Confiding in friends, not relatives, shows health benefits in older adults, following loss of spouse
Older adults who lose their spouse tend to fare better health-wise if they have a friend -? someone who is not a family member -? in whom they can confide. Why not a family member? A researcher explains that the emotional complexities of family can add stress. "Friendships are discretionary while family relationships are obligatory," she says, "and past research shows that obligatory relationships can be less beneficial than discretionary relationships during times of stress."
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