Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 4th 2014 Contents A36
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Worries, conflicts and demands in
relationships with friends, family
and neighbours may contribute to
an earlier death suggests a new Dan-
"Conflicts, especially, were asso-
ciated with higher mortality risk
regardless of whom was the source
of the conflict," the authors write.
"Worries and demands were only
associated with mortality risk if they
were related to partner or children."
Men and people without jobs
seemed to be the most vulnerable,
Rikke Lund, a public health researcher
at the University of Copenhagen, and
her colleagues found.
The health-protecting effects of
support from a social network and
close connections with family and
friends are widely recognised, Lund s
team writes in the Journal of Epi-
demiology and Community Health.
"Less is known about the health
consequences of stressful aspects of
social relations, such as conflicts, wor-
ries and demands," they write.
To examine the influence of rela-
tionship stress on all causes of death,
the researchers looked at data from
a long-term study in Denmark. They
included 9,870 adults in their 30s,
40s and 50s when the study began
and tracked their health from 2000
to the end of 2011.
The researchers measured stressful
social relations by comparing answers
to questions about who---including
partners, children, relatives, friends
and neighbours---caused worry and
conflicts in the participants lives.
They also looked at answers to
questions about emotional support
and symptoms of depression.
During the study period, four per
cent of the women and six per cent
of the men died.
Almost half the deaths were from
cancer; other causes included cardio-
vascular disease, liver disease, acci-
dents and suicide.
About one in every ten participants
said that their partner or children
were always or often a source of
demands and worries. Six per cent
said they always or often experienced
conflicts with other members of their
families and two per cent reported
always or often having conflicts with
The researchers also found that six
per cent of participants had frequent
arguments with their partner or chil-
dren, two per cent with other relatives
and one per cent with friends or
People who always or often expe-
rienced worries or demands because
of their partners had double the risk
of dying compared to those who sel-
dom had those experiences.
Participants who always or often
experienced worries and demands
from their children had about a 50
per cent increase in risk of death.
Frequent conflicts also were linked
to an increased risk of dying.
Participants who always or often
experienced conflicts with their part-
ners or friends had more than double
the risk of dying, and if they argued
with neighbours, the risk more than
Having conflicts or worries and
demands, and not being part of the
labour force was linked to a risk of
death about 4.5 times that of a person
without those problems.
"I think it really adds to our broader
understanding of the influence of rela-
tionships, not only on our overall
health, but on our longevity---how
long we actually live," Julianne Holt-
Lunstad told Reuters Health.
Holt-Lunstad, a psychology
researcher at Brigham Young Univer-
sity in Provo, Utah, was not involved
in the study.
"There are a couple of other studies
that have shown that negativity in
relationships actually is associated
with greater risk of mortality, and this
study looks specifically across different
types of relationships as well and also
looks at the gender effect which adds
to our understanding," she said.
Hold-Lunstad explained that just
like exercise and eating a healthy diet
is good for health, fostering the pos-
itive aspects of a relationship can be
"But not all relationships are
equal---we need to be careful about
the negative aspects as well," she said.
Holt-Lunstad doesn t want people
to get the impression from this study
that ending all imperfect relationships
is the right thing to do.
"We know that social isolation is
bad for us as well," she said. "They re
probably both bad and that s why it
might be important to foster the pos-
itive aspects rather than just focusing
on cutting people out of your life."
People who always or often experienced worries or demands because of their partners had double the risk of
dying compared to those who seldom had those experiences, according to a study.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
raise risk of death
"There are a couple of
other studies that have
shown that negativity in
relationships actually is
associated with greater
risk of mortality, and this
study looks specifically
across different types of
relationships as well and
also looks at the gender
effect which adds to our
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