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Poll: Seniors happy with less social time

Dec. 19, 2011 at 12:51 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- American seniors don't need as much social time with family and friends as younger people do to be happy, a U.S. survey indicates.

Overall, Americans' self-reported their mood improves with each hour of social time they spend in a day -- up to about 7 hours. This relationship is present among all age groups, but people age 65 and older are more likely than their younger counterparts to maintain a positive mood with fewer hours of social time, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index says.

The percentage of seniors reporting a lot of enjoyment and happiness without a lot of stress and worry increases more than 20 percentage points between those with no hours of social time the previous day and those with 3 hours.

Adults age 30 and younger, it takes more than 6 hours of social time to see as much of an increase in positive mood, the survey says.

Among Americans who report less than 1 hour spent socially the previous day, 30 percent say they experienced a lot of enjoyment and happiness without a lot of stress and worry that day, but that figure rises to a majority among those who report at least 6 hours of social time.

The telephone survey, conducted Jan. 2 to Nov. 28, involving 31,486 U.S. adults, has a margin of error of 1 percentage points, but subgroups have a maximum margin of error of 7.5 percentage points.

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