Sociologists from Michigan State University and University of Chicago have completed a study which shows that older couples in bad marriages are at greater risk for developing heart disease. The negative results are also more pronounced in women than in men. Hui Liu of Michigan State and co-researcher Linda Waite from the University of Chicago reached these results after analyzing five years worth of data. The study had 1,000 participants aged 57 to 85. The study was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior and funded by the National Institute of aging with the hopes of better understanding the effects of marriage on the lives of the elderly.
Study participants answered a series of questions about their marriages and their health status in regards to numerous factors including blood pressure, history of stroke or heart attack. In addition to a bad marriage, advanced age increases the risk of heart disease. The compound effects of a bad marriage and declining health as a result of aging could pose a threat to the lives of older couples. On the other hand, a good marriage is associated with positive benefits to heart health.
“Marriage counseling is focused largely on younger couples,” Liu said on her university’s website. “But these results show that marital quality is just as important at older ages, even when the couple has been married 40 or 50 years.”
Read More – Study Says a Bad Marriage May Break Your Heart (CNN, Lisa Resper France)