Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Balance

Font Size

Happiness Is Contagious

Social Networks Affect Mood, Study Shows

Happy Friends Make You Happy

They concluded that the happiness of an immediate social contact increased an individual's chances of becoming happy by 15%, Fowler says.

The happiness of a second-degree contact, such as the spouse of a friend, increases the likeliness of becoming happy by 10%, and the happiness of a third-degree contact -- or the friend of a friend of a friend -- increases the likelihood of becoming happy by 6%.

The association was not seen in fourth-degree contacts (the friends of friends of friends of friends).

Having more friends also increased happiness, but having friends who were happy was a much bigger influence on happiness.

Fowler says the findings do not mean you should avoid unhappy people, but that you should make an effort whenever you can to spread happiness.

"We need to think of happiness as a collective phenomenon," he says. "If I come home in a bad mood, I may be missing an opportunity to make not just my wife and son happy, but their friends."

Richard Suzman, PhD, who directs the behavioral and social research division of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the study, calls the research "pioneering."

"These findings are very strong," Suzman tells WebMD. "From a public policy perspective, this research means we need to consider the societal impact on happiness, or obesity, or smoking. We are only just beginning to understand how social networks influence these things for good or for bad."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
Take your medication
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Hungover man
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Woman worn out on couch
Happy and sad faces
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
laughing family