Roseto Effect: Could Your Community Save Your Life?

6 Steps to Create the Roseto Effect in Your Life

by Coulson Duerksen

I have often said that your community equals immunity. And it’s true. Just take the Roseto effect (more on that in a second). It’s no secret that all humans thrive on real connection, acceptance, and intimacy. Our bodies are profoundly affected by our interactions with those closest to us—our tribes. We are herd creatures, and with few exceptions, we do best, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, when we are part of a tribe that values us.

There are hundreds of studies that show when people have satisfying relationships they are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.  Some of these studies focus on short-term health benefits, such as fewer colds and flu. Other studies have looked at longevity showing that the quality of your relationships can lead to a longer life. For example, one study found that midlife women who were in highly satisfying relationships (including marriage) had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease compared with those in less satisfying relationships. Even more studies have found that people who are ill have better survival rates when they have social support. This is why there are so many support groups for people with cancer and other chronic illnesses.

Social connections that give you pleasure can influence your long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as other health-supporting habits, such as getting enough quality sleep, eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables, and not eating sugar or drinking alcohol in excess. One reason for this may be, as some research suggests, that feeling valued and supported in your relationships triggers the release of stress-reducing hormones.

What is the Roseto Effect?

Roseto is located by the eastern edge of PennsyvaniaThe Roseto Effect was discovered during a 50-year, longitudinal study of Roseto, Pennsylvania, a town settled by Italian immigrants, which showed that that being part of a community where elders are revered and people are nurtured by others leads to a significantly lower incidence of heart disease and other and stress-related diseases. Despite reported habits of smoking, drinking, eating fried foods, and contact with toxins and other occupational hazards related to mining, when compared to neighboring towns, Rosetans had half the incidence of disease. This was despite being similar in all other ways, including having the same water supply, income level, and occupational and race mixes. What the neighboring towns did not have were valued connections among community members.

This phenomenon became known as The “Roseto Effect.”

It is very common today in our society for social ties and commitments to end up pretty far down on our “to do” lists.  This may be because more people are realizing that the Roseto Effect is not apparent in their life. They are part of a tribe that does not support them — whether it’s their biological family, work colleagues, or neighbors — and they simply don’t want to make the time to socialize unless absolutely necessary.  Yet, so many people would rather “just go along” with their tribe than cut ties and find themselves without one.

The fact is, living without a nurturing social network can have many negative effects on your mental and physical health including:

  • Increased risk for depression and anxiety
  • Sleep changes (too much or too little)
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Substance abuse/addiction

In fact, the absence of support in social relationships has been shown to have the same negative health effects as drinking more than six alcoholic drinks per day or smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

In other words, loneliness is the new smoking! The same lack of social connection is also more harmful than not exercising or being obese!

How To Attract Your Community — Your Soul Tribe

Being part of a tribe that you feel doesn’t support you can be harmful to your health. That’s why its important to take the steps you need to create your own Roseto Effect by building your own social support network.  We’ve all heard the saying “your vibe attracts your tribe.” It’s true! You simply have to be willing to listen to what your Soul is telling you and let go of the cultural programming that is limiting you.

Here’s how you can create the Roseto Effect in your life, and attract your Soul tribe:

