The Importance of Social Interaction to Human Health

September 16, 2018  

By Céline Roi, Health Promoter at Chigamik

Socialization is an important predictor in determining your health and longevity. In fact, a recent study in the Journal of Health and Behavior states that social integration is the number one factor in determining your mental and physical health, followed by factors such as tobacco use, alcohol use, and diet, among others. In a similar study, breast cancer patients were monitored to evaluate the impact of social support on survival outcome, accounting for different factors. The results indicated that women battling breast cancer were 4 times more likely to survive if they had a good social group as oppose to the ones that didn’t have this advantage. According to the National Institute of Health, social interaction helps relieve and decrease stress levels, which calms the nerves and helps boost the immune system, leading to better biological outcomes.

Socialization can also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing cortisol levels, a stress hormone, in the bloodstream that can also contribute to bone density loss, increase the risk of depression, and limit the ability to cope with stressful situations. Furthermore, social interaction can help lower blood pressure, which decreases blood clots in arteries and decrease the weakening and narrowing of blood vessels that can be caused by high blood pressure and hypertension, and therefore, reducing the potential for stroke and heart disease. But evidently, social integration create a sense of inclusion and acceptance, which helps produce neurotransmitters that contribute to your well-being and happiness. Despite social media efforts to facilitate socialization opportunities, it is estimated that 1 out of 5 Canadians are socially deprived, which negatively impacts mental and physical health.

Culture is an important aspect of health because language, having a sense of community, and lifestyle traditions play a vital role in an individual’s positive behavior, which precludes illnesses by incorporating a sense of belonging. Chigamik provides a variety of free, social programs, culturally adapted to our priority population; Francophones, First Nations, Métis and Inuit, in addition to Anglophone health programs. Please see our program guide for more details.