Those fights with your spouse could be literally killing you.
Marriages with frequent conflict could negatively impact your health, according to a new preliminary study out of the the universities of Nevada and Michigan — “as much as smoking and drinking,” researcher Rosie Shrout writes.
Researchers surveyed 373 heterosexual couples over 16 years. They asked participants whether they disagreed on topics like children, money matters and in-laws. Then, over the course of the study, they had participants track several health issues, including sleeping troubles, headaches and feeling anxious or fidgety, as the Guardian first reported. Couples who disagreed more reported more of those health concerns.
Furthermore, the more fights couples had, the more the husbands’ health was negatively affected.
Interestingly, the same wasn’t true for women. But Shrout says that “in general, wives had poorer health going into a marriage than men” — so perhaps men had farther to fall.
“There’s wide-ranging research showing that negative relationships is really harmful for your health,” Shrout, a doctoral candidate at the University of Nevada, says. According to previous research she and her colleagues looked at for their study, “people with stronger social relationships had a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships.”
Kristen Bomas, a psychotherapist, says that she’s definitely seen marital conflicts negatively impact her clients’ health.
“We have known for all of time that stress or negative emotions affect health, illness and injury,” Bomas, who’s based in Boca Raton, Fl., tells The Post.
Instead, she suggests the biggest way to overcome conflict — and to stay healthy as a couple — is through open communication. “It breaks the pattern of conflict and turns it into a pattern of healing,” she says.