Marital rows with a spouse are more damaging to men than women
Marital rows with a spouse are more damaging to men than women, with husbands being more prone to headaches and have trouble sleeping
- Researchers from the universities of Nevada and Michigan did 16-year study
- Asked married couples if they disagreed over certain things, and their health
- Women seemingly suffered no effect on health from disagreeing with partner
Arguing with your spouse can be pretty bruising for both husband and wife.
But it seems that in terms of the effect on their health, it’s men who suffer more.
A 16-year study by US researchers has found that if there is conflict in a marriage, husbands struggle more with headaches, have more trouble sleeping and are in poorer health generally.
Arguments about children, money and in-laws may raise stress hormones, which could cause problems down the line.
Lead author Rosie Shrout, from the University of Nevada, said: ‘A sense of belonging, feelings of trust, and feeling like your partner understands you are so important in relationships.
A 16-year study by US researchers has found that if there is conflict in a marriage, husbands struggle more with headaches, have more trouble sleeping and are in poorer health generally (file photo)
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‘When people disagree, and a partner is hostile, negative and withdraws from a relationship, other studies show this causes stress which can affect the immune system and be harmful for cardiovascular health.’
The researchers, from the universities of Nevada and Michigan, questioned 373 married couples in years one, three, seven and 16 of their marriage.
New worry for heart patients
Nine in ten people living with coronary heart disease are also struggling with other health conditions, say experts.
It means two million heart patients in Britain are coping with several conditions – placing a huge burden on the NHS.
The British Heart Foundation, which compiled the figures, warned that doctors too often focus on treating one health complaint at a time. The analysis found that 90 per cent of the UK’s 2.3million coronary heart disease (CHD) patients – those who have had a heart attack or suffer from angina – have at least one other long-term illness including high blood pressure, diabetes and dementia.
And 57 per cent of these patients have at least three other long-term conditions.
Men and women were asked if in the past year they had disagreed over one of six conflict areas: money, children, religion, their relationship with the in-laws, how they got on with their own families and how they spent their leisure time.
Then they were asked about their health, including if their health interfered with their work, if they were healthy enough to do the things they wanted to do, if they were having trouble sleeping, if they sometimes felt nervous and fidgety, and whether they were troubled by headaches.
Health was scored out of five, with a higher score being healthier. Low-conflict couples reported an average score of 4.07 at the start of marriage, but high-conflict couples were unhealthier from the outset, with an average score of 3.86. The difference in health between high and low-conflict couples 16 years into a marriage was not statistically significant.
However, the results were entirely driven by men, with women seemingly suffering no effect on health from disagreeing with their partner.
Husbands who disagreed about several topics reported poorer health compared with those who disagreed about fewer topics, particularly early in a marriage, according to results presented at the annual conference of the International Association for Relationship Research in Colorado.
Although disagreeing less had health benefits early in marriage, this effect eventually wore off.
The results were entirely driven by men, with women seemingly suffering no effect on health from disagreeing with their partner (file photo)
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