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Quality of Marriage Impacts Blood Pressure, Mortality

Quality of Marriage Impacts Blood Pressure, Mortality

New research reviews how marital stress can influence health and mortality.

In the study, investigators wanted to know if an individual’s blood pressure is influenced by their own as well as their partner’s reports of chronic stress, and whether there are gender differences in these patterns.

Researchers also wanted to determine if negative marital quality influences the stress-blood pressure link, and if this effect is different for wives and husbands.

Findings from the study are reported in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B®: Psychological Sciences.

Researchers discovered stress and relationship quality have both direct and indirect effects on the cardiovascular system, confirming previous research. They also discovered that it is important to consider the couple as a whole rather than the individual when examining marriage and health.

Overall, some of the findings were surprising.

In particular, this study revealed that wives’ stress has important implications for husbands’ blood pressure, particularly in more negative relationships.

Specifically looking at the effects of negative relationship quality, researchers found that effects weren’t recognized when examining individuals but there were when examining interactions between both members of couple.

“We were particularly excited about these findings because they show that the effects of stress and negative relationship quality are truly dyadic in nature,” said lead author Kira S. Birditt, Ph.D.

“An individuals’ physiology is closely linked with not only his or her own experiences but the experiences and perceptions of their spouses. We were particularly fascinated that husbands were more sensitive to wives’ stress than the revers, especially given all of the work indicating that wives are more affected by the marital tie.”

The investigators speculate that this emotional/physiological link may result from husband’s greater reliance on wives for support which may not be provided when wives are more stressed.

Source: Oxford University Press/EurekAlert!

Quality of Marriage Impacts Blood Pressure, Mortality

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Quality of Marriage Impacts Blood Pressure, Mortality. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 8 Apr 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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