ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
CAREGIVING
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
The Food Irradiation Story
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Leafy Greens Top Risky Food List
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
As Earth Warms, Lyme Disease Could Flourish
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
FITNESS
Brisk Walk Can Help Leave Common Cold Behind
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Add your Article

Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health

THURSDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- The cardiovascular damage wrought by an unhappy marriage may be greater for women than men, a new study shows.

While both men and women in "strained" unions, those marked by arguing and being angry, were more likely to feel depressed than happier partners, the women in the contentious relationships were more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and other markers of what's known as "metabolic syndrome," said study author Nancy Henry, a doctoral candidate in clinical healthy psychology at the University of Utah.

Metabolic syndrome is known to boost the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

While many studies have linked poor marriages with poor health, Henry said she believes her is the first to tie in depression as a possible route through which the strain boosts the risk of metabolic syndrome. "The negativity triggers the depression, which is associated with the metabolic syndrome," said Henry. This was found true, she said, only for the women in her study.

For the study, she interviewed 276 couples, median age 54, by questionnaires, asking about positive aspects of marriage quality such as mutual support and sharing, and negative aspects such as arguing, feelings of hostility and disagreeing over important issues such as kids, sex, money and in-laws. She asked about depressive symptoms.

Couples were married, on average, 27.5 years, most in their original marriage.

"For the most part, you could say, these were happily married couples," Henry said. About 20 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women in the study had metabolic syndrome (diagnosed when three of the five risk factors were present).

The men were as likely as the women to become depressed with marital strain, but the link between negativity, depression and metabolic syndrome only applied to women, she said. The depression in women accounted for the metabolic syndrome, she said.

Exactly why isn't known, but Henry speculated that women may take the negativity more to heart and ruminate about it more than men.

Henry can't say specifically how much risk of metabolic syndrome is attributed to the negativity. Earlier research has linked negativity in marriage with an increased risk of heart disease for both men and women.

She was expected to present her findings Thursday at the American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting, in Chicago.

Another researcher in the field called the findings interesting, especially the new focus on depression as a possible mechanism through which the strain influences the metabolic syndrome.

"The study raises the importance of increasing our understanding of how depression influences biological processes that result in metabolic syndrome -- and why these processes might be stronger for women than men," said Debra Umberson, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

The findings, Umberson said, fit in with her research finding a strong effect of marital strain on partners' overall health. But the gender difference finding differs from her research. "Basically, we find that marital strain undermines the health of men and women," she said, adding that perhaps the men in Henry's study had their health influenced in a different way.

More research is needed, Henry said, to figure out how the pieces fit together.

Meanwhile, Umberson said: "Choose your partner carefully. A strained marriage is bad for your health." If it's already strained, she said, focus on reducing conflict.

- Kathleen Doheny

More information

To learn about improving a marriage, visit the American Psychological Association.



SOURCES: Nancy Henry, Ph.D., candidate, clinical health psychology, University of Utah, and clinical psychology intern, Salt Lake City VA Healthcare System; Debra Umberson, Ph.D., professor, sociology, University of Texas at Austin; March 5, 2009, presentation, American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting, Chicago

Last Updated: March 05, 2009

Copyright © 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com