  1. Release your cultural programming. Dr. Mario Martinez has documented the ways in which all tribes wound the members who step beyond the pale: betrayal, abandonment, and shaming. Ask yourself if you are able to be all of who you really are within your original tribe. If not, there has never been a time in history that is more conducive to finding your true Soul family.
  1. Set your intention. Ask yourself the following questions when seeking new social connections: “What am I interested in? What have I always wanted to know, see or experience?” Let your answers guide you. One word of caution: As you seek out your Soul tribe, be sure to avoid the urge to bond solely based on a shared wound, such as incest, the loss of a child, or disease, because too often the wound becomes the only reason for the existence of the group. And, once you evolve to the point where you want to bring more joy and light into the group, you may find yourself shunned yet again.
  1. Open yourself up to new ideas. Start with yourself and do the inner work necessary to create a more supportive tribe. Many people are between two worlds here. They know that their old life doesn’t work, but they haven’t quite established the new one yet. Engage in some activity that helps you identify your needs and manifest your Soul tribe. It may help to meditate, pray, keep a journal or say affirmations. You may also want to create a home altar and fill it with objects that call your tribe to you. As you go through these exercises continue to release any limiting beliefs by writing them on pieces of paper and burning them or tossing them away.
  1. Reach out online. The Internet has given us endless ways to meet people. Relationship coach Diana Kirschner, who wrote Love in 90 Days, points out more people are finding love at all ages than ever before because of online dating and social media. The same is true for finding your Soul tribe. Social media is a great place to call your Soul tribe to you. Facebook groups can be a wonderful place to start and maintain relationships. Or start a blog and name the type of members you want to attract.  Remember, when using social media you may also find that you need to “unfriend” some people. 
  1. Practice stepping out. This takes courage. Almost all of us remember sitting alone in the middle school cafeteria. You can get stuck here if you aren’t willing to try something new on your own. Volunteer in your community, take an art class, or find a spiritual community that feels authentic to you. Just get out and about and you will immediately start to feel more connected. When you meet people you mesh with, invite them to be part of your tribe.
  1. Let go of your ego. Sometimes we let our sense of being “different” or “special” get in the way of belonging. The ego is good at protecting us, but don’t let it create a story of separation that distances you from the relationships you crave.  Years ago, when I was reinventing myself after my divorce, I believed that my “real tribe” was somewhere else. The more I released my old tribal programming about what I’m “supposed” to do, say, and think, the more my true tribe has assembled.

Remember that which you seek is also seeking you. Finding your Soul family is a process, but it’s so worth it in the end!

How have you created the Roseto Effect in your life and found your Soul tribe?  Please share your stories in the comment section below.


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  1. Pearl
    8 months ago

    How to find your tribe: They will find you ! After experiencing a life changing trauma where the loss of health, friends ,partner, career, and home occured, I discovered that this was the opportunity to start again in the most authentic and honest way. I decided to focus on prioritising my physical, emotional and psychological health, rebuilding my own boundries, and found that by clearing out the dead wood in my life has created room for new and wonderful people to come in! Like pruning , it stimulates new growth!

  2. Jean
    8 months ago

    Hi, I recently retired and found it hard being without adult female contact. I thought about how women in the past always thrived in groups, whether it was meeting for coffee while the babies slept, or belonging to a church committee, or a book club. Now, I would like a group of women who like to do art, writing, or crafts. Each person could work on their own project or several could work on a similar project. I want to be a group member and not the leader/ teacher. I don’t mind sharing, but I want to be nourished also. I feel that this would benefit a lot of “starving creative” women.

    1. Jodi
      7 months ago

      Hi Jean- too bad we don’t live close. I like your thought. Best.

  3. Nancy F Tossell
    8 months ago

    A couple of years ago I invited four women I liked to have coffee together. I simply wanted to spend some time with people I thought would be fun to talk to. The result is the “Coffee Buddies” and we are working on a site, BecauseWomenCare as we believe women need each other even more as we age.
    Whether you’re surrounded by family or on your own, your women friends can be one of your best sources of support.

  4. T
    8 months ago

    I am ( a female) in Sherman Oaks California. I am looking to connect with a local tribe of inspiration, spirituality, holistic interests and subjects of well ness, hope, joy, probiotic food making, crafts and such.
    this is new for me, and would appreciate suggestions.

  5. Susan Isaacs
    8 months ago

    Ten years ago, at the age of 60 I left the place I was born and raised in, brought my family up in to move 1800 miles away and begin a new life with a new man, leaving my entire family and all of my friends behind..I realized that I had to find ” something” that was MINE…I signed up for djembe drum lessons as I love music..little did I know that the instructor would be one of the most kind, caring, loving individuals I have ever met and that he, of course, would attract the same kind of people…it was the best thing I have ever done for myself…I found my tribe of the most wonderful people..there are MANY of us and we all exude love for one is a very inclusive group…they have made the transition so much easier for me

    1. Vannetta
      8 months ago

      What a courageous journey you have taken for yourself! I am at that very crossroad. I’ve lived almost 60 years in one place and long to see the world. I’m terrified to take that first step.

