Robert D. Putnam published a book in 1999 called Bowling Alone. Mr.
Putnam suggests that four decades of a steady decline in social commitment have
substantially changed American life. He makes a strong argument for a direct
link between social connectedness and physical health. After reading Mr. Putnams
work, we may want to consider adding a new principle to WIN Wyoming
encouraging a social connectedness. Here are some of the highlights from the
- Social connectedness is good for you. People who are socially isolated are
two to five times more likely to die from all causes investigated.
- In general, people are spending less time with other people. In the 1960s,
nearly half (48%) of all families in America with minor children were active
in the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association). By the 1980s this involvement
dropped to 17%. Participation in most organizations has steadily declined
for the last 4 decades (service organizations, church organizations, school
meetings, political rallies, etc.).
- Time spent with others for social or civic ends builds the sort of
community that everyone benefits from because people come to trust each
- For many families, commuting patterns have taken a big bite out of time
for social and civic engagements.
- Communities and families can help build environments that promote social
connectedness. Large sidewalks for pedestrians, gathering areas for group
events, and homes with front porches to invite dialogue with neighbors can
all help to contribute to neighborhoods were social contact becomes the norm
- Putnam found hours watching television to be the strongest factor
associated with the decline in civic engagement. In simple terms, the more
hours individuals spend watching television, the less hours they spend with
Source: Putnam RD. Bowling Alone. New York: Simon and
Compiled by Betty Holmes,
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