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Let me put add to the discussion from the other side of the world.

Jacob Moreno, founder of sociometry and sociograms, was reported in the New
York times in 1933 estimating from his research that there were 10,000,000
to 15,000,000 isolated individuals in America. Moreno pointed out that the
structures underlying society influences the conduct of society as a whole.
Now, we can display these previously invisible structures. Understanding the
psychosocial geography of communities, and the impact of the attractions,
repulsions and neutrality to one another, is more within our grasp. People's
choices to be connected or not, with one another and in groups are having
powerful impacts in our society, and a more recent finding, to longevity.

Lynne C. Giles et al of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, had
their research reported in 2005 in NEW YORK (Reuters Health)under - Looking
for the secret of a long life? Look closely at your friends. New research
suggests that having a strong network of friends helps people live longer.

"Older people with better social networks with friends were less likely to
die over a 10-year follow-up period than older people with poorer friends
networks,"  Giles said. "Of course, that is not to say that social networks
with children and other relatives are not important in many other ways,"
Giles said. Study after study has shown that elderly people who are
connected with lots of people tend to live longer lives. However, few
studies have examined whether different types of relationships -- with
friends, partners, children and other relatives -- have different effects on
longevity.

Giles's team set out to examine the relationship between various types of
social networks and longevity in a group of almost 1,500 Australians who
were at least 70 years old. Volunteers answered questions about their social
networks and then were followed for 10 years.

The researchers took into account several factors that could have influenced
how long a person lived, including sex, age, health and smoking status.

What the study showed was that older people who reported better social
networks of friends were more likely to be alive at the end of the study
than people with fewer friends. Similarly, people who reported strong
networks of confidants -- people with whom participants shared a close,
confiding relationship -- tended to live longer. Full article in the Journal
of Epidemiology and Community Health, July 2005. full repring at
http://jech.bmjjournals.com/cgi/reprint/59/7/574

regards, Diana Jones

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