Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Well being increases with diversity of social connections.

From Collins et al.


The link between social connection and well-being is well-documented: Happier people tend to spend more time with others, and people experience greater happiness while socially engaged. But, over and above people’s total amount of social interaction, which set of interactions—with which types of relationship partners (e.g., family members, close friends, acquaintances, strangers), and how many interactions with each type—is most predictive of well-being? Building on research showing the benefits of variety—in activities, experiences, and emotions—for well-being, we document a link between the relational diversity of people’s social portfolios and well-being. Assessing the social interactions and happiness of over 50,000 people reveals that interacting with a more diverse set of relationship types predicts higher well-being.
We document a link between the relational diversity of one’s social portfolio—the richness and evenness of relationship types across one’s social interactions—and well-being. Across four distinct samples, respondents from the United States who completed a preregistered survey (n = 578), respondents to the American Time Use Survey (n = 19,197), respondents to the World Health Organization’s Study on Global Aging and Adult Health (n = 10,447), and users of a French mobile application (n = 21,644), specification curve analyses show that the positive relationship between social portfolio diversity and well-being is robust across different metrics of well-being, different categorizations of relationship types, and the inclusion of a wide range of covariates. Over and above people’s total amount of social interaction and the diversity of activities they engage in, the relational diversity of their social portfolio is a unique predictor of well-being, both between individuals and within individuals over time.

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