05/27/2014

Stressful relationships may raise death risk

NEWS

People who have stressful relationships with friends, family and at work may have an increased risk of premature death, according to a study from the University of Copenhagen.

Scientists examined data on 9,870 adults in their 30s through 50s between the year 2000 and 2011. Relationship stress was measured through questionnaires about which relationships—with partners, children, relatives, friends and neighbors—caused worry and conflict. The researchers then examined the influence of relationship stress on all causes of death.  

The researchers found that frequent conflicts were linked to an increased risk of dying during the study’s time period. Specifically, they found that people who had frequent conflicts with partners or friends had more than double the risk of dying. Additionally, they found that worrisome and demanding relationships with partners or children led to about a 50 percent increase in risk of death.

The study’s findings, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, suggest that both relationships that result in worries and demands and relationships in which there are frequent conflicts have significant health consequences. The researchers concluded that their study reinforces the importance of resolving conflicts in all social relationships and working to build on the positive aspects of those relationships.

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