A network of good friends, rather than close family ties, helps you live longer in older age, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.The research team drew on data from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging (ALSA), which began in 1992 in Adelaide, South Australia. The study aimed to assess how economic, social, behavioural and environmental factors affected the health and wellbeing of people aged 70 and upwards. In total, almost 1500 people were asked how much personal and phone contact they had with their various social networks, including children, relatives, friends, and confidants.
Survival was monitored over 10 years. The group was monitored annually for the first four years of the study and then at approximately three yearly intervals.
The research team also considered the impact of factors likely to influence survival rates, such as socioeconomic status, health, and lifestyle.
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