Research supporting the correlation between Relationships and Well-being:

According to the University of Minnesota (Center for Spirituality and Healing), research on wellbeing and relationships show that healthy relationships help us:


  • Live longer. A review of 148 studies found that people with strong social relationships are 50% less likely to die prematurely. Similarly, Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones research calculates that committing to a life partner can add 3 years to life expectancy.
  • Deal with stress. In a study of over 100 people, researchers found that people who completed a stressful task experienced a faster recovery when they were reminded of people with whom they had strong relationships. (Those who were reminded of stressful relationships, on the other hand, experienced even more stress and higher blood pressure.)
  • Be physically healthier. According to research by psychologist Sheldon Cohen, college students who reported having strong relationships were half as likely to catch a common cold when exposed to the virus. In addition, 2012 international Gallup poll found that people who feel they have friends and family to count on are generally more satisfied with their personal health than people who feel isolated.
  • Feel richer. A survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research of 5,000 people found that doubling your group of friends has the same effect on your wellbeing as a 50% increase in income!
  • Avoid Depression.Loneliness has long been commonly associated with depression, and now research is backing this correlation up: a 2012 study of breast cancer patients found that those with fewer satisfying social connections experienced higher levels of depression, pain, and fatigue.
  • Foster healthier immune function.The authors of the same study also found a correlation between loneliness and immune system dysregulation, meaning that a lack of social connections can increase your chances of becoming sick.
  • Moderate blood pressure. University of Chicago researchers who studied a group of 229 adults over five years found that loneliness could predict higher blood pressure even years later, indicating that the effects of isolation have long-lasting consequences. According to psychiatrists Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz, social alienation is an inevitable result of contemporary society’s preoccupation with materialism and frantic “busy-ness.” Their decades of research supports the idea that a lack of relationships can cause multiple problems with physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

American Psychological Association’s Help Center

Blue Zones research

Leaving Abuse


Conflict Resolution Network

CR Info 2013


Books & Articles:

Algoe, S. B., Gable, S. L. & Maisel, N. C. (2010). It’s the little things: everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 17: 217–233.

Berkman, Syme, S., Cohen (2001). Social relationships and health. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, 17, 5-7.

Brown, B. (2012). Brené Brown: How Vulnerability Holds the Key to Emotional Intimacy. Spirituality & Health; November-December. Retrieved March 11, 2013 from

Brown, B. (2012). How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. New York: Gotham Books.

Carlisle, M., Uchino, B.N., Sanbonmatsu, D.M., Smith, T.W., Cribbet, M.R., Birmingham, W., Light, K.C., Vaughn, A.A. (2012). Subliminal activation of social ties moderates cardiovascular reactivity during acute stress. Health Psychology;31(2):217-25.

Chapman, S.G. (2012). The five keys to mindful communication: Using deep listening and mindful speech to strengthen relationships, heal conflicts, and accomplish your goals. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications.

Cohen, S., Gottlieb, B.H., Underwood L. (2000). Social relationships and health. In Cohen, S., Underwood, L. & Gottlieb, B.H. (Eds), Social support measurement and interventions: A guide for health and social scientists. New York: Oxborg University Press.

Cohen, S., Doyle, W.J., Turner, R., Alper, C.M., Skoner, D.P. (2003). Sociability and susceptibility to the common cold. Psychological Science;14(5):389-95.

Dana, D. (2000). Conflict resolution. McGraw-Hill Trade.

DeVito, J.A. (2003). The interpersonal communication book. Pearson, Allyn, & Bacon, 10th edition.

Doe, M. (2001). Busy but balanced: Practical and inspirational ways to create a calmer, closer family. St. Martin’s Press.

Harris, A.H, Luskin, F.M.., Benisovich, S.V., Standard, S., Bruning, J., Evans, S. and Thoresen, C.  (2006)  Effects of a group forgiveness intervention on forgiveness, perceived stress and trait anger: A randomized trial.  Journal of Clinical Psychology.  62(6) 715-733.

Harter, J.K., Arora, R. (2008, June 5). Social time crucial to daily emotional well-being in U.S. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from

Hawkley, L.C., Cacioppo, J.T. (2007). Aging and loneliness: Downhill quickly? Current Directions in Psychological Science; 16: 187–191.

Hawkley, L.C., Thisted, R.A., Masi, C.M., Cacioppo, J.T. (2010). Loneliness predicts increased blood pressure: Five-year cross-lagged analyses in middle-aged and older adults. Psychol Aging; 25: 132–141.

Hendrichs, G., Hendrichs, K. (2004). Lasting love: The 5 secrets of growing a vital, conscious relationship. Rodale, Inc..

Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social relationships and mortality risk: A meta-analytic review. PLoS Medicine, 7(7), e1000316.

Jaremka, L.M., Fagundes, C.P., Glaser, R., Bennett, J.M., Malarkey, W.B., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (2012). Loneliness predicts pain, depression, and fatigue: Understanding the role of immune dysregulation. Psychoneuroendocrinology; pii: S0306-4530(12)00403-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.11.016. [Epub ahead of print].

Lambert, N.M., et. al. (2010). Benefits of expressing gratitude: expressing gratitude to a partner changes one’s view of the relationship. Psychological Science; 21(4), 574-580.

Kane, R., Kane, N. (2002). From fear to love: Overcoming the barriers to healthy relationships.Moody Publishers.

McLean, R. & Jahnke, R. (2002). The circle of life facilitator training manual (15, 32). Health Action: Santa Barbara, CA.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion. New York: Harper Collins.

Peterson, G. (2000). Making healthy families. Shadow & Light Publications.

Rath, T., Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing: The five essential elements. New York: Gallup Press.

Richo, D. (2002). How to be an adult in relationships: The five keys to mindful loving.Shambhala.

Rosland, A., Heisler, M., J.D. Piette. (2012). The impact of family behaviors and communication patterns on chronic illness outcomes: a systematic review. Journal of Behavioral Medicine; 35(2), 221-239.

Uchino, B.N. (2004). Social support and physical health: Understanding the health consequences of relationships. Yale University Press.