoing have more friends and are more likely to be healthy. (Cohen, 2003)According to a study by Cohen and his colleagues in the year 2003 people who were more affectionate and outgoing did not catch cold virus in comparison to people who were introvert and were less affectionate. Studies have shown that married people live longer in comparison to unmarried people. They are also healthier irrespective of their income, age, sex or race.
Coan and his colleagues conducted an experiment on people who were married in a supportive and happy marriage. When the married women were subjected to threat of shocks through electric ankle shocks some were allowed to hold their husbands hand. These women’s MRI scans showed that the threat responsive area in their brains was less active in comparison to women who were asked to hold hands of strangers. These results were consistent to the belief that supportive relationships are conductive of good health. It is not only about receiving support from others but giving support to others is equally essential. In a study conducted on 423 couples who were married proved that
Married couples showed that those who provided social support had greater longevity. A finish study conducted on ninety six thousand widowed women showed that their risk of death increased to double in only a week after their partner’s death. So from all this data we know that there is a link between health and close relationship. People who have close relationships exercise more, drink and smoke less and eat better. But why this happens is it that family and friends bolster our confidence and self esteem. Or a supportive network is helping us to overcome stress. More than eighty studies have shown that people who have supportive close relationships enjoy strong immune system and good cardiovascular functioning. In a study conducted by Robin O’Heeron and James Pennebaker on surviving spouses of car accident and suicide victims showed that those who confided their grief with friends and relatives had less health problems. But the ones who kept their grief and sadness to themselves had many health issues on the near future. He even tried to isolate the confessional and confiding side of close relationships as he asked the spouses to relate to the sad events that are on their mind. Many of them who talked about the event stayed tense until they confided the event. Many confided that they were feeling better by talking about it and blocking it was not helping them.
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