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Elderly women who have more social back are more likely to live longer, a study claims. Researchers from George Mason University in the US examined perceived social support and its effect on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality. Even after taking into account factors such as income, race, and education that could have affected the results, the researchers still found that women in this age range who reported lower levels of social back had a higher death rate during the 10 plus years of the study.

As a matter of fact, they found that when women reported a very low level of social support, that indicated about a 20% greater risk of death during the same 10 plus years as compared to the women who reported very high levels of social support.

“Perceived functional social support, which we examined in this study, can include whether a person believes they could get emotional support, advice, or just company from others to do fun things with, which can help reduce stress,” said Nancy Freeborne from George Mason University.
“It’s a reminder that sometimes the simplest things - like reaching out to a loved one - can have the most profound impact,” Freeborne said.
Till date, this is the most important study to explore the impact of perceived social support on cardiovascular disease and mortality, researchers commented. The data from over 90,000 postmenopausal women aged 50-79 was collected over a period of 10 years.

The researchers suggest further analysis to account for perceived social support imparted via social media, the rise in cardiovascular disease among women since the data collection, and to analyze further age and gender differences to derive whether social support has different impacts based on gender or different phases in a lifetime.

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