If one is in an unhappy marriage, that person has a higher chance of developing a heart disease. A new study revealed that older couples who are in bad marriages have a higher risk of developing illnesses of the heart than the couples who live a happy marriage.
The study was conducted by a sociologist at the Michigan State University and was funded by the National Institute of Aging. The recent study was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and its purpose was to examine if there is any connection between the quality of the marriage and the risks of developing heart diseases. The study also tried to find out if age or gender influenced the relation between heart health and marital quality.
Sociology professor at the University of Chicago, Linda Wite and Hui Liu from the Michigan State, analyzed data of five years from more than 1000 married women and men who were part of the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project. The age range of the participants was between 57 to 85.
The participants had to complete surveys regarding the quality of their marriage and information about their heart health. The participants had to answer if the suffered from strokes, heart attacks or high blood pressure.
The results of the study showed that being in a bad marriage cause more harm to the heart than being in a happy, healthy marriage. Researchers found out that the risks of developing heart diseases increase by the age and the quality of the marriage affects women the most. The researchers said that the reason for this was that women are prone to internalize happiness more than men do.
As we age, the immune system declines and being in a stressful marriage can seriously harm the heart.
Liu said on the university’s site that:
“Marriage counseling is focused largely on younger couples. But these results show that marital quality is just as important at older ages, even when the couple has been married 40 or 50 years.”