Sense of Community

People who feel a strong sense of belonging are likely to be healthier than those who feel isolated or marginalized. When we feel part our communities, we are more inclined to take action to improve our own health and the health of others.

RWJF’s 2015 National Survey of Health Attitudes included a Sense of Community Index, which asked about, among other things, participants’ trust and recognition of their neighbors; their connection to local architecture, landmarks, and flags; and plans to remain part of their community. Younger adults and residents of metropolitan communities, in particular, reported a weak sense of membership.

Social Support

In addition to feeling connected to our communities, we need people in our lives that make us feel supported and accepted. Strong, meaningful social support–from a partner, friends, or family–leads to healthier, more resilient individuals and communities.

Using the social support items from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the RWJF National Survey of Health Attitudes found that while half of American adults report receiving the social support they need, those with less income and education are less likely to have adequate support.