Take comfort in this latest study into health benefits derived from social networks: that is that people who participate in larger social networks are better able to manage their pain than people who are not part of networks.

In a peer reviewed article in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Social Connectedness and Patient Recovery After Major Operations, researchers find that whether a patient has a social network in her life has a direct impact on health outcomes following surgery. In fact, the larger the person’s social network, the better the outcomes.

The study assesses social networks and their therapeutic potency, post-surgery. The variable of social networks is define in terms of the number of friends and family members that a person can identify, and how often they connect with these folks; and, how often the person attends social activities outside of the home, such as religious services, parties, and other touchpoints with folks outside of themselves.

The authors recommend that doctors carefully screen patients for social networks before surgery is performed to better manage postoperative outcomes.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: This research supports the rationale for information therapy which would prescribe that every patient, upon scheduling surgery, bolster their social networks. No doubt the surgical patient has a ride to and from the procedure. However, this report suggests that it’s more than transportation and a CPT-code that makes the patient whole again. For those people with high anxiety and depression, a broad social network is even more important. A limited personal support system limits health. Or simply put: it’s not good to be alone. Or as Bryan Ferry sings, Love is the drug!