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Join a social group and stay connected

Have you ever wondered how you will fill your days when you retire and how you might make the most of it? It’s important to consider the kind of lifestyle you want before you retire, and the types of activities you want to take part in. Even more important is staying socially connected with groups of others while you engage in these activities.

A recent study, from the University of Queensland (UQ), focused on the benefits of social group memberships in retirement. Dr Nik Steffens and Dr Tegan Cruwys, from UQ’s School of Psychology, observed that retirees who joined social groups had greater life expectancy than those who did not participate in regular social group activities or lost some of their groups after retirement.

“People derive a sense of who they are from social groups. It provides them with a sense of purpose, meaning and belonging. There is evidence that the number of groups that a person is a member of is a unique predictor of self-esteem, resilience and mental health,” Dr Cruwys said.

“Group based interactions have a distinctive role to play in health and well-being over and above social interaction and social contact.”

As health and wellbeing benefits are linked to active lifestyles and social inclusion, belonging to a social group can greatly enhance your sense of purpose and connectedness within the community.

Having more time to spend with family and friends, volunteer, and join new groups that spark your interests is not only enjoyable but is good for your health.

When it comes to retiring successfully, researchers at The University of Queensland think that there’s more to it than financial planning. In fact their research shows that social planning may be just as important. The researchers are looking for people who are approaching retirement or have already retired to take part in a survey study which looks at the role that social networks make to retirement adjustment and well-being. If you would like to be involved, please click on the following link for more information: www.groups4health.com/g4r

To find out more about the group’s work (Social Identity Group Network-SIGN) and their research visit http://www.socialidentitynetwork.com. SIGN brings together researchers, teachers, and practitioners from around the world to advance and promote social identity research and theory.


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