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Social networks: social identity & the importance of both formal & informal group memberships (what can we do?)

Circumstances are beyond human control, but our conduct is in our own power. - Benjamin Disraeli

   Social networks: social identity & the importance of both formal & informal groups (what can we do?)

 

key points: 

 

1.)  emerging research is introduced that highlights the great importance of personal social networks for disease prevention, psychological resilience & optimal wellbeing. 

 

Ch.13: Life Stages & Aging

Life is too short to be small. - Benjamin Disraeli

Research.  Stages/Tasks.  Vaillant.  Kohlberg.  Adult "maturation tasks".  Retirement.  Death.

 

 

Social relationships, group memberships and health: what we can do

I recently wrote a blog post "Social relationships, group memberships and health: background", where I described some of the mental & physical health benefits of group membership.  I mentioned too the recent research study "Greater number of group identifications is associated with healthier behaviour" where the authors write:"What is already known on this subject? Researchers from a number of disciplines – especially social epidemiologists – have investigated the link between social ties and health behaviour in the past. These researchers have shown that, overall, greater ties predict healthier behaviour.

Social relationships, group memberships and health: background

We know that relationships are important for wellbeing, for protection against & treatment of psychological disorders, and for improving mortality - see, for example, blog posts on this website such as "Strong relationships improve survival as much as quitting smoking", "Be the change you want to see in the world" "Friendship: science, art & gratitude".

Learning about aging from a trip South visiting friends

Catero, my wife, and I are just back from four days in the South visiting friends.  We're blessed with some lovely friendships but, partly because most of us live pretty busy lives, it's easy not to see people who live quite far away for months or even years.  A while ago we decided to at least partly remedy this, so we booked four days off our work and contacted old friends who lived along the South Coast of England, from Dorset through Hampshire to Sussex, to set up reunions.  We got back last night.  Over the four days away we saw seven sets of friends.  It was lovely ... really heart-warming, poignant, fun, fascinating.  And that's what I'm writing about here ... the fascinating bit. We saw seven sets of friends aging and we shared how we ourselves are getting older.  We range from our mid-50's to late 70's (Catero & I are in the second half of our 60s).

Purpose in life: reduces dementia risk, increases life expectancy, treats depression and builds wellbeing

I was struck by a paper published this month in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry - "Effect of purpose in life on the relation between Alzheimer disease pathologic changes on cognitive function in advanced age".  The authors wrote "In recent years, systematic examination has shown that purpose in life is associated with a substantially reduced risk of incident AD (Alzheimer disease), mild cognitive impairment, disability, and death.

Recent research: six studies on mindfulness, values & meaning

Here are half a dozen recent research studies on mindfulness, values & meaning - fuller details, links and abstracts for all studies are listed further down this page.  Hofmann and colleagues' meta-analysis on "The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression" found encouraging effect sizes for mindfulness training and concluded "These results suggest that mindfulness-based therapy is a promising intervention for treating anxiety and mood problems in clinical populations".  Meanwhile Barnhofer & Chittka underlined the toxicity of ruminative brooding with their demonstration that the well-demonstrated link between neurotic temperament and depression is mediated by "Tendencies to respond to mild low mood with ruminative thinking".  They conclude that "The results suggest that neuroticism predisposes individuals to depression by generally increasing the likelihood of ruminative responses to low mood&quo

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