Navigation Links
Relationship Worries Can Make You Sick

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Feeling insecure and frequently anxious about your romantic relationship can actually harm your health, new research contends.

The feelings may boost levels of a stress hormone and lower your immune system, according to Ohio State researchers.

In their study, married couples who were often anxious about their relationship -- wondering if their partner truly loved them, for example -- had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and lower levels of T-cells, which are important in the immune system to fight off infections, lead author Lisa Jaremka said.

"These concerns about rejection and whether or not you are truly cared for do have physiological consequences that could, in the long-term, negatively affect health," said Jaremka, a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

The study was recently published online and will appear in an upcoming print issue of Psychological Science.

Jaremka said she was not describing the normal now-and-then concerns about a relationship. "Everybody has these thoughts and feelings sometimes," she said. "They are a natural part of being in a relationship."

But for the highly anxious, she added, "it's a chronic thing."

Jaremka studied 85 couples, all married for an average of more than 12 years. Most were white. Their average age was 39. All the partners reported their general anxiety levels and symptoms, and answered questions about their marriage and about their sleep quality.

The couples were generally healthy. Those with wives who were expecting a baby, or who drank excess alcohol or caffeine or had health problems affecting the immune system were all excluded.

The couples provided saliva samples over three days and blood samples twice. From these, the research team measured levels of cortisol and T-cells.

Participants with higher levels of anxiety about the marriage produced about 11 percent more cortisol than those with lower anxiety levels. Spouses with higher anxiety levels had between 11 percent and 22 percent lower levels of T cells than those with less anxiety.

Jaremka said the two findings are likely linked, because cortisol can hamper production of T-cells.

The study found a link or association between relationship anxiety and the body's stress and immune response, but cannot prove cause and effect.

While the study did not track whether the highly anxious partners got sick more often, the link is reasonable, Jaremka said, based on other research about the ill effects of chronically high stress hormone levels.

"A lot of the negative consequences of high cortisol are beyond the common flu," she said. Rather, she added, high level have been linked to heart problems, sleep problems, depression and other conditions.

Another expert who also studies attachment styles said the link between attachment anxiety and stress is not new, but the link to immune system function is newer. And it is "not that surprising," said Jeni Burnette, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Richmond, in Virginia.

Until more research is in, Jaremka suggests people who are highly anxious in relationships work on reducing their stress. Reduce stress by yoga or other exercise or meditation, she suggested. That would lower cortisol, presumably, and help their health.

Burnette suggested that highly anxious partners might also try to be more forgiving, and not keep replaying negative events such as arguments. "Some of our work suggests that anxiously attached individuals are less forgiving and tend to respond with more rumination," she said.

The study was supported by an American Cancer Society grant, a Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State fellowship and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

More information

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

SOURCES: Lisa Jaremka, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Ohio State University; Jeni Burnette, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, University of Richmond, Va.; Jan. 10, 2013, Psychological Science, online

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Expert Marriage & Relationship Therapist Is Offering Free Professional Assistance To Porn Addicts
2. Marriage & Relationship Therapist Launches A Website To Help Porn Addicts
3. Porn Addicts Can Now Find Free Professional Assistance from a Relationship & Marriage Therapist’s New Website
4. Breakthrough Brings Transparency to Male/Female Relationships
5. A stronger doctor-patient relationship for the costliest patients
6. Studying couples to improve health, better relationships
7. Lets talk: The nature of the health care surrogate-clinician relationship
8. Internists recommend principles on role of governments in regulating patient-physician relationship
9. Study examines the relationship between marriage and alcohol
10. Divorced parents in hostile relationships use technology to sabotage communication, MU study finds
11. During IVF sexual relationships, satisfaction, can suffer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Relationship Worries Can Make You Sick
(Date:11/27/2015)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... new study carried out by the University of Toronto and the University of British ... number of hospitalizations for head injuries. The article explains that part of the reason ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... An ... way to dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented the patent-pending ELECTRONIC ... and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could help to prevent potential ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is a set ... With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add an informative sidebar to any ... opener. Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text with the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in America", ... delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to providing ... this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a time. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The men and ... nonprofit healthcare organizations in the country. They have overseen financial turnarounds, shown commitment ... advance the healthcare industry as a whole through their advocacy and professional efforts. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- ) has announced the ... Viscosity Drugs" report to their offering. ... of the "Self Administration of High Viscosity ... Research and Markets ( ) has ... of High Viscosity Drugs" report to their ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has ... Market by Type (Reagents & Kits, Analyzers), ... Diagnostic Labs), Application (Research, Clinical Diagnostics), and ... report to their offering. --> ... the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type (Reagents ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Brain Monitoring ... offering. --> ) has ... Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: