Partners’ Support Influence Cardiovascular Health of their Spouses

By Vishakha Sonawane, Parent Herald February 08, 06:39 am

Spousal support can significantly affect one's overall cardiovascular health, a latest study states.

According to researchers, people with doubtful relationships can have negative effects on their heart.  For the study, they examined 136 elderly with an average age 63.

The participants were asked to fill out questionnaires to assess their overall marriage quality and to determine how they felt about the support they received from their partners. They were also questioned on the helpfulness and upsetting nature of their spouse during times when they needed support, advice or a favor.

"There is a large body of epidemiological research suggesting that our relationships are predictors of mortality rates, especially from cardiovascular disease," Bert Uchino, psychological scientist of the University of Utah, said in a press release. "But most prior work has ignored the fact that many relationships are characterized by both positive and negative aspects - in other words, ambivalence."

The study results showed that just 30 percent of individuals had supportive partners as opposed to 70 percent who said that they lacked any kind of support from their spouse.

The researchers explained that both partners' levels of coronary artery calcification tend to be particularly high when partners feel the support they get from each other is ambivalent, meaning that they're sometimes helpful and sometimes upsetting.

The participants also underwent CT scans of their coronary arteries during the course of the study. The findings showed that coronary artery calcification levels were highest when both partners in relationships viewed each other as ambivalent. However, the risk was significantly less when only one partner felt ambivalent.

The study findings remained same for both men and women. The researchers also found that overall marital satisfaction did not have a much impact on cardiovascular health.

The findings are published in the journal Psychological Science.

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