Social bonds at work boost health: study

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Health at work is largely shaped by the relationships and social groups formed there, according to a meta-analysis of more than 19,000 people published in Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Identifying with the people or organization in which one works is associated with better health and lower burnout, according to lead researcher Niklas Steffens, a post-doctoral research fellow and lecturer at Australia's University of Queensland.

“These results show that both performance and health are enhanced to the extent that workplaces provide people with a sense of ‘we' and ‘us,'” he said in a press release issued by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. “Social identification contributes to both psychological and physiological health, but the health benefits are stronger for psychological health.”

Steffens and a team of researchers reviewed studies of employees from 15 countries in various lines of work from service and health to military.

The positive psychological benefit may stem from the support provided by the work group but also the meaning and purpose that people derive from membership in social groups.