Monday, March 30, 2009

You've Gotta Have Friends

If you have lost touch with old friends from BYU or elsewhere, here's a reason bigger than guilt to get back in touch: A study conducted by the Centre for Aging Studies at Flinders University in Australia found that individuals with a large network of friends outlived those with fewer friends by 22 percent.

The authors suspected that good friends discourage unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and heavy drinking, and the companionship provided by friends may ward off depression, boost self-esteem, and provide overall support. Also, as people age, they may become more selective in their choice of friends, therefore spending more time with people they like.

Close relationships with spouses and children, by contrast, has almost no effect on longevity. Lynne Giles, one of the researchers, emphasized that family ties are important, but seem to have little effect of life-span.

So give your old roommates, dorm buddies and mission companions a call (and check our alumni directory here if you need some help tracking them down!).

Contributing: Janessa Cloward
Photo: Loretta Humble

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