The research, which has been published in the journal Psychological Science, suggests that being in a positive mood and spending time together can boost bonding, which is why some of us may have a harder time staying connected.
“The finding suggests that we may need to change how we approach social interaction to make it more enjoyable,” the researchers write.
“In this way, it may be possible to foster greater social connection and bonding in younger children and to improve their emotional well-being.”
The researchers also suggest that this could help children stay in the world more comfortably and develop positive relationships, which are a key part of the happiness and well-socialisation programmes recommended by the government.
They found that people who felt happy and connected during the day were more likely to do well in school, work and play, with a lower risk of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Our findings suggest that people in a high-quality and positive mood may be more likely than others to benefit from social and emotional enrichment and are more likely in the long run to be more satisfied and well,” they wrote.
Read more: Why are so many Brits so unhappy?
“In addition to the benefits, the benefits of social interaction, and therefore happiness, are more broadly shared across social classes and genders than people of similar socio-economic status.
This may explain why people of low socioeconomic status tend to be less satisfied than people from higher socio-economics, and why those with lower incomes and a lower education tend to have higher rates of depression and anxiety,” they continued.”
Overall, our findings suggest the value of being in an emotionally supportive environment may be higher than previously thought.””
We also found that the effect of happiness and social interactions was strongest among children and adolescents of low socio-status and lower socio-emotional functioning.”
Read the study: The effects of happiness, social interaction and social capital on child well-child outcomes