Navigation Links
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health

More likely than mates to show signs of metabolic syndrome in strained unions, study finds

THURSDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- The cardiovascular damage wrought by an unhappy marriage may be greater for women than men, a new study shows.

While both men and women in "strained" unions, those marked by arguing and being angry, were more likely to feel depressed than happier partners, the women in the contentious relationships were more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and other markers of what's known as "metabolic syndrome," said study author Nancy Henry, a doctoral candidate in clinical healthy psychology at the University of Utah.

Metabolic syndrome is known to boost the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

While many studies have linked poor marriages with poor health, Henry said she believes her is the first to tie in depression as a possible route through which the strain boosts the risk of metabolic syndrome. "The negativity triggers the depression, which is associated with the metabolic syndrome," said Henry. This was found true, she said, only for the women in her study.

For the study, she interviewed 276 couples, median age 54, by questionnaires, asking about positive aspects of marriage quality such as mutual support and sharing, and negative aspects such as arguing, feelings of hostility and disagreeing over important issues such as kids, sex, money and in-laws. She asked about depressive symptoms.

Couples were married, on average, 27.5 years, most in their original marriage.

"For the most part, you could say, these were happily married couples," Henry said. About 20 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women in the study had metabolic syndrome (diagnosed when three of the five risk factors were present).

The men were as likely as the women to become depressed with marital strain, but the link between negativity, depression and metabolic syndrome only applied to women, she said. The depression in women accounted for the metabolic syndrome, she said.

Exactly why isn't known, but Henry speculated that women may take the negativity more to heart and ruminate about it more than men.

Henry can't say specifically how much risk of metabolic syndrome is attributed to the negativity. Earlier research has linked negativity in marriage with an increased risk of heart disease for both men and women.

She was expected to present her findings Thursday at the American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting, in Chicago.

Another researcher in the field called the findings interesting, especially the new focus on depression as a possible mechanism through which the strain influences the metabolic syndrome.

"The study raises the importance of increasing our understanding of how depression influences biological processes that result in metabolic syndrome -- and why these processes might be stronger for women than men," said Debra Umberson, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

The findings, Umberson said, fit in with her research finding a strong effect of marital strain on partners' overall health. But the gender difference finding differs from her research. "Basically, we find that marital strain undermines the health of men and women," she said, adding that perhaps the men in Henry's study had their health influenced in a different way.

More research is needed, Henry said, to figure out how the pieces fit together.

Meanwhile, Umberson said: "Choose your partner carefully. A strained marriage is bad for your health." If it's already strained, she said, focus on reducing conflict.

More information

To learn about improving a marriage, visit the American Psychological Association.

SOURCES: Nancy Henry, Ph.D., candidate, clinical health psychology, University of Utah, and clinical psychology intern, Salt Lake City VA Healthcare System; Debra Umberson, Ph.D., professor, sociology, University of Texas at Austin; March 5, 2009, presentation, American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting, Chicago

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. FamilyLife Offers Economic Relief and Hope for Baltimore Marriages by Inviting Recently Unemployed Couples to Attend Marriage Conference for Free
2. 80% of Caregivers Report Strain on Their Marriages
3. FamilyLife Co-Founder and Author Dr. Dennis Rainey Challenges Metroplex Couples to Celebrate Healthy Marriages this Valentines Day
4. Secrets to Long-Lasting Marriages Revealed in Senior Survey
5. Why Saying No to Foods May Be Harder for Women
6. Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
7. Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
8. Blood-Thinner Plavix Works Harder in Smokers
9. Mitosis gets harder thanks to new gene discovery
10. Older Women Have Harder Time Preserving Muscle Than Men
11. Digest This: Digestive Health Harder to Maintain Than Financial Health
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... Etymotic Research, manufacturer of ... of Companion Mics, the CM•4 Multi-Talker Noise Reduction System, as well as its ... Acousticians’ (EUHA) 60th Annual Congress in Nuremberg, Germany. , The conference and ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... , ... On July 22nd four military veterans departed the headwaters of the ... river to the Gulf of Mexico. Their mode of transportation: Old Town NEXT canoes. ... remaining for a November 22nd arrival at the gulf. , The excursion was developed ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Coeur d'Alene, ID (PRWEB) , ... October 12, ... ... opportunity for organizations to be a part of a contact channel benchmarking ... valuable insights and comparisons of key operational strategies for improving customer experience, customer ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , ... October 12, 2015 , ... NFL football fans who are interested in having ... a great cause. CLICK HERE to donate to Smile for a Lifetime (S4L) ... to win an all-inclusive trip to the 2016 NFL Super Bowl! , Donors contributing $20.00 ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... International law ... a contract with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) reported ... of its ReCell® Autologous Cell Harvesting Device under a U.S. mass casualty preparedness ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12 2015 ... the addition of the "Personalized Medicine, ... 2019 - Strategic Analysis of Industry Trends, ... their offering. --> ) ... "Personalized Medicine, Targeted Therapeutics and Companion Diagnostic ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... -- To help address the growing opioid epidemic in the ... Board of Directors is calling for a comprehensive ... the tracking of opioid prescription use; research funding for ... abuse treatment programs. David Ring , MD, ... "The new , AAOS Information Statement on Opioid Use, ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Minn. , Oct. 12, 2015 Device ... a need to help integrate these devices into existing ... of ergonomic healthcare mounting and mobility solutions, has launched ... lightest cart yet, for a wide array of laptops ... Cart SV10 was developed exclusively for Microsoft Surface and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: