Research Shows Stress From Bad Relationships Can Lead To Heart Problems

A marriage that's going downhill can affect more than just your sense of well-being: It can also raise your blood pressure and make you a target for health risks.

New research conclusions gleaned from more than 1,300 middle-aged black and white couples showed when both spouses feel negatively about their relationship, the stress a wife feels can actually raise her husband's blood pressure.

The participating couples, who'd been married an average of 36 years, were so in sync, they actually influenced one another's health.

Kira S. Birditt, the study's lead author, said married people experience "dyadic" changes to the quality of their relationship – meaning they feel interactions and relationship quality as a couple instead of as individuals.

Researchers didn't find the same correlations among individual people.

In a press release, Birditt explained,

We were particularly excited about these findings... ...individuals' physiology is closely linked with not only his or her own experiences but the experiences and perceptions of their spouses.

She added husbands may have experienced higher blood pressure in relation to their wives' stress because they normally depend on their partners to soothe them. That's not likely to happen when their wives are upset or angry.

Citations: High blood pressure? Blame your partner! Chronic stress of a bad relationship can negatively affect your health, experts warn (Daily Mail)