Why is a social relationship important

Social relationships promote health

Photo: © caia image-Alamy Stock Photo - PePa

Family, friends, clubs: social relationships are also important for health. In an interview, Professor Sonia Lippke from Jacobs University Bremen explains the value of social ties today.


Prof. Dr. Lippke, how do you rate the value of social relationships in our society? Have we actually become more selfish?

Social relationships are still very important and very popular. The previous scientific data over time give us no reason to assume that people have become more selfish or lonely. The change that we are currently observing is taking place in the areas of digitization, mobilization and demographics. Of course, this also has to do with changes in the way of living, for example there are more people who live alone. But fulfilling social relationships are of great value even in the digital age.

What role does loneliness play, especially in old age?

Women tend to feel lonely, but this is only statistically proven when people are viewed in partnership. When singles are surveyed, there are hardly any differences between women and men. Loneliness not only affects senior citizens, but also younger people, as a current forsa survey on behalf of Weleda shows. Studies have found three typical phases in life in which the likelihood of being affected by loneliness increases. For younger people, this is the phase when they leave their familiar surroundings after school for an apprenticeship or study or when they change their place of residence for work. For people in their mid-40s, a new phase of life begins as soon as the children are out of the house or become more independent. The previous life and the partnership change, your own needs become noticeable. Loneliness is then a feeling that can describe this state and triggers an impulse to get to know new people again and maybe to renew old friendships. In people over 80, social contacts are often fewer and their peers die due to impaired health and mobility.

What role do social relationships play in our health?

Social relationships are very important to health. They are the basis for social support, because this has a direct and indirect influence on physical and mental health. Above all, social support can buffer stress: If a person is stressed and there are friends there to help, then the stress can be dealt with better. As a result, health can be restored or not burdened so much in the first place. It is important, however, not to just have general social relationships: Yes, they are important, but they are not enough on their own. You have to have friends, acquaintances, family and neighbors and meet them regularly. Above all, however, it is crucial to get along well, to feel comfortable with one another. To this end, we are currently also carrying out a large project with expectant mothers and young mothers, their relatives and health professionals. In the project we develop support aids and will offer them in such a way that communication and thus social relationships can be improved.

Prof. Dr. Sonia Lippke, Jacobs University Bremen; Photo: private

Here you can hear Sonia Lippke in the original sound:



Active ingredients from nature are trendy: In addition to social relationships, a forsa survey on behalf of Weleda also included the choice of drugs in the for the third time Self-medication detected. According to this, it is important or very important for 90 percent of those surveyed that the drug has as few side effects as possible. 74 percent it is also very important or important that drugs the Self-healing powers stimulate the body. More than half of the respondents (59 percent) would like products that contain active ingredients from nature. A trend that has been confirmed: in 2018 this value was 59 percent, in 2017 it was slightly lower at 55 percent.