Our relationships can impact our health and wellness. Studies show having close ties to our friends and community makes us healthier and happier. 

Relationships' Impact on Health

Having close friends and family can protect you from mental and physical illnesses and give you a better chance of recovering when you do get sick. Close social relationships increase your lifespan by about 26%.

Studies show that older people who experience loneliness are:

Important Relationships

Casual friendships, family relationships and romantic partners contribute to better health outcomes. Peer support and dedicated loved ones who act as caregivers positively affect well-being. 

Family & Friends

Patients live longer, happier lives when surrounded by people who care about them. Additionally, people recover from surgery faster and easier when they have more friends and family.


Patients with family or friends who act as caregivers tend to have better physical and mental health outcomes. Caring and supportive loved ones improve the quality of life and recovery rates for people with various health issues. Studies have found that family and friend caregivers offer better support when hospitals include them in medical decisions and educate them about their loved one’s condition.

Older patients are most significantly impacted by family and friends’ support. In fact, 2 in 3 older Americans rely on help from unofficial caregivers.

Peer Support

Peer support programs are helpful for mental and behavioral health and recovery. Peer support is when someone who has experienced similar problems gets professional training and helps others after recovery. For example, someone who has recovered from a suicide attempt may offer peer support to a person experiencing depression. Studies show that peer support programs:

  • Improve quality of life
  • Improve health outcomes for chronic conditions like diabetes
  • Decrease hospitalizations and the length of hospital stays
  • Reduce the cost of services

Provider-Patient Relationships

Strong doctor-patient relationships offer significant benefits for patients with all health issues. Research encourages providers to take extra time to get to know their patients and form a personal bond to improve trust.

Reports show patients with better relationships with their doctors enjoy better overall health outcomes. They also take better care of their health in the future and are more likely to avoid serious health issues.

Explore More Resources

Find community resources like food, housing and mental health services close to home.