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:10/13/2015)... Boulder, Colorado (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... launched the first high-tech foam roller with 11 hours of vibrating power. Tested ... to reduce recovery time and increase athletic performance. , Mark's background in sporting ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... The American Institutes ... college campus health staff caring for students who have experienced sexual assault and other ... the White House during the Violence Against Women Act's 21st anniversary. ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... M.A. (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... Sir ... service to the local Boston chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). This ... that has supported Sir Grout of Greater Boston since its inception. , “We believe ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... ... "My friend's son suffers from eczema, and he had a horrible habit ... Platteville, Colo. "I came up with this kit as a way to prevent children ... child from rubbing or scratching his or her face. This protects sensitive skin from ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... anesthesia and pain management services, today announced its partnership with WPC Healthcare ... data from disparate systems and organizes the data into an aggregated data repository ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Oct. 13, 2015 Attracting mid- to large-sized medical ... to growing Baltimore into a major ... by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) . ... pieces in place to support innovation hubs and a thriving ... Mtech Baltimore. "This study is important because we believe ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13, 2015  Graduate students ... care and medical research, will soon have the ... patient care – the drug discovery and development ... ) has collaborated with 10 leaders from academic ... "Making Medicines: The Process of Drug Development."  Lilly ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO , October 13, 2015 ... expected to reach USD 26.8 billion by 2022, according ... Anesthesia and respiratory devices, owing to their capability to ... expected to witness a substantial growth. --> ... reach USD 26.8 billion by 2022, according to a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: