Friends are more than just trusted confidantes, study

Friends are most valued in cultures where they may be needed most.


Friendship is the most wonderful relationship that anyone can have. It makes life sweet and pleasant.

A human being is a social being. A person always needs someone to share his joys and sorrows. Thus, he/she needs a friend to share everything about himself/ herself.

It plays a vital role in everyone’s life. While the true benefits of friendships can’t ever be measured.

According to a study, Friendships play a vital role in overcoming substantial challenges in life.

A new study by Michigan State University scientists suggests that friends are most valued in cultures where they may be needed most. The study found that placing a value on friendship was good for people’s health and well-being regardless of where they lived.

The study is the largest of its kind and included 323,200 participants from 99 countries. Using the World Values Survey, scientists gathered the data from multiple sources, including datasets on friendship, health, happiness findings; economic variables; and cultural variables.

Scientists found that around the world, those who invest in friendships enjoy better physical and psychological health, significantly older adults or those with less education. The benefits are especially evident in cultures that are more individualistic, unequal, or constraining.

William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology at MSU and the study’s senior author, said, “People who come from more privileged settings have a lot of resources that contribute to their health and happiness, but it looks like — for those who don’t have those resources — friendships might serve as a significant factor in their lives.”

“In today’s world, there’s a general feeling that we’re in a ‘friendship crisis’ in which people are lonely and want friends but struggle to make them. We show here that they’re beneficial for nearly everyone, everywhere. But why are they so hard to form and keep? That’s what we’re working on next.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Peiqi Lu et al. Friendship Importance Around the World: Links to Cultural Factors, Health, and Well-Being. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.570839
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