A Strong Social Network Can Have Health Benefits
The study by the National Institute of Mental Health monitored 34 young people and found one-to-one individual relationships tended to become more important for young girls.
There are many theories about the affect of friendship on our health. Here are some of the reasons why we all need friends -- male and female.
A study in the journal Cancer followed 61 women with advanced ovarian cancer. Those with social support had much lower levels of a protein linked to more aggressive types of cancer. Lower levels of the protein, known as interleukin 6, also boosted the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Women with weak social support had levels that were 70 per cent higher, and almost three times higher in the area around the tumor.
In 1989, David Spiegel MD, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, published a landmark paper in Lancet. It showed women with breast cancer who participated in a support group lived twice as long as those who didn't. They also had much less pain.
Other studies have shown people with fewer friends tend to die sooner after having a heart attack than people with a strong social network. This could be down to moral support.