Social network structure and combating social disconnection: Implications for physical health

Allison K. Farrell*, Sarah C. E. Stanton, Emma M. Marshall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Disconnection from one’s social network has detrimental links to physical health outcomes, and there has been increased interest in treating social disconnection as a public health issue. Two perspectives guide much of the research on social networks, social disconnection, and physical health. One perspective emphasizes the quality of social ties over the quantity of social ties, whereas the other emphasizes quantity over quality. In this article, we discuss the importance of combining these perspectives to promote forming networks consisting of a few close relationships in addition to some peripheral ties to effectively combat social disconnection and maintain and promote better health. We also highlight important avenues for future research, including identifying critical moderators (e.g., age, culture) and using social network interventions to address issues of causality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Volume45
Early online date25 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • social networks
  • social disconnection
  • physical health
  • social relationships

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