Marriage May Be Detrimental to Your Health
> 4/19/2006 2:46:44 PM

For years scientists and researchers have understood the benefits of being married. Way back on Valentine's Day, we wrote about the positive effects that a healthy relationship can have on your health. And while those conclusions are not being debated, recent research shows that the negative effects of a poor relationship may be just as damaging.

According to a paper published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior by UT-Austin's Dr. Debra Umberson, the cumulative negative effects of a bad marriage can speed the deleterious health effects that come with age. Reuters explained in their health coverage:

Overall, the study found, men and women who reported more marital strain also reported a steeper decline in their health over time. But when the researchers separated study participants into three age groups - those ages 30, 50 and 70 at the study's start - only the oldest group showed negative health effects.

Similarly, only older adults showed health benefits from a happy marriage.

"Unhappily married individuals have yet another reason to identify marital difficulties and seek to improve marital quality," Umberson and her colleagues conclude. "Their very health may depend on it."

It is not surprising that Umberson, et al. would come to these findings. The stress that a poor relationship can cause is very bad for overall health. Like many other forms of stress, that caused by a bad marriage can wreck a person's health from the inside out. As Umberson notes, smoothing over tough patches in a marriage may be difficult, but it also may be necessary. Seeking counseling, especially after many years of marriage can be difficult, but, if for no other reason, the change in life-span is more than worth the effort.

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