Social bonds are related to health behaviors and positive well-being globally

Bahar Tunçgenç, Valerie van Mulukom, Martha Newson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


At times of turmoil – such as during natural disasters, social crises, or pandemics – our social bonds can be key to receiving support and gaining certainty about the right course of action. In an analysis combining two global datasets (N= 13,264) collected during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, this study examined how social bonds with close social circles (i.e., family, friends) and extended groups (i.e., country, government, humanity) relate to engagement in health behaviours and psychological wellbeing. Results revealed that only family bonding was associated with self-reported engagement in health behaviours. Being strongly bonded with both close circles and extended groups predicted less anxiety and depression, and better wellbeing, particularly for those who were bonded with more groups. These findings highlight that close and extended social bonds offer different sources of support and direction during the most challenging of circumstances, and that continuous investment is needed to forge and maintain both.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadd3715
Number of pages9
JournalScience advances
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).


M.N. is funded by a UKRI Future Leader’s Fellowship grant (MR/T041099/1).


  • Social Bonding
  • Health behaviours
  • psychological wellbeing
  • Identity fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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