Friday, September 23, 2011

TRUSTING NEIGHBORS: Can improve health, Mizzou researcher finds

COLUMBIA, 9/23/11  (Beat Byte) --  Trusting your neighbors can improve your health, claims a new study from the University of Missouri, Columbia. 

"I examined both trust of neighbors and self-rated health," said Eileen Bjornstrom (left), an assistant professor of sociology in the MU College of Arts and Science.  "While most people aren't aware of how trust impacts them, results indicated that trust was a factor in a person's overall health."

Based on the 2001 Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, Bjornstrom's study found that, while taking into account factors such as level of education, income, and age, people who reported that 'their neighbors can be trusted' also reported better health on average.
 
She also concludes that shared neighborhood resources that help create trust may also improve health.  "It is possible that shared community resources that promote interaction, such as sidewalks and parks, could help bridge the neighborhood trust gap, and also promote health and well-being," Bjornstrom said.  "Residents of all economic statuses might then benefit if community cohesion was increased." 

The journal Social Science & Medicine published Bjornstrom's study.

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