The word health is defined as a state of complete emotional and physical well-being (Felman, 2020). An individuals health can be affected in many ways by family, friends, and the community. Some of the ways that family and friends can affect an individual in a positive manner are contributing towards their emotional support and active lifestyle. The community can contribute to an individual by providing access to healthcare. On the opposite side, family and friends can have a negative affect on an individual as well. Some family and friends may be nonexistent in an individuals life or they may not be as supportive as one needs them to be. The community can also affect an individuals health and lifestyle by having a lack of access to healthcare.
Many people rely on their friends and family for emotional support. Some may look for advice or just need someone to listen to them. Others may find pleasure and happiness just being around those they love. There is evidence that has shown that social connections can affect the levels of stress in an individual which can then adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system (Harvard Health Publishing, 2019). Some individuals also enjoy doing physical activities with friends and families either because they are looking to live a healthier lifestyle or just because they enjoy the company. Friends and families can also be great motivators for those that need the extra push.
Although some families may provide the love and support that some may need, there are other individuals that either do not have family and friends or they do but they are not as supportive as an individual may need. If a person looks for the support from friends and family in an emotional or physical way and does not receive it, it may affect the individual physically and/or emotionally. The person may become depressed or stressed which can then lead to a sedentary lifestyle and create health risks. There are studies that show negative relationships with family and friends can lead to poorer health which can then reduce the life expectancy of an individual (Harvard Health Publishing, 2019).
The community has a great effect on an individuals health and lifestyle. There are many factors that contribute to it as well. If an individual lives in a higher population area, the healthcare accessibility is much better than those that live in a rural area. An individual would have more options for transportation to reach the healthcare services, there would be more services for indigent individuals, more resources readily available, and a greater variety of healthcare services. Those in a rural area may struggle to get transportation, have limited resources, and lack of knowledge of healthcare services available to them. Not having the resources, education, or accessibility available to individuals would greatly decrease the over health of an individual and would also decrease the life expectancy.
Felman, Adam. (2020, April 19). What is Good Health? Retrieved from: Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, August 6). The Health Benefits of Strong Relationships. Retrieved from:
Social factors such as family, friends, and community play a significant role in an individual’s health outcome. Humans are social beings that were created to be around other people and to interact with each other. Therefore, the social interaction between a person and his family, friends, and community within society has several health benefits and negative effects. There is a higher probability that individuals who fit into society are more content; thus, they become physically healthier and mentally stable. Foremost, a positive relationship and interaction with friends, family, and community help a person avoid mental illnesses.
Support, care, and love from family members, friends, and community promote happiness and help individuals deal with various problems they face in society. Friends and family often give support and care to their loved ones, helping them reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which are primary causes of mental illness (Pössel, Burton, Cauley, Sawyer, Spence & Sheffield, 2018). Therefore the care, support, and love help reduce stress and other causes of mental illnesses in society. Individuals experiencing love, care, and support from family, community, and friends may feel a greater sense of self-worth and confidence, promoting their well-being. Optimism, self-esteem, confidence, and greater self-worth positively affect people’s mental health and well-being.
Family members and friends also play a role in shaping others’ behavior by providing encouragement and support for a healthier lifestyle and behavior. For instance, friends and family encourage each other to engage in physical exercise and healthy eating habits for positive well-being (Pössel et al., 2018). Friends can encourage each other to engage in physical exercises so that they remain fit. Family plays an integral role in healthy eating habits because they may encourage their loved ones to consume fewer fats and sugars, which may cause obesity and diabetes.
Family, friends and community may negatively affect individual health and lifestyle. For instance, through the influence of friends and peer pressure, many people find themselves engaging in risky health behaviors such as alcohol consumption and smoking (Alvarez, Kawachi & Romani, 2017). Too much consumption of alcohol increases the chances of addiction and deadly diseases like liver cirrhosis. Cigarette smoking also causes lung cancer and other respiratory diseases that affect the health and lifestyle of individuals. Communities may also affect individual health and lifestyle through risky health behaviors such as pollution. Communities may have cultures that may have negative impacts on the health and lifestyle of individuals. Families may have a culture of unhealthy eating habits or excessive time spent on screens and social media, which affects their bond and relationship. Therefore, family may grow apart, and this may affect the health and well-being of children as they grow up in a toxic environment.
Family may also have a negative impact on individual health and lifestyle, especially those in distressful marriages and toxic family relationships. For instance, children who grow up in families experiencing domestic violence, conflict, and misunderstanding tend to develop negative psychological traits and attitudes (Alvarez et al., 2017). Children may develop stress and depression from negligence and child abuse in a toxic family; thus, their self-esteem and confidence are reduced, hindering them from dealing with situations.
Alvarez, E. C., Kawachi, I., & Romani, J. R. (2017). Family social capital and healtha systematic review and redirection. Sociology of health & illness, 39(1), 5-29.
Pössel, P., Burton, S. M., Cauley, B., Sawyer, M. G., Spence, S. H., & Sheffield, J. (2018). Associations between social support from family, friends, and teachers and depressive symptoms in adolescents. Journal of youth and adolescence, 47(2), 398-412.