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Relationships in general

“ Doctors came to see her singly and in consultation, talked much in French, German, and Latin, blamed one another, and prescribed a great variety of medicines for all the diseases known to them, but the simple idea never occurred to any of them that they could not know the disease Natasha was suffering from, as no disease suffered by a live man can be known, for every living person has his own peculiarities and always has his own peculiar, personal, novel, complicated disease, unknown to medicine. ” - Leo Tolstoy

Relationships are right at the heart of human health and wellbeing.  The first four sets of handouts listed below highlight the increased death rates, poorer psychological health and lowered wellbeing in those with worse relationships.  There is a rather confusing plethora of different questionnaires for assessing relationship networks.  I like the large amount of helpful information one can elicit from the "Personal community map" and associated sheets (below).  Sheldon Cohen has argued convincingly that social intimacy, social integration, and social conflict all make independent contributions to our health and wellbeing - we want higher scores for intimacy & integration and (usually) lower scores for conflict.  The community map overall question sheet and the associated brief three question current a

Relationships, self-esteem and health - first posting

Poor relationships damage our health.  Recent research powerfully demonstrates this point (Stinson, Logel et al. 2008).  In these studies, relationships were assessed in three different ways - relationship quality (closeness, trust, satisfaction), number of friends, and relationship stress.  Sheldon Cohen (Cohen 2004) has argued that these three aspects of relationships are all important in the relationships-health link - emotional closeness, broader social network, and low interpersonal conflict.  In this Stinson et al research, all three aspects were assessed and all three predicted subsequent health.  In the team's second study, they showed relationship stress (function) and number of friends (structure) were independently linked to health outcomes - the former a bit more strongly than the latter.  More stress and fewer friends both predicted more health difficulties.  Health difficulties too were assessed in three different ways - simply by asking participants whether they had developed any health problems during the study period, by asking about time off work, and by asking about visits to doctors.  Poor relationships led to increases in all three of these health indicators.

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