Defining Social Connectedness [1]

Social connectedness refers to the relationships people have with others.

People are defined by their social roles, whether as partners, parents, children, friends, caregivers, teammates, staff or employers, or a myriad of other roles. Relationships give people support, happiness, contentment and a sense they belong and have a role to play in society.[1] They also mean people have support networks in place they can call on for help during hard times.

Social connectedness also refers to people joining together to achieve shared goals that benefit each other and society as a whole – this may range from working together as part of a business to contributing to their communities through voluntary groups.

One of the most important aspects of social connectedness is the relationship people have with a spouse or a partner. Studies have consistently found having a partner contributes to a person’s reported level of wellbeing.[2]

Several studies have demonstrated links between social connectedness and the performance of the economy and positive outcomes for individual health and wellbeing.[3]

Social connectedness is fostered when family relationships are positive, and when people have the skills and opportunities to make friends and to interact constructively with others. Good health, employment, and feeling safe and secure all increase people’s chances of developing positive relationships.

[1] Spellerberg, A. 2001: Framework for the measurement of social capital in New Zealand. Research and Analytical Report 2001#14. Wellington, Statistics New Zealand.
[2] Donovan, N. and Halpern, D. (2002) Life Satisfaction: the State of Knowledge and Implications for Government. Report from the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, London.
[3] Berger-Schmitt, R. & Noll, H. H. (2000), Conceptual Framework and Structure of a European System of Social Indicators, EuReporting Working Paper No. 9, Centre for Survey Research and Methodology, Mannheim.

From: http://www.socialreport.msd.govt.nz/social-connectedness/, a study to social connectedness in New Zealand.

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