Yes, it is better.
Model the cable as two transmission lines: one representing the differential mode (signal to GND wire), stacked on top of one representing the common mode (GND wire over GND plane). For coax over GND, this is a reasonably direct model; for twisted pair, use ideal transformers at either end to place the CM mode at the midpoint of the DM ports (this version is shown above).
The signal couples into CM corresponding to wavelength versus electrical length, exhibiting notches in the frequency response at harmonics, corresponding to maximum coupling and thus CM emissions/susceptibility (which aren't necessarily an overall problem, for example the cable or system can be shielded overall; but if it is exposed, then it's a prime suspect).
So in short, it's good when the signal bandwidth (signal bandwidth or pulse risetime) is short or on par with cable length, i.e. at frequencies where the coupling is not excessive.
Note there's always some kind of "plane" environment which defines the CM or GND-wire-over-GND-plane impedance. Even if the distance to that plane approaches infinity (~free space). In the extreme case, a system might look like, for example, two boards connected by a loose bit of spaghetti: an end-loaded dipole, with the feedpoint inbetween being driven by coupling from the unbalanced pair. The CM impedance is still well defined in this case (antenna impedance).
As for particular cases, consider a 3.3V CMOS logic signal for example. Maybe the 2ns edges couple a good ~20% of amplitude into the gnd-GND loop, or to each other (which is fairly typical for multiconductor with alternating GND, whether as a round cable bundle, or ribbon style). The leading edge of a square pulse is attenuated by about this much, and rises more gradually afterwards (maybe with lots of ringing due to various kinds of reflections). Well, that's no problem because the input threshold is 30-70% (typical for CMOS; some are 20-80% or even worse though). So the receiver still triggers on the leading edge, and it's fine.
Meanwhile, that 20% signal loss corresponds to a massive some-100s mV CM signal, which will blow the hell out of your EMC test if it's open to the environment (unshielded). (Typical limits are in the <1mV range, ballpark of course, depending on what and how you're measuring it.) Conversely, that remaining 10% noise threshold is easily violated by a couple volts of noise from external sources -- commercial testing levels of 3V (conducted) or 3V/m (radiated) will easily induce bit errors.
If the alternative is very few GNDs at all, then the signals in a multiconductor cable simply couple into each other, basically looking like grounds with respect to a given driven wire. Which easily blows out the noise margin on the other wires, causing chatter at every receiver when an output changes state. The cable acts as a differentiator, coupling sharp rising edges between lines. Again, it's entirely dependent on bandwidth and length: if you filter all outputs (or enable slew rating reduction options, as many MCUs have these days), you can still get successful communication through such media -- assuming you don't need the bandwidth (bitrate), of course.
For example, this allows RS-232 to be carried on, well, it's not even bad with wet string if it's salty. RS-232 is slew rate limited to a bit under a microsecond, and current limited to some 10s mA, so it's quite modest on emissions, and tolerant of unterminated cables. Likewise, it doesn't take much filtering to avoid external noise sources. (And just to improve things even further, it's usually wired to a shielded D-sub (DE-9, etc.) connector, providing even more immunity.)
I've extended discussion to this webpage on my website: https://www.seventransistorlabs.com/Articles/CableModel.html