Chapter 12 discusses the relationship between social connections/support and longevity of life. Social support was broken down into three main categories: size of social network, willingness to help others and support of friends, and lastly feelings that friends are there for you when needed. The authors state that the third element is least important when talking about health, which was backed up when they examine these feelings to longevity. However, the size of the network proved to very important to health, but helping others showed the most significant benefit of social networks. Another significant finding was that pets are not a substitute for social support. Pets alone do not increase the longevity of life. What bothered me about these chapters, was the lack of data. I felt there was a lot of broad statements that were not really backed up, such as feelings of support do not benefit longevity. Chapter 13 discusses how differences in masculinity and feminity correlate to survival. The authors found that masculinity relates more toward mortality, which explains the phenomena of women living longer than men. Women tend to be more feminine by nature, so therefore they tend to live longer. This also tells why men who do outlive their wives usually don’t live for much longer. These widowed husbands are not dying from a broken heart, but instead, they do not have a wife making sure they are on top of their health. But when a male is high in neuroticism, the widowed husband tends to worry about their health more.
I appreciated the test to examine our social support network. I would have hypothesized that I would score relatively high on a test like this and I was correct. I am a pretty sociable person with a lot of my immediate family living 15 minutes away from me. I also enjoy helping others and am often the “therapist” to many of my close friends. It was reassuring to know that helping others and just being apart of a support system for my friends is more beneficial than my own feelings of support. While I feel a lot of support from family, I do not always feel the same level of help from my friends that I offer them. So for this feeling to be the least important aspect of social support, makes me feel a little better about not feeling as much support from my friends. Chapter 13, aligned with everything I’ve seen in the past. My father would be classified as a “manly man,” never talks about his emotions and hated going to the doctor until recently. If not for my mother hounding him to take better care of his health, he would probably not be here today. It made sense to me that someone more feminine would be much more open to going to the doctor when in pain or talking about emotional struggles. When I was younger, I was just like my father and did not pay as much attention to the pains I was feeling. Had I been more open to doctors, I probably could have avoided some of my injuries.
For the future, I plan on continuing what I am doing. I hope to keep a large support system and to remain to be a support system for my friends. I enjoy helping others so knowing it aids in longevity is even more incentive to keep it up. I do plan on getting a pet or a few in the future, and it sucks knowing they can’t be a replacement for actual friends because pets love you unconditionally. But overall, this chapter just told me to keep doing what I’m doing, and the good don’t actually die young. Concerning Chapter 13, it told me to really value my health. While I still try to be the “tough guy” sometimes and brush off the pain, this will only increase mortality. While I can’t know when my time will come, I can do all that is my power to prevent in from coming any sooner than it has to be. By going to the doctor and not being afriad to talk about emotional struggles, I can increase my longevity.