ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Soccer's a Winner for Building Bone Health in Girls
CANCER
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
CAREGIVING
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Arsenic in Drinking Water Raises Diabetes Risk
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
FITNESS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Hoping for a Happy Family Holiday? Here's How
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
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A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All

For those feeling dissatisfied with a friend or partner, saying "thank you" may improve your attitude about the relationship, new study findings suggest.

It turns out that expressed gratitude isn't just good for the recipient. It strengthens the relationship by causing the person expressing thanks to feel more responsible for their partner's welfare.

While previous research on gratitude has found that expressions of thanks strengthen a relationship by increasing satisfaction with it, the new research, published online recently in Psychological Science, looked at the effect of expressed gratitude on what psychologists call "communal strength" -- the degree of responsibility one partner or friend feels for another.

Gratitude, when expressed, boosted that communal strength, according to the study's lead author, Nathaniel Lambert, a research associate at Florida State University in Tallahassee. The finding makes sense because "when you express gratitude to someone, you are focusing on the good things that person has done for you," he said. "It makes you see them in a more positive light and helps you to focus in on their good traits."

Lambert and his research team tested the idea that expressing gratitude helps strengthen relationships in this way by doing three different studies.

In one study group, 137 college students completed a survey regarding how often they expressed gratitude to a friend or partner. Results showed that gratitude was positively linked with the person's perception of this "communal" strength.

In another study, involving 218 college students, expressing gratitude predicted boosts in the expresser's perception of the relationship's strength over time.

In a third study group, 75 men and women were randomly assigned to one of four groups. Over a three-week period, one group expressed gratitude to a friend; another thought grateful thoughts about a friend, while a third thought about daily activities and a fourth had positive interactions with a friend.

Those who expressed gratitude reported more relationship strength at the study's end than did those in the other groups.

"The person doing the thanking comes to perceive the relationship as more communal, to see the person more worthwhile to sacrifice for, to go the extra mile to help out," Lambert said.

Although the studies only looked at the people expressing gratitude, Lambert speculated that "those who are being thanked will often feel an urge to reciprocate. They will want to express their gratitude back. It can become kind of an upward spiral."

A simple "thank you" might be just what a relationship that's turning sour needs, he said. "In relationships today, often people get mired down into what the person isn't doing for them. That's one of the neat things about gratitude. It potentially can change the trajectory from a negative focus to more of a positive outlook on the relationship."

The new study is "an important extension of previous research," said Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at the University of California Davis, a long-time gratitude researcher and author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

To his knowledge, Emmons said, "this is the first research study that has examined expressed gratitude in the context of an ongoing, close relationship."

The researchers have documented an "easy and often overlooked way to strengthen relationships," he said. "Gratitude does knit together relationships and bind people into networks of reciprocal obligations."

One weakness of the study, he said, is that the participants were college students, but that is typical of much research. More women than men participated, and that could affect results, Emmons said. Only 15 of the 75 people in the third study, for instance, were men.

"Studies have shown that men are more 'gratitude-challenged,'" he added.

Even so, those who want to develop the gratitude habit can do so by becoming "more vocal about gratitude ... by expressing it more regularly," Emmons said. "Even if one does not feel it, research strongly demonstrates that going through the motions can lead to the emotion."

SOURCES: Nathaniel M. Lambert, Ph.D. candidate, research associate, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.; Robert Emmons, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of California, Davis, author, Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier; March 5, 2010, Psychological Science, online Published on: April 11, 2010