  6. Mary Ellen
    8 months ago

    Hi Sally Ann. My name is Mary Ellen. I’m very intrigued by the name of your church. Where is it located? I’m in the suburbs of Chicago.

  7. Ingrid
    8 months ago

    I am blessed beyond measure to be part of a worldwide loving community as a member of the Baha’i Faith, which found me about 20 years ago during my midlife crisis. But if you are not spiritually inclined, look for a group in your community called Gather The Women, which offers regular opportunities for sharing and friendship.

    1. Tammie
      8 months ago

      Thanks you, I am looking into it.

  8. Shalini Mehta
    8 months ago

    Hi Dr Northup,

    Great reading. Though I want to share my experience on this. I am a person who has a beautiful family, a healthy relationship with my husband and daughter. But I don’t have so called ‘social friends’ as I choose it that way because I spend lot of time meditating and indwelling. Spending time with God and talking to Him has made my life complete and fulfilled. I don’t have parents or siblings. The people whom I interact with are on social platforms, I’ve a healthy and respectful relationship. I am peaceful and contended, I am 44 years, by God’s grace I do not have any health issues. I lead a very healthy and purposeful life. While I’ve a member of an extended family who is a very social person who has lots of friends, interacts a lot with family members and has a wide range of groups. She is married to a person whom she loved but their marriage is devoid of any love. She has multiple health issues and her everyday life is always filled with some issue or the other. So I believe that instead of dwelling outward if a person indwells that helps a person to have a much more peaceful and contended life.

  9. N
    8 months ago

    There are no coincidences. I have been searching for my “tribe” this year! Using all sorts of ways to be positive, trying new things and trying to shed old habits. So far it has been more loneliness and heartache. I am an empty nester in a boring marriage. He has not felt this emptiness as he keeps on going with his life. But I feel I gave so much of me that it is taking a lot to find me and my tribe. It is challenging. I know I need to be with my tribe to feel whole and finally be truely me. Your blog was quite timely and I am hoping it is sign of better things to come. Thanks.

  10. Rhonda
    8 months ago

    I have heard about the Roseto effect, I believe it wholeheartedly! I like what you said about” community is immunity” Dr. Northrup. We all need support sometimes , to be able pull it from different sources. Family, friends ,and community would be great. Community My community is a tad bit stiff. I’m finding my tribe bit by bit! I’m in a health and wellness program, with some great people.

    Dr. Nortrup I believe you are part of my tribe. When I’m in need of anything related to women’s health and hip and happening! You are my go to goddess! You are teaching us all so much.
    Very grateful we are on this planet together at this fabulous time. Love ya

  11. Laurel Burnham
    8 months ago

    This is very cool. I live and work and organize in a small city in B.C. and we are grappling with many of the issues that others are. Homelessness, loneliness, drug and alcohol abuse and bad governance from our local government. At the same time it is a very lovely place with an amazing creative community. We also have an aging population. I am speaking at a local event and this “Roseto Effect” gives me great inspiration.

  12. Sally Ann
    8 months ago

    I’m still looking for mine, but I did join a group at my Science of Mind and Spirit church this year that has gotten me started on my journey.

    1. Karen
      8 months ago

      Sally Ann, I Wish I knew if you lived near me. I would join you in a group in a minute! I love Science of Mind and would love to have a discussion about the topics with someone

  13. Sheila Francis
    8 months ago

    I am about to start a ladies group in my home in January at Lake Oconee, Georgia. I live in a Del Webb active adult community and many women that live here are recently widowed, lonely, depressed and have NO joy in their lives. My old neighborhood I moved here from after 30 years had a network of women with 20 years plus of support. We had Bible study weekly in one home and several facilitators. The need here is great. This will be all religions and those with no religious connection. I just need a BOOK suggestion to get this group started.

