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Friendly Workplace Tied To Longer Life: Study

First Posted: 08/08/11 11:01 AM ET   Updated: 10/08/11 06:12 AM ET

Being friendly with your colleagues does more than help your standing when it comes to office politics; new research suggests it can help you live longer, too.

A small study published in the journal Health Psychology found that people who said they didn't have good social support at work were nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to die over a 20-year-period.

"We spend most of our waking hours at work, and we don't have much time to meet our friends during the weekdays," Dr. Sharon Toker, of Tel Aviv University, told The Telegraph. "Work should be a place where people can get necessary emotional support."

The study included 820 adults ages 25 to 65 who worked 8.8 hours a day, on average. Researchers looked at their mental and physical risk factors -- like smoking, obesity and depression -- and included people in the study who came from a diverse range of fields, like finance, manufacturing and health care, The Telegraph reported.

By the end of the study, 53 patients had died, and most of those people didn't connect well socially with their coworkers, The New York Times reported. However, it's important to note that the deaths are simply correlated with their lack of work support, not caused by it.

The idea that having friends is good for your health isn't a new one. A study published last year in the journal PLoS Medicine showed that people with a poor social connections were 50 percent more likely to die over a 7.5-year period than people with a wide social network, TIME reported.

Here are even more ways that friends keep you healthy:

They Can Slash Dementia Risk
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Having a highly active social life can decrease Alzheimer's disease risk by a surprisingly high 70 percent, according to new findings published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. The scientists, based out of Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago had noticed a link between less-social seniors and dementia, but they weren't sure if early dementia symptoms were causing isolation or if friends actually do keep your brain healthier, TIME reports. Turns out it was the latter: "Each one-point increase on the social activity score was linked to a 47 percent drop in the rate of decline in cognitive function, the researchers found," the TIME article says.
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Filed by Amanda L. Chan  |