Unhappy marriages and relationships have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease by US researchers.
A team at the University of Pittsburgh examined 281 healthy adults in middle age over a period of four days. All were either married or in a cohabiting relationship.
The researchers found that individuals who rated more interactions as negative than positive typically had a greater build-up of plaque on their arteries, raising their risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Researcher Thomas Kamarck said a growing body of evidence had shown a link between social relationships and health.
“The contribution of this study is in showing that these sorts of links may be observed even during the earliest stages of plaque development (in the carotid artery) and that these observations may be rooted not just in the way that we evaluate our relationships in general, but in the quality of specific social interactions with our partners as they unfold during our daily lives.”
The study was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.