Quality ties to others are universally endorsed as central to optimal living. Social scientists have extensively studied the relational world, but in somewhat separate literatures (e.g., attachment, close relationships, marital and family ties, social support). Studies of intimacy and close connection are infrequently connected to health, whereas studies of health and social support rarely intersect with literatures on relational flourishing. Efforts to probe underlying physiological processes have been disproportionately concerned with the negative (e.g., adverse effects of relational conflict). A worthy goal for the new millennium is promoting greater cross talk between these realms via a focus on the positive health implications of interpersonal flourishing. Vital venues for the future include mapping the emotional configurations of quality social relationships and elaborating their physiological substrates.
Abstract from Interpersonal Flourishing: A Positive Health Agenda for the New Millennium
Carol D. Ryff, Department of Psychology University of Wisconsin-Madison
Burton Singer, Office of Population Research Princeton University