Despite a July SAMHSA report revealing that suicide rates among middle-aged women have dramatically increased over the years, a new Gallup-Healthways daily poll of Americans’ well-being found that more women were optimistic about their lives than men, USA Today reports. Twenty-five percent of the women polled between the ages 45 and 55 rated their optimism about their futures a 10 out of 10, whereas only 17 percent of men polled felt the same.

But why exactly are more women optimistic than men? The key, say scientists from Healthways Research Center, could be their strong social networks. Women of that age are more likely than men to surround themselves with close friends, and researchers found that the more social interactions a woman had in a day, the more optimism she felt. The most optimistic women were the ones who spent about six hours a day in social interaction and had a circle of four to a dozen close friends who they believe “have their back and will drop everything to help in a crisis.”

Read the rest of the USA Today article

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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