Close friends make longer life more likely

Friends, not family, are the key to a longer life, a new study suggests. While previous research has found that strong social networks help older people live longer, the work had not distinguished between contact with friends or relatives. The new study followed almost 1500 Australians, initially aged over 70. Those who at the start reported regular close personal or phone contact with five or more friends were 22% less likely to die in the next decade than those who had reported fewer, more-distant friends. But the presence or absence of close ties with children or other relatives had no impact on survival.