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Mental Health

Can relationships boost longevity and well-being?

Updated: June 01, 2017

Harvard research suggests meaningful relationships are a prescription for better emotional, mental, and physical health.

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 Image: © digitalskillet/Thinkstock

You probably know there are many ways to improve your well-being and chances of living longer, such as exercising more or eating better. But did you know that maintaining meaningful relationships also may play an important role in health, happiness, and longevity? "Good, close relationships appear to buffer us from the problems of getting old," says Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Eight decades of research

Dr. Waldinger is the current director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, an ongoing analysis that's followed more than 700 men since they were teenagers in 1938. More than 60 of the original participants, now in their 90s, are still taking part.

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