(CBS) Having friends adds to the quality of life and probably makes you healthier, right? That's old news. Here's what's new: Teenagers with chronic health problems, like asthma, have fewer friends than healthy teens do.
Young people are less likely to say they are friends with a student who is obese or chronically ill, says Dr. Steven Haas, an Arizona State University sociologist.
His findings are based on surveys given to over 2000 middle and high school classmates as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Interestingly enough, it seems like the sick teens don't realize they have fewer friends than their peers, according to researchers. Sick kids listed about the same number of friends on their surveys as did the healthy ones, but the healthy kids were less likely to put the names of the sick kids on their list.
From the report, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior : "We find important relationships between the health status of adolescents and the characteristics of the social network positions within which they are embedded. Overall we find that adolescents in poor health form smaller local networks and occupy less central global positions than their healthy peers."
In other words, insult to injury.
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