Unhappy Marriages Linked to Unhealthy Spouses

C. Price
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Unhappiness in a marriage can cause a lot of personal problems, but did you know it can also affect your health?

New research, which was co-authored by Cody Hollist, the director of the marriage and family therapy program at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, found when married couples are unhappy in their relationship, their physical health can also take a toll.

The initial data analyzed for the research, which appeared in the Journal of Marriage and Family, was gathered at Penn State University and led by Richard B. Miller, of Brigham Young University.

Researchers culled their findings from data gathered from 1,681 married couples between 1980 and 2000, which examined marital instability on several variables.

They found older and younger couples each displayed maladies in greater numbers when there was discourse present in the marriage, even if the martial problems varied in scope.

“Couples displayed maladies in greater numbers

when there was discourse in the marriage.”

Among younger couples, for instance, issues of day-to-day sadness or a basic lack of compatible feelings were seen to affect the results.

In older couples, however, the health concerns were noted to surface under much more significant issues, including serious thoughts of divorce or long-term doubts about having married the right person.

Hollist said the findings should remind physicians that happiness at home is directly linked to health matters.

“As a physician, I need to pay attention to how your marriage is doing because I know that’s going to help improve your health long term,” he said. “As a therapist, I also need to pay attention to your health.”

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