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Bad Relationships Are Literally Unhealthy, Says Study

If your heart aches, the rest of your body will follow suit
by Charlain Austria | Jul 8, 2016
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It might be better to stay single than to be stuck in a bad relationship according to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology last May 2016. In the study, the researchers found out that couples who have high-quality relationships are associated with better physical and mental health than those who are in relationships marked with constant stressors.

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This is the second study conducted by the same researchers to analyze how relationship quality affects health. The first study, conducted with an all-African-American sample, suggested that patterns of instability in relationships mattered when it came to depressive symptoms, alcohol problems, and how people reported their general health. Given those findings, the researchers wanted to see if the same patterns held true in a very different sample. 

Using the Iowa Youth and Families Project, a sample of all-white youth coming from two-parent, married families in rural Iowa, lead researcher Ashley Barr says about one-third of the participants experienced relatively huge changes in their relationships in a span of two years.

"We took into account satisfaction, partner hostility, questions about criticism, support, kindness, affection and commitment. We also asked about how partners behave outside of the relationship. Do they engage in deviant behaviors? Is there general anti-sociality?"


Barr says the longer people are in high-quality relationships—or the faster they get out of low-quality relationships—the better their health.

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"Health benefits begin to accrue relatively quickly with high-quality relationships and supportive contexts and then we see detrimental effects from low-quality relationships, particularly, those low-quality relationships that last a long time," she said in a statement.

If you're in a nurturing, supportive relationship, keep that relationship. If a relationship is constantly clouding your mind and judgment, it might be better to ditch. The anxiety and the depression that might soon follow are going to affect your overall health. If your heart aches, the rest of your body will follow suit.


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