Do you feel healthy, both physically and mentally? If so, according to a new study in the August American Journal of Preventive Medicine, you’re also likely to be involved in your community and feel a sense of belonging to it — characteristics referred to as “social capital,” which include factors like community participation, volunteer work and comfort within a neighborhood.

The study focused on 944 sets of twins, ages 25 and 74, from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the U.S. More than half of participants rated their health as “very good” to “excellent.” Researchers found that “social trust, sense of belonging and community participation were each significantly associated with health outcomes” — regardless of genetics or upbringing, according to study coauthor Takeo Fujiwara. He added that 95 percent of participants saw an “absolute connection” between their good health and level of social trust.

The implication? “What society or community can do may change the health of residents, regardless of predisposing factors,” says Fujiwara.

The study did not find any effect from social capital on rates of major depression, however, and certainly there are plenty of other factors at work in determining one’s level of health — a dangerous occupation, inability to afford health insurance, and high levels of stress, to name a few.

Nevertheless, in a time when many Americans report feeling more disconnected than ever, Fujiwara and friends’ findings are an excellent reminder of the importance of maintaining strong social networks for overall health and happiness.



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 0 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Jun 2008
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Grinnell, R. (2008). Community Connections Mean Better Health, Study Shows. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 23, 2014, from


Recent Comments
  • Blufusion: For me that opportunity came in Sept of 2001. After working in TV Broadcasting for 20 at that time. I was...
  • mike: Thank you
  • lisa: The original post says at the end to call the police. As if I want to be forced into a crazy bin. I already...
  • nowiknow: My Lord, it has taken me YEARS to finally figure out who I am married to–an extreme narcissist. My...
  • Jeanne Melanson: I love this article. I have suffered from chronic depression for most of my 58 years. I’ve...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 6683
Join Us Now!