Social connections on the job deliver psychological benefits, study suggests
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Your social links with your co-workers could have a significant impact on your health, researchers say.
"We are less burnt out and have greater well-being when our team and our organization provide us with a sense of belonging and community—when it gives us a sense of 'we-ness,' " said lead researcher Niklas Steffens, of the University of Queensland, Australia.
Steffens and colleagues analyzed 58 studies that included more than 19,000 employed people in 15 countries. They found that how strongly people identified with their work colleagues or organization was associated with better health and a lower risk of burnout.
The people in the studies were in wide range of occupations, including service, health, sales and the military.
The review authors said their findings show that social relationships in the workplace—particularly the social groups people form at work -- can play a major role in health at work. However, the study doesn't establish a cause-and-effect relationship, so don't panic if you're not in a social work environment.
The findings were published recently in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.
"These results show that both performance and health are enhanced to the extent that workplaces provide people with a sense of 'we' and 'us,' " Steffens said in a journal news release. "Social identification contributes to both psychological and physiological health, but the health benefits are stronger for psychological health."
The mental health benefits may come from the support provided by the work group, but also the meaning and purpose that people derive from membership in social groups, the study authors suggested.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers tips for staying healthy.