Health, fitness and Food
Arguing with your partner is bad for your HEART
- People who think their partner is often unsupportive are more likely to develop heart disease
- Being unsupportive is actually more damaging to the arteries than overall marriage quality, say researchers
By Emma Innes
People who do not think their partner is very supportive are more likely to have heavily calcified arteries, new research suggests
Arguing with a partner isn’t just upsetting – it’s also bad for your heart.
People who think their partner is unsupportive are more likely to develop heart disease, a study has found.
Scientists at the University of Utah found people who say their spouse is sometimes supportive but also sometimes upsetting have higher levels of artery calcification.
This suggests their arteries are diseased and they are at greater risk of premature death.
The findings showed that when both partners perceive the support they get from each other as ambivalent – that is, sometimes helpful and sometimes upsetting – each partner’s levels of coronary artery calcification tend to be particularly high.
‘There is a large body of research suggesting that our relationships are predictors of mortality rates, especially from cardiovascular disease,’ said Bert Uchino, a psychological scientist at the University of Utah.
‘But most prior work has ignored the fact that many relationships are characterised by both positive and negative aspects – in other words, ambivalence.’
Dr Uchino and his colleagues were interested in exploring how this complexity in relationships predicts cardiovascular health.
The researchers asked 136 older couples – with an average age of 63 – to fill out questionnaires measuring their overall marriage quality, as well as their perceived levels of support from their spouse.