Research shows that face time—not FaceTime—is the best way to fend off the blues.

Calling your grandmother just doesn't cut it.

A study published Monday in theJournal of the American Geriatrics Society notes that there are remarkable benefits to being physically present with a loved one—and they’re superior to the benefits of just picking up a phone for a quick chat.

The researchers used data from a University of Michigan longitudinal study called the Health and Retirement Survey, which surveyed 11,000 adults aged 50 and older between 2004 and 2010. The survey conducted waves every two years, so researchers were able to follow the participants’ progress over time. The survey measured a wide variety of health and social factors, including how much time a person spent socializing, with whom they spent this time, as well as self-reported signs of depression.

They found that participants who physically met with friends or family at least three times a week were the least likely to report depressive symptoms—just 6.5% of them reported such symptoms. At the other end of the spectrum were people who interacted with those close to them infrequently—every few months or less—who were nearly twice as likely to report symptoms of depression.

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Marissa GandelmanComment