By Health In Five Writer
When it comes to your health, being willing to give social support to your spouse, friends and family may be just as important as receiving assistance, a new study suggests.
While researchers have long thought that receiving social support from others is a key to health, results from studies have shown mixed results. So researchers from The Ohio State University decided to see if giving support may also play an important role in health.
“Positive relationships may be associated with lower inflammation only for those who believe they can give more support in those relationships,” said Tao Jiang, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in psychology at Ohio State.
Preliminary evidence in the study suggested that the link between health and the willingness to help others may be especially important for women.
Jiang conducted the research with Jennifer Crocker, professor; Baldwin Way, associate professor; and Syamil Yakin, research assistant, all in psychology at Ohio State. Their study was published online this month in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.
The results show that the healing power of good relationships comes from the fact that the support is mutual, Way said.
“It may be that when people believe they can give more support to friends and family, these relationships are especially rewarding and stress-relieving, which reduces inflammation,” he said.
The study used data from 1,054 participants in the National Survey of Midlife Development in the U.S. These were all healthy adults between 34 and 84 years old.