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|Happily Married Couples Enjoy Better Health: Study by MRMICKMEN: 4:41am On Jul 08, 2013|
New US research finds that couples in happy marriages enjoy better health than their less happy counterparts over the long run.
In a 20-year longitudinal study tracking health and marriage quality, researchers from Brigham Young University followed 1,681 married individuals to see how the quality of their marriage affected their physical health over time. Findings showed that those in marriage with less conflict also were more likely to report good physical health.
"There's evidence from previous research that marital conflict leads to poor health," head researcher Rick Miller said in a press release. "But this study also shows happy marriages have a preventative component that keeps you in good health over the years."
Miller and colleagues measured marital quality in two ways, in terms of happiness and satisfaction as well as in terms of marital strife, such as arguing over money or in-laws. Subjects rated their health on a scale of one (excellent) to four (poor).
The results showed those with higher marital conflict were more likely to report poor health."The implication is that marital conflict is a risk factor for poor health," Miller said. "Couples that fight or argue frequently should get professional help to reduce their conflict because it is affecting their health."
Also happier marriages tended to inspire healthier habits and better coping mechanisms, such as encouraging each other to seek medical attention when needed, sleeping better, drinking less, and supporting each other after a stressful day.
"When spouses have a bad day, in a happy marriage, they're more likely to support each other and empathize with each other," Miller said. "That support reduces stress and helps buffer against a decline in health."
The study, announced Wednesday, appears online in the Journal of Marriage and Family.
In a separate study, Finnish researchers evaluating 15,330 adults found that married people are less prone to heart attacks than singletons and more likely to recover if stricken. That study was published earlier this year in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Access the new study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jomf.12025/abstract
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