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Stressful Relationships May Raise Risk Of Death

May 28, 2014 by  

Stressful Relationships May Raise Risk Of Death, Worries, conflicts and demands in relationships with friends, family and neighbors may contribute to an earlier death suggests a new Danish study.

“Conflicts, especially, were associated with higher mortality risk regardless of whom was the source of the conflict,” the authors write. “Worries and demands were only associated with mortality risk if they were related to partner or children.”

Men and people without jobs seemed to be the most vulnerable, Rikke Lund, a public health researcher at the University of Copenhagen, and her colleagues found.

The health-protecting effects of support from a social network and close connections with family and friends are widely recognized, Lund’s team writes in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Less is known about the health consequences of stressful aspects of social relations, such as conflicts, worries and demands,” they write.

To examine the influence of relationship stress on all causes of death, the researchers looked at data from a long-term study in Denmark. They included 9,870 adults in their 30s, 40s and 50s when the study began and tracked their health from 2000 to the end of 2011.

The researchers measured stressful social relations by comparing answers to questions about who – including partners, children, relatives, friends and neighbors – caused worry and conflicts in the participants’ lives.

They also looked at answers to questions about emotional support and symptoms of depression.

During the study period, 4 percent of the women and 6 percent of the men died. Almost half the deaths were from cancer; other causes included cardiovascular disease, liver disease, accidents and suicide.

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