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Health Fusion: Stress today makes you avoid socializing tomorrow

When you're stressed out, do you feel like hanging out with friends? Probably not. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares info from a new study about how stress makes people avoid socializing.

Researchers from Dartmouth College found that your stress level on one day will predict how unsocial you'll be the next day. And the effect might last up to two days.

Past studies show that animals don't want to hang out with peers if their yesterday was stressful. It's called "stress-induced social avoidance." The researchers say this study gives the first concrete evidence that it also happens in humans. For the study, the experts designed a special smartphone app for a group of students to use. The mobile sensing device measures daily activities, such as movement, sleep, time spent at home and social interactions.

In addition to finding that stress one day results in social avoidance the next, they also found something else: The more students stayed home, the less they moved around and socialized. And that may not be a good thing. Why? Because, they say stress can trigger issues, such as depression and anxiety. So if students get stressed and avoid socializing, they may be missing the benefits that being around people can offer.

College can be stressful and is a time when mental health issues arise for some students. Past research shows having strong social connections helps.

The research is published in the journal Emotion.

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For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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