Top scientists have confirmed what many of us already knew - going to the pub is good for you
- Credit: Archant
Pubs play a vital role in spreading social cohesion and contentment.
Scientists found people who have a 'local', where they regularly meet to drink and socialise, are happier and more engaged with their community.
Those lacking a local pub had significantly smaller social networks and felt less trusting of their neighbours, the study found.
Lead researcher Professor Robin Dunbar, from Oxford University, said: 'This study showed that frequenting a local pub can directly affect peoples' social network size and how engaged they are with their local community, which in turn can affect how satisfied they feel in life.
'Our social networks provide us with the single most important buffer against mental and physical illness.
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'While pubs traditionally have a role as a place for community socialising, alcohol's role appears to be in triggering the endorphin system, which promotes social bonding.
'Like other complex bonding systems such as dancing, singing and storytelling, it has often been adopted by large social communities as a ritual associated with bonding.'
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Data was combined from three separate investigations - a questionnaire-based study of pub-goers, an analysis of conversational behaviour in pubs, and a national survey by the Campaign for Real Ale.
Phil Cutter, landlord of The Murderers in Timberhill, Norwich, agreed with the study's conclusions. He said: 'The fact there's so much cheap alcohol in supermarkets makes people much more isolated, particularly a lot of elderly people.
'Yet we have old guys who come in here, who could be sat at home with a cheap bottle of gin, but they want to come here and be around people.
'I saw something on Facebook the other day which said no good story starts with 'I was sitting at home eating salad' and that's true. It's pubs where people have met their future partners and where memories are made.'