Are you left out by your friends due to improper communicative techniques? Beware, as it may take a toll on your health. New research reveals that people with poor social skills may be at a greater risk of developing mental as well as physical health problems.
Social skills refer to the communication skills that allow people to interact effectively and appropriately with others. They are mostly learned over time, originating in the family and continuing throughout life.
The use of technology, like texting, is probably one of the biggest impediments to developing social skills among young people nowadays, the researchers said.
“We have known for a long time that social skills are associated with mental health problems like depression and anxiety,” said Chrin Segrin, professor at the University of Arizona.
“But it was not known definitively that social skills were also predictive of poorer physical health. Two variables — loneliness and stress — appear to be the glue that bind poor social skills to health. People with poor social skills have high levels of stress and loneliness in their lives,” Segrin added.
The researchers studied over 775 people, aged between 18 to 91 years, and were provided a questionnaire addressing their social skills, stress, loneliness, and mental and physical health.
The results found that the participants who had deficits in those skills reported more stress, loneliness, and poorer mental and physical health.
The study, published in the journal Health Communication, mentioned that while the negative effects of stress on the body have been known for a long time, loneliness is a more recently recognized health risk factor. It is as serious a risk as smoking, obesity or eating a high-fat diet with lack of exercise.