In this period of the Covid-19 epidemic, maintaining social ties is particularly important. And for good reason: loneliness can have an impact on mental health as well as physical. To break the isolation despite physical distancing, the telephone has a primordial place. But a reflex that we all have could have an impact on health. Find out which one.
Sending SMS and emails is an integral part of our daily life. If it is a practical way to exchange with others, what can be the consequences of these means of communication? This is the question that two researchers from the University of Chicago (United States) tried to answer. In a new study published in the Journal of Expérimental Psychology, they point the finger at the sometimes negative impact of text messages and emails on social ties and, by cause and effect, on health.
Phone calls strengthen social ties
To find out, the two specialists asked 200 volunteers to imagine what it might be like to reconnect with a old friend by email or by phone call. Participants explained that a call would make them feel more connected to their friend. Still, they said they would prefer to send an email because they find the phone calls too annoying. The volunteers were then randomly divided into two groups: the first was to actually reconnect with an old friend by phone and the second by email.
The researchers found that the phone call went much better than the volunteers had imagined and that it strengthened the relationship between the interlocutors. “In terms of the actual experience, people said they formed a much stronger bond with their old friend over the phone than over the email, and they didn’t feel more embarrassed.”, specify the authors of the study.
The need for social ties for well-being and health
A phenomenon that researchers explain in particular by the importance of voice. “People feel much more connected thanks to voice-based means of communication, but they are afraid of being clumsy, which pushes them towards text-based means of communication.”, said Amit Kumar, co-author of the study.
A reality that takes on a whole new dimension in this period ofCovid-19 epidemic. “We are asked to maintain a physical distance, but we still need these social connections for our well-being and even for our health”, says Amit Kumar.
Proof of this is: numerous studies have shown the negative impact of the lack of social connection on mental health but also physical. The solitude would thus promote anxiety, depression, but also certain pathologies such as diabetes or the cardiovascular illnesses. A good reason to favor phone calls over SMS and emails!
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