The increased risk was the same as observed smoking Or the ‘couch potato’ lifestyle, said lead researcher Shehar Lev-Ari, chair of health promotion at the Tel Aviv University School of Public Health.
Israeli men who expressed dissatisfaction with their marriage were 94% more likely to suffer a stroke during the three decades of follow-up, and 21% more likely to die from any cause.
By comparison, a history of smoking increased men’s risk of death by 37%, and an inactive lifestyle by 21%, the researchers said.
“Assessing marital satisfaction and evaluating the health benefits of marital education programs for young couples should be implemented as part of health promotion strategies for the general population,” believes Lev-Ari.
They may be more likely to counteract those feelings through unhealthy behaviors such as drinking alcohol, smoking, eating spoiled foods, or using drugs.
“When we feel good about our interpersonal relationships, we feel happy and engage in healthy behaviors,” said Brittany Lemonda, a senior neuropsychologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “When we don’t feel good about the people around us, we are more likely to engage in less-than-ideal behavior, worry more, and inhibit sleep“
For the study, Lev-Ari and his colleagues recruited nearly 9,000 male Israeli civil servants and city employees who took a comprehensive assessment of their health and behavior patterns. The research team then tracked the health of these men for 32 years.
Lev-Ari said the results are in line with earlier studies that have shown an unhappy marriage can take a toll on the longevity of both husbands and wives.
A 2019 study from the Journal psychological science found that being happy with your spouse could reduce your risk of death by 13% or more during an eight-year follow-up, Lev-Arie said.
“Studies show that educating and training young couples on positive psychology techniques, communication skills, and parenting strategies can be beneficial for developing family resilience and increasing marital satisfaction,” said Lev-Ari. said. “These techniques can be usefully applied as part of health promotion strategies designed for the general population.”
Lemonda, who had no role in the study, said that paternity is also commonly associated with longevity.
“It is possible that those in unhealthy marriages are less likely to have children or have a more stressful situation related to their children,” she said.
Lemonda concluded, “This study highlights the importance of healthy relationships and our need for strong social support and connectedness with the people we love.”
The new study was recently published in Journal of Clinical Medicine.
More about Harvard Medical School health benefits of marriage.
SOURCES: Shehar Lev-Ari, PhD, Chair, Health Promotion, Tel Aviv University School of Public Health, Israel; Brittany Lemonda, PhD, senior neuropsychologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Journal of Clinical Medicine, June 21, 2021