Is more always better? Examining the nonlinear association of social contact frequency with physical health and longevity

O. Stavrova*, D. Ren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Frequent social contact has been associated with better health and longer life. It remains unclear though whether there is an optimal contact frequency, beyond which contact is no longer positively associated with health and longevity. The present research explored this question by examining nonlinear associations of social contact frequency with health and longevity. Study 1 (N ∼ 350,000) demonstrated that once the frequency of social contact reached a moderate level (monthly or weekly), its positive association with health flattened out. Study 2 (N ∼ 50,000) extended these findings to longitudinal and mortality data: Although low contact frequency was associated with poor health and low survival rates, increasing the frequency of social interactions beyond a moderate level (monthly or weekly) was no longer associated with better health and longevity and, in some cases, was even related to worse health and increased mortality risks.
Keywords: health, mortality, social contact frequency, nonlinear effects
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058-1070
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • CORONARY-HEART-DISEASE
  • LONELINESS
  • METAANALYSIS
  • MORTALITY
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • SOLITUDE
  • STRESS
  • SUPPORT
  • TOO
  • health
  • mortality
  • nonlinear effects
  • social contact frequency

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