Study Shows Emotional Support Could Negatively Affect Your Partner’s Health

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Can receiving a lot of emotional support from your partner be a bad thing for your health?

A new study found high levels of emotional support can turn into a health risk if that support doesn’t meet the recipient’s particular needs or prevents the recipient from developing self-sufficiency.

Researchers, who examined data collected from more 1,800 married or cohabitating middle-aged individuals, said emotional support is generally considered a positive thing for relationships, but that support can become a negative aspect when:


“Emotional support can turn into a health risk if

that support doesn’t meet the recipient’s needs.”

  1. The recipient feels their partner doesn’t really understand them.
  2. The recipient feels their partner “is trying to provide support because [he/she] thinks I am not capable.”

“Our findings add to a growing body of research suggesting that people’s attempts to provide social support are most likely to be health promoting when such support is perceived as responsive to the needs of the recipient,” said Anthony Ong, of Cornell University. “Conversely, support that is not quite paired with compassion is likely to be perceived as incomplete and full of risks. Over time, such perceptions can have big tradeoffs for our health and well-being.”

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