    1. Marj Lenox
      8 months ago

      I started a group in 2002 at my church; I had just retired from a job where I had created many groups for many different types of people and needs. Now I needed a group. I used the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron to attract whomever wished to participate.. We did a chapter/week until we finished the book. Then we moved to meeting twice/month. We are still meeting all of these years and many books later and still relying on each other for support and friendship. Changes have occurred within the group, but it’s still the same core of women.

    2. Linda
      8 months ago

      The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a historical fiction book about women in WW II.
      Many of my empty nester female friends have loved and shared this book. I highly recommend it!

    3. Deborah
      8 months ago

      Sheila, You might consider the book called A Religion of One’s Own by Thomas Moore. It would be great for a group and is a large reservoir for differing responses.

    4. Ann
      8 months ago

      Spiritual Choice: Many lives, many masters by Brian Weiss
      Life is Real Choice: When Breathe becomes Air by Paul Kalnithie
      Historical Fiction: Orphan Train

    5. Ingrid
      8 months ago


    6. Janet Beyersdorfer
      8 months ago

      A book you may want to consider for your group is called Golden Words by Dr. Sally Stone. It is a great book to use with people of a mix of various spiritual practices. Each chapter lists positive, healing words for an alphabet letter. The author pairs the letter with meditation prompts and activities that can be used with any list word that a participant chooses. I know that the book has been used by book clubs. She has recently published a companion journal to the book on Amazon. She also has a website and FaceBook page.

    7. T
      8 months ago

      I just read one of the comments.. to look into “Gather the Women”. I checking out their site now for the 1st time. The teach how to form a group, and such. I see you ask for a BOOK- they may have that. I googled it.
      I too am at the preliminary stages of connecting with my tribe. I have to say I’m so glad to have come across Dr. Northrup, which led to me realizing many of us are seeking. Its encouraging and helping me to voice within my own self , how to see, imagine, and become again.

    8. T
      8 months ago

      From Gathering the Women: Start a GTW Circle or Gathering!

      Gather the Women is a global community of diverse women transforming distances, differences, and isolation into opportunities for collaboration and leadership. We invite each of you to take the next step in activating the incredible power of women’s wisdom.

      Contact your GTW Regional Coordinator (RC). She will provide you with information and support.
      If you don’t find an RC in your area, we invite you to become one!
      It’s an exciting, life-changing leadership opportunity.
      To find out more, please contact our Regional Coordinator Conveners Tu Bears and Lorraine
      Download our “Basic Guidelines for Calling a Circle” to help get you started.
      Creating a circle simply involves bringing a group of women together to start an ongoing conversation, and committing to set aside time and a space for the circle on a regular basis. In a circle, leadership is rotated and the circle decides as a group the direction it wishes to go. Circles can involve a meaningful movie and discussion, book studies, movement, meditation, crafting, and so on. Tools to Get Started

      1. Mary Cunningham
        7 months ago

        Hello Tribe Sisters! I have been a part of Gather the Women for eight years, including being in a number of different circles. Being with loving supportive women who follow Circle Principles has changed my life and now I lead several women’s circles of my own in my community. Just go to and register to feel welcomed by your Tribe. “When women awaken, mountains can be moved”.

  14. Jenelle
    8 months ago

    I’m a new mom of a 1 year-old and am disappointed that I haven’t found my tribe. I live far from family in Chicago and am longing for community.

    1. Annette
      8 months ago

      Consindrate on what you have and be what you want to attract and you will have the beautiful tribe your soul is asking for namascar

    2. Ann
      8 months ago

      My husband got a great job when I was pregnant with my second child moving us 1,000 miles from my family. I found a group called MOMS and it is a national organization. 18 years later these are still some of my best friends. If you can’t find one already established near you….start it!

    3. Marcia
      8 months ago

      My daughter lives in the Chicago area and has found a great deal of support and a great tribe theuba Facebook moms group. You might check into that! Good luck!

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