The health benefits of friends

Two Smiling Women Sitting on Wooden Bench
Experts say friendships are important to physical health.
Photo by Elevate

Studies have shown that friendships can affect your cardiovascular health, your immune system, your cognitive health and even the rate at which your cells age.

Yet Americans increasingly report that they have fewer close friends. According to a Gallup poll, three percent of Americans in 1990 said they had no close friends. In 2021, that number rose to 12 percent — a fourfold increase.

Guest host Chris Farrell talks with two experts about why friendship is so important and how we can form and strengthen the ties of friendship in our lives. 


  • Rebecca Adams is a professor and the gerontology undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She studies older adult friendship. 

  • Craig Sawchuk is a psychologist and co-chair of Clinical Practice and the Division of Integrated Behavioral Health at Mayo Clinic.

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