Study: Having Friends Can Improve Health

Category : Health

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. invest / ɪnˈvɛst / (v) – to give one’s time, emotions, or effort to make something successful or better

    He invests so much time in his new business.

  2. varying / ˈvɛər i ɪŋ / (adj) – not the same in amount, size, nature, or degree

    Students have varying learning styles. Teachers shouldn’t expect everyone to learn the same way.

  3. privileged / ˈprɪv ə lɪdʒd / (adj) – having special rights or advantages that other people do not have

    Only privileged families in our neighborhood can send their children to private schools.

  4. variable / ˈvɛər i ə bəl / (n) – a situation, number, or quantity that can change or be changed

    There are many variables to consider when coming up with a budget plan.

  5. maintain / meɪnˈteɪn / (v) – to keep having or doing something

    They maintain good communication despite their busy schedules.


Read the text below.

A new study by Michigan State University (MSU) claims that having friends brings health benefits.

According to the researchers, investing in friendships generally improves a person’s physical and psychological health. William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology at MSU and senior author of the study, said that friendships can help people have happier and healthier lives.

Aside from determining the effects of friendships on people’s health and well-being, the study also revealed that the benefits people get from friendships might vary. This is because different people give varying importance to friendships.

The study explained that older adults and less educated people who give more value to friendships are healthier physically and psychologically. People who come from privileged backgrounds might not consider friendships to be as important a factor in their lives because they have access to material goods, health care, and other resources that can make them happy and healthy.

The researchers pulled information about friendships, health, economic, and cultural variables from an existing survey to come up with their findings.

According to Chopik, the study offers a positive insight into the value of friendships and how they can be used to make people’s lives better. Close Relationships Lab, a research group founded by Chopik at MSU, aims to further study how friendships are formed and maintained, especially at a time when many people seem to be lonely and struggling to make friends.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think your culture highly values friendship? Why or why not?
• Do you think the findings of the study will encourage people to make friends or maintain their friendships? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What do you think is the greatest benefit of having friends? Discuss.
• How do you think people become friends (e.g. having common interests, sharing the same experiences)? Discuss.

Category : Health