Chapter 5

Lecture and Slide Notes

"Social Health"

This week's chapter 5 is entitled "social health" and you will learn that every element in our lives is enriched by the people that we live, work, and play with. The ability to communicate, develop satisfying relationships, and live in harmony with others is an important factor contributing to our social well-being. The author will define active communication and discuss the most common gender differences in the ways that we communicate. There is also a discussion on the concept of relational love including the psychoological, anthropological, and biochemical views. The chapter will also cover the characteristics of healthy and troubled (unhealthy) relationships. The outcome goal in this chapter is to build confidence, competence, and understanding of the many elements related to developing/maintaining a strong social network and the ability to sustain healthy, long-term relationships.


In this chapter, you will learn to define social health; how to communicate effectively, the healthy attributes of various kinds of relationships; and the pros/cons of today's online social networks. Social health refers to the abililty to interact effectively with other people and with the social environment, to develop satisfying interprsonal relationships, and to successfully fulfill social roles. Supportive relationships protect people from stress, distress and disease.

A social contagion is defined as the process in which friends, friends of friends, acquaintances and social circles affect one's state of health. Health factors change in clusters for example:

Two skills that will improve communication include active listening and assertive communication. It is important to remember that men and women communicate differently:
Males tend to talk to demonstrate superiority; interrupt to get information; e-mails are brief and utilitarian; and Online conversations more likely to include strong assertions, sarcasm and disagreement with others.
Females tend to: talk to draw people closer; are likely to wait rather than interrupt; writing uses more words related to emotion; and e-mails are written similar to spoken word to build connection with audience.

How do healthy relationships evolve?
Healthy relationships evolve, they don’t happen spontaneously. Adolescents learn by observing “role models” on how to interact with one another. Most adolescents don’t receive any formal training for building, nurturing, and maintaining relationships, as a result it is a difficult task of learning how to foster healthy relationships. Loneliness is prevelant in our society with only about 25% of Americans say they are “never lonely”. In contrast, social phobias do exist in many individuals.

Dating on today's college campuses:

The three components of Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love include:

  1. passion (motivation to continue the relationship)
  2. intimacy (via a couples experiences and emotions)
  3. commitment (a cognitive component)

There are psychological, anthropological, and biochemical views Of love. Sternberg is one example of a phychological view or model. The anthropological includes a primitive, basic human emotion but historically, it pulled people together for child-rearing. The four-year ‘itch’ (cheating) is present across cultures. The biochemical view is related to the release of stimulants or neurotransmitters including dopamine, norepinephrine, and phenylethylamine. These substances create the physical symptoms of love and the feelings of well-being, security and tranquility of longer-lasting relationships. After initial infatuation, love causes release of endorphins, opiate like chemicals that lead to euphoria.

Dysfunctional relationships definitely can harm one's health. One must always beware Of abuse in relationships, including codependency, love addiction, and avoidance addiction. It takes a lot of time and energy to change a dysfunctional relationship. Always reach out to your friends and family for help if you think you are in an abusive relationship. Transitioning To Adulthood envolves the following:

Cohabitation has become more common today. There are pros and cons. The pros include getting to know a person more intimately, understand their habits and values better and financial savings. The cons include an inability to commit or marry over time. Also those who have previously cohabitated and left relationships are more likely to leave future relationships. In same-Sex couples, the relationship follows familiar stages. There is:

Marriage brings benefits and challenges. The benefits include better physical and mental health, a longer life, and less disease and common illnesses. Planning for marriage requires preparation and anticipation of common challenges require effort including managing money, keeping the flame burning with sexual activites and managing careers with family responsibilities. Unfortunately today the divorce rate remains at 50%.

The common threads in long-term healthy relationships include:

The best suggestions or tips for relationship success include:

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Last updated 09.04.2012 by rck