Ties That Bind

Published Online: Wednesday, October 1, 2003

    The relationships older women have with their spouses, family members, and friends may help ward off death. So claim the authors of a study, the results of which were reported recently in Psychosomatic Medicine. The study of 7524 women aged 65 and older discovered that older women with large social networks are less likely to die at a certain age, compared with women in smaller social circles.

    Marriage was found to be a key component. Although marriage and larger social networks may provide a protective effect on their own, the combination of both seems to be most beneficial, noted a researcher. The study found that married women who are more socially active may live at least 1 to 2 years longer than women who are more isolated. Even when factoring in diabetes, body weight, hypertension, and other medical conditions, women who were part of large networks dramatically reduced their overall risk of early death.

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