Want to Live Longer? Make Your Co-workers Your BFFs

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Live Longer Being friends with supportive co-workers can not only make your job more enjoyable, it might help you live longer. A new study by researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel and published by the American Psychological Association, says that "people who have a good peer support system at work may live longer than people who don't have such a support system."

"Peer social support, which could represent how well a participant is socially integrated in his or her employment context, is a potent predictor of the risk of all causes of mortality," the researchers wrote. In other words, the better you fit in and the more friends you make at work, the longer you'll live. Conversely, if you don't play well with others in the workplace, the resulting unhappiness and pressure are more likely to kill you.

Surprisingly enough, control and authority were more like to extend men's mortality, but not women's. Men who felt like they had control and decision authority at work also experienced this "protective effect," according to the study, published in the May issue of the APA journal Health Psychology. However, they found that control and decision authority increased the risk of mortality among women.

For the study, researchers rated peer social support as being high if participants reported that their co-workers were helpful in solving problems and were friendly. Control and decision authority was rated high if participants said that they were: able to take initiative; had opportunities to decide how best to use their skills; were free to make decisions on how to accomplish the tasks assigned to them; and had a degree of control over the tasks they were responsible for.

So according to the study, women generally would do well to figure out how to not stress about being in control and making decisions. But everyone would get by better and longer with a little help from their friends.


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