People who “always” or “often” fretted about their spouse were almost twice as likely to die during the course of the study
Excessive arguing with family and friends may lead to early death – Los Angeles Times
Unreasonable spouse? Demanding kids? Argumentative friends? If it sometimes feels like these stressors are killing you, new research suggests you may be right.
Middle-aged adults who frequently fought with their husband or wife were more than twice as likely to die at a relatively young age compared to people who rarely fought, according to a study published online this week in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Frequent fights with friends were even more hazardous — people who fell into this category were 2.6 times more likely to die prematurely than people who got along with their pals. Worst of all were persistent fights with neighbors, the researchers found. These types of argumentative people were more than three times more likely to die prematurely than the go-with-the-flow types.
Even when fights didn’t break out into the open, simply worrying about friends or loved ones or stewing over their demands could be enough to shorten one’s life. People who “always” or “often” fretted about their spouse were almost twice as likely to die during the course of the study compared to those who seldom fretted. In addition, those who expended lots of negative mental energy on their children were 55 percent more likely to die prematurely compared to those who didn’t worry about their kids very often.
All of these associations between stressful social relations and the risk of early death were stronger for men than for women, the researchers found. They were also stronger for people who were not working outside the home.
The study, published Thursday, was based on data from nearly 10,000 Danish adults who were between the ages of 36 and 52 in 2000. All of them answered questions about their conflicts with and worries about their partners, children, other family, friends and neighbors. About 6 percent of them said they had frequent conflicts with their spouse; 6 percent had frequent conflicts with their children; 2 percent had frequent conflicts with other family members; and 1 percent had frequent conflicts with friends. Worries and demands that didn’t escalate to outright conflict were slightly more common.