The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Friendships Make People Happier and Healthier According to Study

Friendship is of great importance for both individuals and society, making people happier and healthier. However, having many friends does not necessarily mean being less lonely. This is according to a study by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, which found that loneliness is a bigger issue among younger people, even though they have more friends. The study, “In Good Company”, conducted by the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute (DWI) on behalf of the Migros-Kulturprozent, found that friends are an important supplement or even a replacement for family. The study showed that the average Swiss person has four close friends, eight other friends, and a circle of 34 acquaintances. Humor is the most important factor in forming friendships, followed by shared interests, political opinions, and educational level. One third of the respondents see their friends weekly or even daily, while another third meet several times a month. However, 50% of the respondents feel they don’t spend enough time with their friends. When Swiss people get together, they usually go out, party, or eat. The study also showed that personal encounters are more important than those online. Digital tools may help with getting to know people, but for most people, the virtual world is not suitable for friendship. Regional differences were also found, with the highest average number of close friends in the West of Switzerland (slightly over four) and the lowest in the Italian-speaking part (just over three). Overall, the number of close friendships in Switzerland is comparable to those in Germany and the US. The study was conducted through four focus groups of different ages, as well as a group of people who were not born in Switzerland but live here. The findings from these qualitative interviews were used to design a second, quantitative survey, which was conducted online with 3000 people in the German, French, and Italian-speaking parts of Switzerland, representative of regions, age groups, and genders.nnnnnn

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